With the impeachment trial in the rearview mirror, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling for the creation of a congressional commission to investigate the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, though Democrats are still more focused on former President Donald Trump’s role in inciting the mob than Republicans.
House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) answers questions at a press conference after the … [+]
On Sunday, one day after Trump was acquitted despite 57 senators voting “guilty,” Republicans and Democrats expressed approval for a commission similar to the one that probed the September 11th terrorist attacks.
“Of course” we need a 9/11-style commission, Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) told ABC News’ This Week on Sunday, arguing it should be “impartial,” and “filled with people who would stand up to the courage of their conviction.”
“There’s still more evidence that the American people need and deserve to hear,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Sunday.
Defending himself as one of the few GOP lawmakers to vote to convict Trump in an interview with ABC News Sunday, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana called for “a complete investigation” including “what was known” and “who knew it” so “this never happens again in future.”
During an interview with Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the 47 Republican senators who voted to acquit Trump, said he too supported a commission to “find out what happened” and “make sure that the Capitol footprint can be better defended next time.”
The 9/11 commission was established to create “a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11 attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks.” It was chaired by five Republicans and five Democrats and convened by Congress as part of legislation signed by former President George W. Bush. The commission interviewed “more than 1,200 people in 10 countries” and concluded in its final report that the FBI and CIA failed to adequately assess the terrorist threats, among other things.
On Friday, the heads of the 9/11 commission—Tom Kean, former Republican governor of New Jersey, and Lee Hamilton, former Democratic House representative from Indiana—sent a letter to President Joe Biden and congressional leaders calling on them to convene a similar style commission to the one they chaired. “The shocking and tragic assault of Jan. 6th on the U.S. Capitol requires thorough investigation, to ensure that the American people learn the truth of what happened that day,” Kean and Hamilton wrote. “An investigation should establish a single narrative and set of facts to identify how the Capitol was left vulnerable, as well as corrective actions to make the institution safe again.”
What To Watch For
Though Republicans and Democrats seem to agree a commission should be established, they already disagree about what the committee should focus on. On Sunday, Graham said he wanted to know if there was a “pre-planned element to the attack” while Coons wanted the commission to focus on Trump’s role in the riot and “lay bare the record just how responsible and how objectfully violating of his constitutional oath” the former president was.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) previously floated the idea of a 9/11-style commission earlier this month. In an email to colleagues, Pelosi wrote, “It is also clear that we will need to establish a 9/11-type commission to examine the facts, causes, and security relating to the terrorist mob attack on January 6.”