Kevin McCarthy Can't Support January 6 Commission If It's Gonna Be About January 6
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said today he simply can't support a bipartisan agreement on forming a 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 riots that were aimed at overturning the 2020 election, because it would focus on its topic. McCarthy told reporters that he was shocked by the partisanship of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who acceded to Republican demands that the commission have an equal number of members appointed by each party, and that subpoenas would have to be agreed to on a bipartisan basis.
The framework for the commission was negotiated by Pelosi and by Rep. John Katko (R-New York), who was chosen by McCarthy to negotiate the makeup and rules for the commission. So clearly, Pelosi is the problem here. What an unprecedented situation, where Democrats meet Republican demands and the GOP still won't agree to move forward.
McCarthy complained today that Pelosi had completely steamrolled Republicans by allowing her top negotiator, Rep. Bennie Thompson, to agree to most of what they wanted, except for the demand that the January 6 commission also investigate the unrelated riots that followed some of last summer's protests against police brutality.
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.
"Shortsighted" here is a word which means "tending to only make Republicans look bad instead of affording them a chance to rant about unrelated events."
Also, we suppose McCarthy may have thought the commission should focus on hiring a good concierge, for all the extra tourists.
For his part, Rep. Katko, who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection, no doubt further imperiled his reelection chances by saying last week that an "independent, bipartisan commission" would actually be the opposite of what McCarthy is now griping about, because it would "remove politicization of the conversation and focus solely on the facts and circumstances surrounding the security breach at the Capitol." Bet McCarthy is really mad he appointed that Pelosi stooge to negotiate.
Or maybe McCarthy is just upset that if the commission focuses on January 6, he'll be called to testify about his phone call with Donald Trump while the tourist/insurrectionists were invading the Capitol. McCarthy told Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Washington) that when he asked Trump to call off the mob, Trump simply replied, "Well Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."
Other Republicans seem to think that might be important to an investigation:
"I would suspect that Kevin will be subpoenaed," Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, another Republican who supported Trump's second impeachment, said on CNN Sunday. "He'll be asked to give his rendition of what happened, as will a number of members of Congress that were there, whether they were barricading the doors inside the chamber."
Gosh, which member of the House who barricaded the chamber door and later downplayed the insurrection could Upton possibly be talking about there?
While there are enough Democratic votes to pass the commission bill in the House (plus, probably, at least the 10 Republicans who voted for impeachment, plus some of the 70-some Rs who voted to certify the outcome), it's not yet clear there are 10 GOP members of the Senate who'll support it, because the party is completely insane. Even those who are inclined to support a commission seem eager to add some whatabouts:
"My general feeling is that if we can have a serious examination of the events leading up to, occurring, and in the aftermath of that day, we should do it," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said. "We need to learn as much as we can: A, because it was a shameful day—something that should never happen again—and B, because I think our enemies of this country, terrorists and others, will look to learn from that day, potentially, one day take lessons learned from it to attack us here."
Rubio added that he'd like investigators to look into disinformation and inaccurate details of the attack that were leaked to journalists in the aftermath. Asked if he wants the probe's scope to include race-related violence over the summer, he indicated he doesn't see it as essential for the commission.
Mind you, that's Marco Rubio, who regularly contributes cells from his spine to help researchers develop more flexible bungee cords. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who at the last minute voted to convict Trump in the Senate, was much clearer, saying he would support the formation of an independent commission. (Don't worry, he'll balance that by saying something crazy soon.)
The legislation to form the commission specifies that the 10 members would be chosen in a bipartisan manner. Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer would select a chair, while McCarthy and Mitch McConnell would appoint a vice chair, then each of the four leaders would also name two more members. The members of the commission can't be currently serving in government, so we suppose if there is a commission, McCarthy and McConnell might name Donald Trump as vice chair. Or possibly Tucker Carlson, who has bipartisan support among Trump Republicans and people on Twitter who say they were Democrats until Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton came down the pike with all the socialism.
Further, the bill
calls for members to be "prominent United States citizens" with experience in either government, law enforcement, civil rights, the armed forces, intelligence, counterterrorism, cybersecurity, technology, or law.
Again, that sounds like a job for Trump, who knows more about all of those than any so-called expert. But who knows, should this thing actually come to be, maybe McCarthy and McConnell will pick at least one member who's not from Fox News or the Heritage Foundation.
Haha, we have fun thoughts sometimes.
[The Dispatch / TPM]
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