Former Republican congressman to join staff of January 6 committee

Riggleman — a former Virginia congressman and Air Force intelligence officer who has been an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump — will be a senior technical adviser for the committee, according to two sources familiar with the selection.

GOP Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are the only Republican lawmakers serving on the committee, which held its first hearing late last month. But as a former member, Riggleman brings a high profile, and his national security background will add additional legitimacy to the investigation.

“I have to say, doing this might be one of the biggest things I’ve ever done in my life,” Riggleman said in a video posted to Twitter Friday night touting his intelligence and data analytics experience.
A former member of the hardline House Freedom Caucus who was first elected to the House in 2018, Riggleman lost the GOP nomination for Virginia’s 5th District — despite having the backing of Trump — in a convention last year after his decision to officiate a same-sex wedding angered some local Republicans.

“We can’t worry about the color of the jerseys anymore, or whether we have an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ next to our name. It’s time for us to look in a fact-based way at what happened on January 6,” Riggleman continued in the video, “to see if we can prevent this from ever happening again in the future.”

“I’m happy to be a part of this and want to give my word to everybody that I’m going to do this in a way that’s professional, that’s transparent and that’s ethical,” the former congressman said.

“In addition to being a former House colleague, Mr. Riggleman brings a deep background in national security and intelligence matters,” Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the select committee, said in a statement late Friday announcing the selection of Riggleman and Homeland Security Department Principal Deputy General Counsel Joseph Maher as senior staff for the panel.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy withdrew all his five of his GOP appointees from the panel last month after Pelosi rejected two of his choices — Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio — for their roles in pushing to overturn the presidential election results. The other three selected by McCarthy were Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas. Banks, Jordan and Nehls all objected to the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

Pelosi initially appointed Cheney to serve on the committee, choosing the former House Republican Conference chair as one her first eight selections to investigate the insurrection. Cheney was removed from GOP House leadership earlier this year in the wake of her vote to impeach Trump and her continued criticism of his lies about the election being stolen from him. Cheney had been pushing behind the scenes for Pelosi to hire a Republican as an outside adviser or staffer to the committee, CNN previously reported.

Following McCarthy’s decision to withdraw his choices, Pelosi appointed Kinzinger — also a vocal critic of Trump who was one of 10 House Republicans to vote for his second impeachment — bolstering the GOP presence on the panel.

McCarthy has repeatedly criticized Pelosi’s choices.

“Speaker Pelosi’s rejection of the Republican nominees to serve on the committee and self-appointment of members who share her pre-conceived narrative will not yield a serious investigation,” McCarthy said in a statement following Kinzinger’s nomination.

This story has been updated with comments from Riggleman.

Daniella Diaz, Melanie Zanona and Aaron Pellish contributed to this report.

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