The House voted Wednesday to approve Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. But by prejudging its conclusions and insisting on picking the majority of members, Pelosi has made the only inquiry that Americans could trust — a truly bipartisan one — impossible.
Ten House Republicans voted to impeach President Donald Trump over what they said was his role in his supporters’ attack on the Capitol, but just two of them voted to OK Pelosi’s commission. That indicates it was created in bad faith.
A bipartisan agreement on an investigation passed the House last month but failed in the Senate. It would’ve given both parties subpoena power and let each pick five members with expertise in national security and law enforcement to examine security shortcomings that led to the Capitol debacle. Under Wednesday’s resolution, Pelosi gets to appoint eight of the committee’s 13 members; the other five “shall be appointed after consultation with the minority leader” — in other words, Pelosi decides those, too.
The committee is to investigate “the facts, circumstances and causes” of the attack, as well as “influencing factors that fomented” it. But Pelosi has already decided what those are. “On that day, our temple of democracy was attacked by insurrectionists,” she said in announcing her plan. “The white supremacy, the anti-Semitism, the Islamophobia, all the rest of it” was “so evident” in the “insurrection incited by the president of the United States.”
Pelosi picked a Republican (Liz Cheney of Wyoming) as one of her eight appointees, but other GOP members who voted for impeachment blasted Pelosi’s partisan ploy.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) noted the speaker holds some responsibility for the Capitol’s protection. “Both sides have things that need to be looked at and revealed,” she said. “And the credibility of it is just going to be shot.”
Rep. John Katko (R-NY), who also voted to impeach and worked with a Democratic House Homeland Security Committee colleague on the bipartisan bill, said Pelosi’s version means “a turbo-charged partisan exercise, not an honest fact-finding body that the American people and Capitol Police deserve.”
Another impeacher, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), warned the committee “will end up being a partisan shouting match that accomplishes next to nothing and only serves to further divide us.”
But that’s exactly what Nancy Pelosi wants — a chance to pounce and preen while claiming Republicans instigated an insurrection. Indeed, her other seven picks were dominated by high-profile voices in her two impeachments of Trump: Reps. Adam Schiff, Zoe Lofgren and Jamie Raskin, plus Bennie Thompson, who sued Trump over his “gleeful support of violent white supremacists.”
The speaker thinks keeping Trump in the news will boost Democrats in next year’s elections. But it won’t get to the bottom of the ugly events of Jan. 6.
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