Susan Collins Criticizes Nancy Pelosi Over 'Partisan' Jan. 6 Committee

Maine Senator Susan Collins criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for picking which Republicans would serve on the committee investigating the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, calling the committee "partisan" while on CNN's State of the Union Sunday morning.

Collins, who is widely considered of the Senate's most moderate Republicans, said she "fought very hard" for an independent, bipartisan committee to investigate the riots.

"I think it would have had far more credibility than Speaker Pelosi's partisan committee that she has set up," she said. "We should have had a 9/11 style commission to fully look at what happened."

CNN host Jake Tapper pushed back against her remarks, saying that the bipartisan committee was opposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and that two Republicans, Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, are on the committee.

Susan Collins says on CNN that she thinks it was wrong for Pelosi to pick which Republicans serve on the Jan 6 committee, suggests she wasn't troubled by the idea of material witness Jim Jordan serving on it because "there were many communications with President Trump" on Jan 6

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 1, 2021

Collins said she respects both Cheney and Kinzinger, but she does not "think it was right for the Speaker to decide which Republicans should be on the committee."

Tapper said two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's selections have spread misinformation about the results of the 2020 presidential election and that one, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, may have been a "material witness."

"There were many communications with President Trump that day," Collins said.

The senator said she believes the rioters are mostly responsible for the events that occurred, but that Trump helped "motivate" them.

Susan Collins
Senator Susan Collins criticized Speaker Nancy Pelosi for setting up a “partisan” committee to investigate the January 6 riot. Here, Collins leaves the U.S. Capitol at the end of the third day of the impeachment trial of former President Trump on Feb. 11, 2021. Win McNamee/Getty Images

"I believe that while the rioters are primarily responsible for what happened, there is no doubt in my mind that President Trump helped instigate and motivate the rioters and that's one reason I voted to impeach him," she said. "The hallmark of our democracy is the peaceful transfer of power, and for anyone—the rioters, the President, anyone—to try to interfere with the Electoral College count is completely unacceptable."

Newsweek reached out to Senator Collins' office for further comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Pelosi pulled two Republican-appointed members from the committee—Jordan and Representative Jim Banks of Indiana—because she said their participation would compromise the "integrity of the investigation."

Banks and Jordan were among the 139 House Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. They also signed onto a Texas lawsuit challenging the election results, which was rejected by the Supreme Court.

"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 said. "The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision."

Collins was one of six Senate Republicans to vote to establish a bipartisan committee to investigate the riots, which ultimately failed to reach the 60 votes needed. She was also one of seven who voted to convict the former President, arguing the riot was "the culmination of a steady stream of provocations by President Trump that was aimed at overturning the results of the presidential election."