Forty-three Republican senators shielded Donald Trump from responsibility for inciting the U.S. Capitol uprising when they voted for acquittal in his second impeachment trial. You will have a challenge to protect him – and perhaps yourself – through what is likely the next stage in the response to the January 6th attack: an investigation by a non-partisan commission similar to the 9/11 commission. The question is how serious and how legitimately such an inquiry will be, and Democrats need to ensure that the answer is “a lot”.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi called for such an investigation in early February and wrote to House Democrats: “It is also clear that we need to set up a 9/11 type commission to investigate and report on the facts, causes and security surrounding the January 6th terrorist attack. “Retired Lieutenant General Russell Honoré is already leading a security clearance, but the issue of protecting the US Capitol as a physical building differs from understanding January 6 – from incitement to active planning to response in the process – and not just Congress, but the whole nation needs to understand.
We need to know more about Trump’s actions. The House impeachment executives released his publicly available statements, which indicated that he was determined to call his supporters to Washington DC on Jan. 6 to prevent Congress from confirming President Biden’s election victory, and that he continues to do so encouraged just as they were to break through the Capitol. But we know there is more. Republican MP Jaime Herrera Beutler described a call between House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and Trump during the attack in which McCarthy asked Trump, “publicly and forcibly call off the uprising “just to have Trump say,” Well, Kevin, I think these people are more angry about the election than you are. “McCarthy told Herrera Beutler about the call. He has to tell the investigators about it too.
Herrera Beutler’s statement on Friday on this call indicated that McCarthy is not the only likely witness: “For the patriots who stood next to the former president during these talks, or even the former vice president, if you have anything To add here, now is the time, ”she said. That didn’t happen in time for the impeachment trial, but these people are still out there, and a non-partisan summons commission could potentially expose some of them, along with many other facts necessary to ensure this never happens again … but possibly very impractical for Trump and some other Republicans.
We also need to know more about failures of the Capitol Police and others charged with protecting the Capitol. How did they fail to see the signs that this would not be peaceful free speech? We need to know who did what in the Pentagon regarding the National Guard operation before Jan 6th and during the attack on the Capitol.
Legislators of both parties have called for a Type 9/11 Inquiry, but some of the Republicans will likely either push narrow limits to what can be investigated or withdraw those demands altogether as impeachment – and the need to divert attention by being very serious about some form of the Reaction to the attack acts – steps back into the past.
“We need a 9/11 commission to find out what happened and to make sure it never happens again, and I want to make sure the Capitol’s footprint can be better defended next time, ”Senator Lindsey Graham said on Sunday but let’s wait and see the series of things he doesn’t want and witnesses he doesn’t want to be drawn into the investigation. The second item on Graham’s list is likely to become a major Republican topic of conversation – refocusing the response from “What happened and how do we understand it?” On “What physical fortifications do we need?” It’s the Republican way: guns, no accountability.
Republicans will also start yelling when, for example, some of them are called as witnesses. It would be very interesting to hear from Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, for example, or representatives from Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
However, a 9/11 commission is not the only investigation currently underway. Graham himself could be drawn into an investigation into efforts to overthrow the Georgia elections. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger recorded the call during which Trump pressured him to “find 11,780 votes” because Graham had previously asked him to illegally reject a large number of ballots. This Georgia investigation will obviously focus on Trump. Trump also faces the possibility of a criminal investigation through January 6. That is a very distant possibility now, but given an empowered, detailed (the 9/11 commission has been investigating for 20 months) look at what happened … well, we can dream.
Too many people are unlikely to oppose an investigation into the Capitol attack. The thing to watch is what limits Republicans want to put on it. Which questions do you think should be taboo? What witnesses do they not want to call? Especially from the likes of Graham, Cruz and Hawley, this will be a signal of where the really important information is – and both Democrats and gullible Republicans must be willing to follow up on it.