House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has come out against a bipartisan committee to investigate the Capitol insurrection, a proposal drafted by one of his GOP colleagues, as Republicans press for a broader investigation that includes investigating Black Lives Matter protests.
His opposition follows accusations from US Rep Liz Cheney – who was ousted from her GOP leadership role with Mr McCarthy’s support – that the minority leader withheld critical information about his response to the riot on 6 January, fuelled by the former president’s false “stolen election” narrative.
“The renewed focus by Democrats to now stand up an additional commission ignores the political violence that has struck American cities, a Republican Congressional baseball practice, and, most recently, the deadly attack on Capitol Police on April 2, 2021,” Mr McCarthy said in a letter on Tuesday.
“The presence of this political violence in American society cannot be tolerated and it cannot be overlooked,” he said “I have communicated this to our Democrat colleagues for months and its omission is deeply concerning.”
The 10-member committee would be similarly modelled to the congressional investigation after the 11 September terror attacks. The committee would have subpoena authority and would study the events leading up to, during and after the deadly attack on the Capitol, as pro-Trump rioters sought to threaten lawmakers as GOP allies rejected election results.
A proposal for a bipartisan commission was introduced by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, and US Rep John Katko, a Republican.
The Democratically controlled House of Representatives is expected to approve the proposal.
In an interview with the Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace on Sunday, Ms Cheney said that Mr McCarthy “clearly has facts about that day that an investigation into what happened, into the president’s actions, ought to get to the bottom of”.
“I think that he has important information that needs to be part of any investigation, whether it’s the FBI, the Department of Justice, or this commission that I hope will be set up,” she said.
The House GOP leader accused Nancy Pelosi of refusing to to “negotiate in good faith on basic parameters” for the committee, despite the House Speaker agreeing to all GOP demands, including equal representation and shared subpoena power among both parties.
Mr McCarthy’s statement echoes remarks from other Republican lawmakers, who have deflected criticism for supporting the former president’s baseless election fraud conspiracy theories by alleging Democrat complicity in protest violence in the wake of uprisings across the US in 2020.
During a House Rules Committee hearing to consider the committee proposal on Tuesday, ranking Republican Tom Cole also shared Mr McCarthy’s call for a broader investigation into political violence, singling out Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
Democratic chair Jim McGovern said he hears from people asking him, “Why the hell is this taking so long?”
“For the life of me I don’t know why this is at all controversial,” he said. “This is not a game. I was here on 6 January. We saw what happened ... This can’t be politics as usual, business as usual, or delay, delay, delay or ‘Donald Trump is having a temper tantrum and doesn’t want us to talk about these issues.’ That’s unacceptable. That’s an abdication of our responsibility as members of Congress.”
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