In its news coverage right before the first hearing of the House select committee on the January 6 insurrection, Fox’s America’s Newsroom brought on Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) to spread false talking points blaming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for the attack on the Capitol by a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters.
Banks was one of the five Republican members selected by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to serve on the committee but Pelosi rejected his and Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) nomination. Last week, right after his selection was announced, Banks released a statement accusing the committee of having been formed “solely to malign conservatives and to justify the Left’s authoritarian agenda,” and to attack “millions of Americans because of their political beliefs.”
On Tuesday morning, Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer welcomed Banks on the show, but he did not ask him about his fundamental opposition to the committee itself or his questioning of the legitimacy of the 2020 election in the evening following the attack. Instead, Hemmer asked Banks to “shed more light on what you believe was inside intelligence that was given the Capitol Police three weeks before the date of January 6.”
In response, Banks pushed a series of false right-wing talking points from February, accusing Pelosi of being the one to blame for failing to secure the Capitol in advance of January 6 — rather than Trump for his refusal to immediately deploy the National Guard, or of course to spotlight the attackers themselves.
Banks also claimed that “the big reason why Speaker Pelosi removed and blocked me and Jim Jordan” from the committee was because “the more you ask these questions and unravel the facts about January 6, the more you get into a line of questions that go up a chain of command that end up on Speaker Pelosi's desk.”
In fact, the speaker’s office does not oversee Capitol Police operations on a day-to-day basis — and the authority it does have is shared with the Senate majority leader, who at the time was the Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell. (At a press conference Tuesday morning, the House Republican leaders continued to blame Pelosi for the security failures on January 6, while they refused to answer questions from reporters about whether this criticism would also apply to McConnell.)
Another important point worth noting is that Hemmer began the network’s select committee coverage by saying: “One notable feature, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has done away with the bipartisanship — so says Republicans. She handpicked each member to serve on the panel; she rejected two of them.”
Pelosi had also accepted three of McCarthy’s appointees, but the minority leader pulled those as well. (One of McCarthy’s nominees, Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois, complained Tuesday morning that he “doesn’t get to” ask questions at the hearing today — though Pelosi had actually accepted him.) Pelosi has instead ensured a bipartisan committee membership by appointing two Republican members, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who have supported the investigation.
Banks has also appeared this past weekend on Fox News Sunday, where guest anchor Martha MacCallum did not challenge his assertion that the speaker of the House “has more control and authority and responsibility over the leadership of the Capitol Police than anyone else in the United States Capitol.”
A Media Matters analysis this week found that at least 59 of the 147 Republican members of Congress who voted against certifying the election have since appeared on Fox News, for a combined total of at least 587 weekday appearances.