Top House Republican Opposes Plan for Jan. 6 Capitol Riot Commission

WASHINGTON—House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) said he opposed plans for a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, saying the independent probe would be counterproductive and shortsighted.

The House Republican leader’s public rejection of the commission underscored the tensions on Capitol Hill over Jan. 6, and the divisions within the Republican Party over how to reckon with the events of that day, when supporters of then-President

Donald Trump

stormed the Capitol to try to stop ratification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Some Republicans, including Mr. Trump, have played down the severity of the assault, which resulted in the deaths of five people and the injury of 140 law-enforcement officials. Mr. Trump was impeached in the House over his actions related to the riot. He was acquitted in the Senate.

Mr. McCarthy’s statement Tuesday came a few days after an agreement had been struck between the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security,

Bennie G. Thompson

(D., Miss.), and the panel’s top-ranking Republican,

John Katko

of New York, to introduce legislation to form the commission. A vote is expected in the House on Wednesday.

Mr. McCarthy said the commission would be too narrowly focused on what happened on Jan. 6. He said it should also examine other acts of political violence, such as the attack on a Republican congressional baseball practice in 2017, the death of a Capitol police officer who was rammed by a car April 2, and “political violence that has struck American cities.”

Mr. McCarthy also said that he was concerned that the commission could interfere with the prosecutions of people charged with committing crimes at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The Wall Street Journal analyzed hours of video and audio from the Capitol riot to better understand how a mob of thousands overran police and attacked the U.S. Capitol. Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann (Video from 1/12/21)

“Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the Speaker’s shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation,” he said.

House Speaker

Nancy Pelosi

(D., Calif.) has said it was imperative that a bipartisan commission investigate the attack, along the lines of the probe carried out by the 9/11 Commission following the 2001 terrorist attacks. Democrats have said that Republicans want to broaden the remit of the probe to deflect attention from the Jan. 6 attack and the culpability of Mr. Trump and some of his followers.

The legislation proposed by Messrs. Thompson and Katko would require a simple majority in the House and would need 60 votes to advance in the 50-50 Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking during a Capitol Hill news conference Thursday.


Susan Walsh/Associated Press

The bill would set the number of commissioners at 10, with five of them, including the chair, appointed by Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and five, including the vice chair, appointed by the Republican minority leaders of the House and Senate, Mr. McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.).

To issue a subpoena, the commission’s chair and vice chair would have to agree, or the matter would go to a vote by the full commission. A final report by the commission would be due by the end of this calendar year.

Write to Lindsay Wise at

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Source: WSJ – US News

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