GRAND FORKS -- North Dakota's congressman was bound for a seat on the Jan. 6 committee Monday — but he's off it again.
Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., had his selection for the House committee investigating Jan. 6 pulled on Wednesday, July 21, amid a squabble over the committee's membership.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had suggested five Republicans for the committee, including Armstrong, on Monday. But on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of those names — Reps. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. That led to a GOP outcry.
"Jim Banks and Jim Jordan have every right to serve on any committee Leader McCarthy appoints them to … (Pelosi) is willing to do anything and everything to maintain control over her conference for the next 18 months," Armstrong said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
In response, McCarthy pulled his five suggestions from the committee.
"Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts," McCarthy reportedly said.
The congressional committee set to investigate Jan. 6 was always going to be at the center of the hardest conversation in the country — on Trump, the 2020 election and how the country grapples with the breach of the Capitol. Now, before its first meeting, the committee is already a flash point.
The fight over committee membership is the first in what could be a string of confrontations over the committee's coming investigation. As it eyes the events of Jan. 6, the committee will almost certainly confront Trump's unsubstantiated claims of a 2020 election victory and the former president's role in encouraging the crowd that breached the Capitol.
That provides a long list of likely conflicts, all intertwined with Trump's legacy — as well as his potential to run for the White House again in 2024.
This is far from the first skirmish over the committee's work. The House and Senate had both shown majority support for a bipartisan, 9/11-style commission to look into the events of Jan. 6, but the plan was unable to overcome a GOP filibuster in the Senate.
Armstrong also voted against that plan in the House.
“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the select committee,” Pelosi reportedly said. “The unprecedented nature of Jan. 6 demands this unprecedented decision.”