Hours before the House impeached President Donald Trump on Jan. 13 for the Capitol attack, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) proposed a compromise to impeachment: a commission to study the attack.
But in the six months that followed, Republicans blocked efforts to establish both an independent, nonpartisan commission and a bipartisan House select panel to investigate the attack, citing no fewer than 10 different reasons. Many of those reasons were misleading or contradictory, examples of which you can watch in the video above.
GOP opposition to these broader investigatory efforts came even though Republicans helped negotiate the structure of a proposed independent commission, much is still unknown about Trump’s actions during the attack and 30 Republicans co-sponsored a bill to establish a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 “domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol.”
Now, as many of those same Republicans criticize a new House select committee investigating the attack, their previous critiques of efforts to establish a bipartisan investigation are resurfacing. The Fix has compiled a running list below:
1. The scope is too narrow.
McCarthy on April 25: “You had an insurrection at the Capitol. You’ve had political violence for the last year in this building. … If you’re now going to put a commission together, why wouldn’t you look at all the problems to solve?”
2. The investigation would take too long.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on June 8: “Had we chosen to establish a commission, we’d be haggling over appointments for the next few weeks. If you look at the history of these independent commissions, they take forever to make recommendations.”
3. It is too soon to establish a commission.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) on May 23: “I think it’s too early to create a commission. … Commissions often don’t work at all.”
4. The investigation would slow down other investigations.
Blunt on May 17: “I doubt there's much value in it, and I'm absolutely sure it will slow down doing what we need to do right now on the Capitol security issues.”
5. There is no need to investigate past events.
McConnell on May 25: “I think, at the heart of this recommendation by the Democrats, is that they would like to continue to debate things that occurred in the past. They’d like to continue to litigate the former president into the future.”
6. There are already enough investigations.
McCarthy on May 18: “You already have four investigations. I think that’s enough.”
7. There are no new facts to uncover.
McConnell on May 19: “There is, has been and there will continue to be no shortage — no shortage — of robust investigations by two separate branches of the federal government. … It’s not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could actually lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress.”
8. The results of an additional investigation would be foreordained.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) on July 21: “If [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)] was truly interested in an independent commission, she would allow Republicans to appoint the people to that commission that they want to appoint. … I think what it suggests is that this is a very partisan political matter for her, with perhaps foreordained conclusions, and not something that truly represents an independent fact-finding mission.”
9. The Justice Department should handle the investigation.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) on May 30: “In essence, I view this not as an overview of policy, like the 9/11 Commission did. It’s a criminal investigation, a criminal case. In my judgment, that properly falls within the venue — the purview of the Department of Justice.”
10. The investigation is meant to benefit Democrats politically.
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) on May 21: “This is clearly just a partisan attempt to open up an area where they think it will be helpful to the Democrats in the next cycle of the elections.”