Liz Cheney Calls Out Jim Banks for Falsely Signing Letters as Member of Jan 6 Commission

Representative Liz Cheney called out fellow Republican Jim Banks during a Thursday committee hearing, entering into the record a letter he sent to government agencies falsely claiming that he is the ranking member of the January 6 committee.

Banks is not a member of the select committee.

"The gentleman also said he is not on the committee. He noted that the speaker had determined that he wouldn't be on the committee," Cheney said from the House floor.

She continued, "I would like to introduce for the record a number of letters the gentlemen from Indiana has been sending to federal agencies, dated September 16, 2021, for example, signing his name as the ranking member of the committee [that] he's just informed the House that he's not on."

Cheney is the committee's vice-chair and one of two Republicans chosen to serve as minority members. The other is Representative Adam Kinzinger.

"Liz Cheney isn't the Ranking Member," Banks' office wrote to Newsweek. "She is the vice-chair because she was appointed by Democrats. This is the first Select Committee in American history that doesn't have a Ranking Member and is entirely partisan. Representative Banks chose to highlight the unprecedented exclusion of the minority party in his letter."

Jim Banks January 6 Committee Liz Cheney
Indiana Representative Jim Banks referred to himself as the ranking member of the January 6 House committee in letters sent to government agencies. Above, Banks speaks at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on April 21, 2021. Nicholas Kamm/AFP

In one letter, addressed to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Banks wrote: "You are receiving this letter because the House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate the events of January 6th may have sent you a request for information."

Banks noted in his letter that House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy had initially recommended him as the ranking member of the committee—a point his office reiterated to Newsweek.

However, McCarthy rescinded all five of his recommendations after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected Banks and another one of McCarthy's recommendations, Representative Jim Jordan.

Pelosi rejected the two citing concerns for the investigation's integrity as well as statements Banks and Jordan had made in the past. They both voted to overturn the electoral college votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania and signed onto the Supreme Court case coming out of Texas that sought to invalidate ballots cast in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Despite not having a seat on the committee, Banks said, "the minority party in Congress retains rights to the same information that is provided to the majority party."

"For those reasons, I ask that you provide me any information that is submitted to the Select Committee," Banks wrote before signing off as the ranking member.

In a statement sent to Newsweek, Banks' office called Cheney's statement "a bizarre Democrat narrative meant to distract from the actual contents of Representative Banks' letter and to avoid talking about the actual activities of the Select Committee, which are partisan, authoritarian and indefensible."

Banks led the GOP opposition during Thursday's House vote on whether Trump ally Steve Bannon should be held in criminal contempt for defying a subpoena to testify before the January 6 select committee. Cheney, alongside committee chair Bennie Thompson, advocated in favor of the contempt charge.

Banks argued that the committee "despises" Bannon's politics, which is why he believes they're bringing the vote against him for defying the subpoena.

Update 10/22/21 9:49 a.m. This story was updated with comments from Banks' office.