January 6 Commission

After Benghazi, Republicans held 32 hearings, 7 Congressional investigations, published 11 reports, and even forced Hillary Clinton to testify for 11 hours. Democrats were not involved. Despite their best efforts, Republicans found nothing. However, they refuse to support a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection, an act of domestic terrorism, that happened right here in the United States.

This bipartisan investigation would have an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, five on each side, with equal subpoena power. Still, only 35 Republicans voted to pass the bill in the House of Representatives. The Republicans in the Senate plan to use the filibuster, as only two currently agree with the commission — Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME). Quite a few Republicans were initially for the commission, such as John Cornyn (R-TX), who tweeted in February, “I agree w/Speaker Pelosi — a 911-type investigation is called for to help prevent this from happening again.”

However, after Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came out against the commission recently, asking as a personal favor, those considering it are now decidedly against it. Bennie Thompson (R-MS) of the House had previously “expressed optimism that the bill could pass the Senate if the chamber’s Republicans are allowed to vote freely,” saying, “Well, I am optimistic that it will pass. People said we would not get more than 20 votes in the House from Republicans. We got 35. I am optimistic on the Senate side. If senators are allowed and not arm twisted to go the other way, we’ll get it.” Thompson may have been right before, but there will not be a bipartisan commission now due to the Republicans’ partisan arm-twisting, to use his words.

Senate Republicans have “growing fears that the investigation could become politically damaging to former President Donald Trump and some GOP members of Congress — and give Democrats fodder to go after Republicans in the run-up to the 2022 midterms. Top Republicans are indicating they’d rather block the bill now — and take the political hit — than allow a sprawling investigation to go on for months at a time when they are trying to unify against President Joe Biden’s agenda.”

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) felt that Democrats would have too much control (despite Nancy Pelosi listening to all of the Republicans’ wishes and giving them all they wanted in the commission) and that the probe could continue into an election year. It’s no wonder Republicans don’t want the investigation to continue into an election year, as several of their colleagues were directly or indirectly involved in the insurrection. This includes Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Minority Speaker, who spoke to Trump during that time, pleading with him to publicly call on the mob to leave the Capitol. In addition, some House and Senate Republicans may have played a more direct role in the insurrection and will be also be subpoenaed.

However, the reportings of the findings by both Democrats and Republicans would be due by the end of 2021, so the commission would not go into an election year; that is not a valid reason.

Some House Republicans have even downplayed the events of January 6 completely.

“Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) said federal law enforcement was ‘harassing peaceful patriots’ as it searches through photographic evidence of those who might have committed crimes on that day.

Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) added: ‘It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others.'”

“And maybe most jaw-dropping of all was Rep. Andrew Clyde, (R-GA)” who suggested that the events “resembled a normal tourist visit and another questioning how anyone could be sure the rioters were Trump supporters… There was an undisciplined mob. There were some rioters and some who committed acts of vandalism. But let me be clear, there was no insurrection, and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bald-faced lie. Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures, you know.” If that doesn’t astonish and infuriate you, it should.

“…Videos from that day show an angry mob, many clad in Trump’s signature ‘Make America Great Again’ gear, waving Trump flags, violently beating and dragging police officers as they breached security barriers, climbed through broken windows, and entered the Capitol.

“They marched through the halls chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence’ and ‘Where’s Nancy?’ as they pounded on the door of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), terrorizing her staffers.

“The assault on the Capitol resulted in the deaths of five people, and 140 police officers were injured, many severely, including one who lost an eye.”

(I also want to point out that if they genuinely don’t believe that the rioters were Trump supporters, Republicans would be the first to call for a commission into the insurrection.)

A group of United States Capitol Police Officers sent an anonymous message, pictured below, about how disheartened they felt that Republicans were dismissing the events as peaceful and how Republicans were voting not to investigate the insurrection. (Please note that this was not from all of the United States Capitol Police Officers and was not an official message.)

“I find it hard to believe the revisionist history that’s being offered by my colleagues on the other side,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA).

Republicans have chosen to ignore the disheartening message of the Capitol Police and continue to band together in the Senate to vote against the commission to stick by Donald Trump. While Republicans are mostly to blame, we still have to give some of the blame to Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who refuse to end the filibuster.

Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) pointed out, “How do you go forward if you can’t make it work over something like an independent commission?”

“That’s their problem. They can prove how difficult life is with the filibuster if they’re not careful,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). “When the filibuster is actually used, it becomes an exhibit in the case against continuing it.”

However, Manchin still sees it a different way. “So disheartening. It makes you really concerned about our country. I’m still praying we’ve still got ten good solid patriots within that conference.” He believes this even after Mitch McConnell publicly said the Senate Republicans’ only agenda was to block anything Joe Biden did.

There are other important things to vote on, such as the American Jobs Act, HR1, and more, but this is a commission on domestic terrorism in our country. If there is ever a time to end the filibuster, this is it. Let’s hope that Joe Manchin sees that before the commission is put up to this crucial vote. We may find out before the week is over.

Because Republicans will not question Trump publicly, Josh Holmes, a media presence, lobbyist, and “a close adviser to Mitch McConnell… explained on his podcast earlier this week that the party had no room to discuss trivial questions like which leaders do or do not support the peaceful transition of power.”

The leaders who do not support the peaceful transition of power are far from trivial; it is crucial to their jobs. This is upon which our Democratic Republic is based. That’s the basis of how our country runs every four years. It is an absolute must that every single one of our leaders supports the peaceful transition of power. If they do not, they are not fit to be in office, as they do not serve their constituents that participated in a fair election. The fact that this even has to be questioned is absurd. The idea that this is considered trivial is absolutely devastating to the future of our country.

As Brandon Wolf tweeted, “If you refuse to get to the bottom of how an angry mob was radicalized and breached the US Capitol to halt the democratic process, you’ve told me everything I need to know about your ‘election security’ concerns.”

The Department of Justice is indicting participants as individuals, but that is not enough. Thousands of people did not coincidentally commit the same criminal acts in the exact location at the same time. The insurrection was planned, organized, and funded. Plus, in addition, as we all saw on our television sets, it was incited by several prominent Republicans, including President Trump.

The lack of concern and the indifference when it comes to the insurrection by the Republicans is alarming. If it happened once, it could happen again — by either political party. We need to know the red flags. We need to understand how to prevent it if we see it coming. We need to know how to stop it if it happens. Most of all, we need to punish those involved, both now and in any possible future insurrections.

January 6 was not just another day in America. It was the definition of domestic terrorism. If we do not investigate because Republicans are worried about their performance in the midterms, they are indirectly supporting it. And nothing is more disturbing than that.

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