Matt Gaetz Claims Purpose of 1/6 Committee Is to Charge GOP Lawmakers for 'Process Crimes'

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said that House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol was created with the goal of charging Republican lawmakers with "process crimes."

Gaetz made the remarks while discussing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appointing Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) to the committee during a Monday interview on Newsmax. The Florida Republican insisted that the commission would ultimately use legal technicalities to target GOP leadership for criminal prosecution.

"I really do believe that the end goal of the January 6 Committee is to create a series of criminal referrals," Gaetz said. "And remember, during the Russia hoax a lot of the criminal process occurred not as a result of any underlying violation of federal criminal law, but instead as a result of these process crimes."

"So, Kevin McCarthy better hope he never deleted an email or forwarded something to a place where it wasn't saved," he added. "Otherwise, there's going to be an effort to use process crimes to try to jam up the Republican leadership. And I do think it's that serious."

Matt Gaetz 1/6 Committee Republicans Democrats Pelosi
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) expressed concerns on Monday that Republican lawmakers would be targeted for prosecution over "process crimes" as a result of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. Gaetz is pictured speaking to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Jun 4, 2021. Drew Angerer/Getty

Republicans have largely rejected the select committee, which aims to investigate the cause of the riot. Supporters of former President Donald Trump, many believing baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election had been "stolen" from Trump, violently stormed the Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's victory.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the formation of the committee after an attempt to create a bipartisan Congressional commission to investigate cause of the riot was blocked by Senate Republicans in May.

Although the select committee was also intended to be bipartisan, Pelosi last week rejected two out of five committee member recommendations from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Pelosi said that the inclusion of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) would undermine "the integrity of the investigation."

McCarthy withdrew all five of his recommendations in response. Pelosi then appointed Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to the commission herself—notably, two of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for allegedly inciting the riot. Gaetz and other Republicans quickly blasted Pelosi's appointments.

"[Pelosi] knows that if Jim Jordan is on that committee, she'll lose just like she did on the last two impeachments," Gaetz said Monday. "They're picking our weakest members, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Our least effective members. And they're doing so in a way that I think is so patently partisan and that will diminish the credibility of this."

Newsweek reached out to Pelosi's office for comment.