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Sober inquiry or slash-and-burn? McCarthy at a Jan. 6 crossroads

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Kevin McCarthy has a choice when it comes to the Democrat-led investigation of the Capitol riot: Get serious or go scorched-earth.

The California Republican’s options aren’t necessarily binary, but the path he takes could shape his political future as he eyes the speaker’s gavel in 2023. Among McCarthy’s members who have already lived through two Trump impeachments, some want the GOP leader to pick fighters skilled enough to withstand a months-long bombardment from Democrats trying to use the select committee to spotlight the former president’s role in the deadly Capitol attack led by his supporters.

But the House Republicans most eager to serve on the Jan. 6 panel are the party’s firebrands, more practiced at crafting viral clips of verbal attacks than they are at making a sustained, credible case against top Democratic oversight practitioners.

That leaves McCarthy with the tricky task of tapping the right mix of select committee appointments — and the Republicans he picks must be prepared to go toe to toe with one of their own in Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a critic of the minority leader who’ll be sitting on the Democratic side of the dais as House members dig into the insurrection.

The GOP leader could opt out of making appointments to the committee that Republicans have already attacked as a partisan effort to hit Trump and his party ahead of next year's midterms. Doing that, however, risks handing Democrats control of the narrative, and if recent precedent is an indicator, Republicans will likely choose to participate. McCarthy already has approached some members about potentially serving on the select panel, according to sources familiar with the conversations.

That doesn’t mean some of his strongest potential recruits will do so happily. Not only have House Republicans dismissed the Jan. 6 investigation as politically motivated, many are reluctant to take on a time-consuming probe they fear will cut into their time to shape legislation.

“For me personally, I've got bad climate policy we have to continue to shine a light on because it's bad for my state. I've got really good bipartisan criminal justice reform I'd like to see moved, and obviously there's finite time in the day,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), a lawyer by trade who served on the House Judiciary Committee during the........

© Politico

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