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Pelosi: Dropping 9/11-style Jan. 6 commission an 'option' amid opposition

Pelosi: Dropping 9/11-style Jan. 6 commission an 'option' amid opposition
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Inflation jumps at fastest pace since 2008 | Biden 'encouraged' on bipartisan infrastructure deal Overnight Health Care: CDC approves Pfizer vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 | House moderates signal concerns with Pelosi drug pricing bill | Panel blasts COVID-19 response Biden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure MORE (D-Calif.) signaled she is open to implementing a select committee of Congress to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol if negotiations with Republicans over an independent commission stall. 

During an interview with USA Today on Tuesday, Pelosi said she would consider setting up a select committee to investigate the Capitol riot if Republicans won't budge on their demands for more seats and a narrowed scope for the 9/11-style body, underscoring Democrats' desire to uncover more information about events leading up to the insurrection. 

“The one thing among our members that is consistent is  we must find the truth," she said. “It’s always an option. It’s not my preference in any way. My preference would be to have a commission.”

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Pelosi in February proposed a commission that would investigate the events leading to Jan. 6, as well as matters "relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power, including facts and causes relating to the preparedness and response of the United States Capitol Police and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement in the National Capitol Region." 

Republicans have pushed back on the proposal, taking issue with the number of seats that would be allocated to the minority party  just four compared to the seven that Democrats would have  and the committee's mandate. 

“The Speaker of the Houses proposes even more investigation through a new commission. She cites the precedent of the 9/11 Commission. But her draft bill fails to track with that precedent in key ways,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says Beau's assessment of first 100 days would be 'Be who you are' McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal McConnell: 'Good chance' of deal with Biden on infrastructure MORE (R-Ky.) said during a speech on Feb. 24. "This time, Speaker Pelosi started by proposing a commission that would be partisan by design." 

Other Democrats have indicated they should not work with Republicans to establish a bipartisan commission because they do not trust members on the other side of the aisle, some of whom Democrats have accused of playing some role in the violence that took place on Jan. 6. 

“We do not owe delusional deniers a role or a platform in a commission designed to try to ferret out extremism and violence to prevent its recurrence,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) told The Hill. "They’re denying that the Trump mob was the Trump mob." 

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Connolly's remark came after Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonRand Paul clashes with Fauci over coronavirus origins Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as White House continues to push vaccination effort Overnight Health Care: WHO-backed Covax gets a boost from Moderna MORE (R-Wis.) sparked backlash for suggesting some of the people committing the violence at Capitol were agitators and not supporters of the former president. 

Earlier this month, more than 140 national security leaders wrote a letter to congressional leaders urging them to continue to pursue a bipartisan, 9/11-style commission on the Jan. 6 riot.

“The events of January 6th exposed severe vulnerabilities in the nation’s preparedness for preventing and responding to domestic terrorist attacks. The immediate security failings that permitted a lethal breach of the Capitol Complex by armed extremists raise serious questions and demand immediate solutions,” the national security experts wrote. “Understanding how these forces culminated in an attack on the infrastructure of our democracy is critical to preventing future attacks."