Via a Bipartisan Commission or Not, Jan. 6 Must Be Investigated
Senate Republicans refusal to agree to a bipartisan commission to investigate the riot at the US Capitol on January 6 underscores 1) how ex-president Donald Trump is still kingpin of the Republican party; 2) how Senate boss of the GOP Mitch McConnell will drive partisan politics to his grave; and 3) why the Senate supermajority (60-plus) rule to pass most legislation must finally be dumped.
If anything deserved bipartisan support you would think a commission to investigate Jan. 6 would be it. The event was monumental, an insurrection. It endangered the lives of our nation’s leaders on both sides of the political spectrum (including the top three in succession to the president at the time), and as preliminary investigations show, there was a concerted effort by a network of right-wing groups. It was not simply spontaneous, which makes it more imperative to get a full investigation.
We also should be reminded that five people died, 140 police officers were injured. And that the crime scene was our nation Capitol, the people’s house, seat of democracy.
Why would any American not want to get to the bottom of what happened, unless politics stood in the way?
To the first point, much of the resistance to forming a commission is Republican senators bending to the will of Trump, again. Trump doesn’t want a commission for obvious reasons; any investigation that could lead to possible evidence being unearthed to implicate him should be stopped, in his eyes. But at this point, Republican senators should already know that placating Trump never ends. At this moment it is resisting the formation of a commission, next month it could be something else he will demand that almost most often is for his own benefit politically.
McConnell knows from personal experience Trump’s one-sided loyalty test. He even felt Trump’s ire on several occasions, which brings us to the second point. The Kentucky senator who was demoted to Senate Minority leader wants his old job back. He has never put down his old playbook of partisan obstruction since the Obama administration. He is running old plays to ensure Biden is a one-termer. But most importantly, he wants to regain power and a majority in the Senate.
What a commission would do is likely lesson chances for a GOP Senate takeover. That is the true political reason behind his and his GOP colleagues opposition. Being that the midterm is next year and that most of the “bad actors” of the Jan. 6 insurrection are clearly self-identified Republicans, a commission would not be a smart political move for their party.
There are 10 crucial senate seats that could swing either way in the midterm. Several Republican senators have decided to call it quits which leaves open these seats for a Democrat win. The absence of an incumbency advantage in these seats of retiring Republicans will level the playing field. We all know how incumbents are almost guaranteed a financial advantage by special interests who want their ongoing government-related businesses and favorable status intact.
Reporters mention how McConnell has been calling in favors from Republican senators to block a commission – that is how desperate and transparent he is on this issue.
Never mind that Capitol police – those who McConnell and Republicans praised for protecting them – have been asking for a commission to be formed. Never mind that the mother of fallen US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick – who McConnell and Republicans offered their sympathy to and praised her son for his service – had been pleading with Republicans for a commission. Remember the bill at the Senate would have been bipartisan and “equal” members from both parties.
Sicknick told reporters she couldn’t understand why most Republicans aren’t voting for the commission, and at one point she said, “How can they not be doing the right thing?”
In a statement she wrote, “My son, Capitol Police Officer, Brian Sicknick, died on January 7, 2021. He died because of the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol Building on January 6.”He and his fellow officers fought for hours and hours against those animals who were trying to take over the Capitol Building and our Democracy, as we know it. While they were fighting, congressmen and senators were locking themselves inside their offices. According to some who were barricaded in their offices said it looked like tourists walking through the Capitol. Really?”It should be noted that her son Brian himself was a Trump supporter and Republican.
It’s all about politics, unfortunately, Ms. Sicknick.
Forget and move on without a commission or formal inquiry is absurd
Remember the countless investigations and hearings involving the Benghazi scandal. There were 10 investigations conducted into the 2012 Benghazi attack, six of these by Republican-controlled House committees. Democrats did not impede those investigations on their then presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton. It was the right thing to do – allow for a thorough investigation, even if it meant potentially sacrificing politically the Democrat party’s then future star politician.
Now it’s the GOP’s turn to do the right thing in the Jan. 6 insurrection, arguably a far more serious incident than Benghazi. It was a history-making uprising that will be studied in classrooms for generations – and to think that it will not be given much investigating at all. What’s wrong with this picture?
Republicans want to move on. There’s a time for that, agreed, but after a commission to look into what really went on. Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin should stop his block of a simple majority and side with those seeking truth on this matter. Establish a commission. If Senate Republicans ultimately cannot be convinced to change their mind, the US House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi must push forward and act alone.