Nancy Pelosi is creating a House panel to investigate the Capitol riot
Washington DC – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is creating a House select committee to study the January 6 attack on the Capitol after the Senate failed to create a bipartisan commission, she announced at a news conference Thursday.
"With great solemnity and sadness, I am announcing the House will be establishing a select committee on the January 6 insurrection," Pelosi said.
The attack occurred while Congress was certifying the 2020 presidential results, and it forced Vice President Mike Pence and hundreds of lawmakers to flee for their safety. It led to more than five deaths, 140 injured police officers, and the arrests of roughly 500 people on charges ranging from conspiracy to unlawful entry.
"January 6 was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history," Pelosi said. "It is imperative that we establish the truth of that day, and ensure that an attack of that kind cannot happen in that we root out the causes of it all."
The California Democrat said she is still hopeful an independent commission is possible in the future, similar to the bipartisan 9/11 Commission that is seen as the most comprehensive review of the events that led up to September 11, 2001, attacks.
Pelosi provided no details about who will lead or make up the committee, how long the investigation will last, or who will be called to testify.
Last month, Senate Republicans filibustered legislation establishing an independent commission, prompting some Democrats to push for a select committee to investigate.
Republicans called the nonpartisan commission an attempt by Democrats to keep President Donald Trump and the insurrection in the news during next year’s crucial midterm election.
Democrats needed to convince only four more Republicans to switch their votes to create the commission, and Democrats were waiting to see whether their colleagues could be convinced.
Six months after the attack, and four weeks after the Senate was unable to act, it was time for the House to move forward, Pelosi said. She said Democrats would not concede to Republican demands that the commission also examine damage that followed Black Lives Matter protests in several cities last summer and other issues, which they saw as too far outside the scope of the commission’s purpose.
"My members have thought that we’ve had a great deal of patience," Pelosi said. "We yielded on every point. We yielded on makeup of a committee, we yielded on the timing of the committee, we yielded on the process of the committee. I just would not yield on the scope."
House Republicans accuse Pelosi of "playing politics"
So far, several House and Senate committees have held hearings with former Trump officials and current law enforcement officials to piece together what happened. The Justice Department continues to investigate and prosecute those involved, and government watchdogs are working on reports about security failures that allowed thousands of people to temporarily take over the seat of US government.
The disparate hearings and investigations have raised concerns that the result will be a fractured narrative that provides an incomplete recounting of how the attack happened.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who opposed the creation of an independent commission, said earlier this week that Pelosi would be playing politics by creating a dedicated House committee to investigate. Democrats made similar claims about the committee that Republicans created to look into the ambush that led to the deaths of four Americans at US outposts in Benghazi, Libya.
McCarthy, a California Republican, said Wednesday that he’d prefer to see a Senate committee investigate.
"When it comes to what happened on January 6, we want to get to the bottom of that. It’s disgusting what transpired that day," McCarthy said. "Unfortunately, the speaker has always played politics with this. Time and again. She’s never once talked to me about it."
Pelosi noted that it took over a year to approve the creation of the 9/11 Commission and a select House committee investigated in the interim. "We see this as complementary, not instead of," Pelosi said.
Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO / UPI Photo, IMAGO / ZUMA Wire