Pelosi floats Democrat-led investigation of Jan. 6 as commission alternative

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats seek to cool simmering tensions Louisiana delegation split over debt hike bill with disaster aid House Democrats unveil legislation to curtail presidential power MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday outlined multiple possibilities for a House Democratic-led investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection after Senate Republicans blocked legislation to create a bipartisan commission.

Pelosi laid out four potential alternatives during a House Democratic Caucus call following Friday's vote in the Senate that failed to overcome a GOP filibuster against legislation that would have established a commission modeled after the one that probed the 9/11 terror attacks.

According to a source on the caucus call, the four alternatives laid out by Pelosi include allowing the Senate to vote again on the House-passed bill to create an independent commission, creating a House select committee, allowing multiple committees to continue their ongoing investigations or empowering one House committee, such as Homeland Security, to take the lead on investigating Jan. 6.


Pelosi ruled out the idea of a presidential commission that had been floated by some Democrats because it likely wouldn't have subpoena authority or funding without a statutory change.

No final decisions have been made, and Pelosi said discussions will continue so that Democrats can establish consensus on the next steps.

In the absence of a bipartisan commission evenly split between members of both parties, establishing an investigation such as one led by a House select committee would give Democrats control of a probe of Jan. 6.

While that means Democrats would have power over subpoenas and the direction of an investigation, any partisan probe risks being dismissed by Republicans and conservative voters. Democrats could also allow a probe to extend into 2022 as both parties gear up for the midterm elections, in contrast to the commission that would have been obligated to wrap up its investigation by the end of this year.

As for who could lead a possible House select committee to investigate Jan. 6, numerous Democrats have floated senior lawmakers such as House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithStumbling plutonium pit project reveals DOE's uphill climb of nuclear modernization Congress should control its appetite for legacy programs when increasing defense budget House panel advances 8B defense bill MORE (Wash.), House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Government shutdown fears increase as leaders dig in Thompson says he hopes Jan 6. committee can complete work by 'early spring' Jan. 6 committee taps former Bush administration official as top lawyer MORE (Miss.), House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenBiden to raise refugee cap to 125,000 in October Republicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally Spotlight turns to GOP's McCarthy in Jan. 6 probe MORE (Calif.), Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinGOP seeks to keep spotlight on Afghanistan as Dems advance Biden's .5T spending plan Raskin writing memoir about Jan. 6, son's suicide House Democrats demand details after Border Patrol agents accused of profiling Latinos in Michigan MORE (Md.), the lead House prosecutor in former President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE's impeachment trial this year, and Rep. Jason CrowJason CrowOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Afghan evacuation still frustrates Bipartisan momentum builds for war on terror memorial Democrats face full legislative plate and rising tensions MORE (Colo.), who also helped make House Democrats' case in the impeachment trial.


Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyHow lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation Overnight Defense & National Security — Congress begins Afghanistan grilling Connolly rips Wilson over 'you lie' during Blinken hearing MORE (D-Va.), a senior member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, suggested over the weekend that President BidenJoe BidenUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Schumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks GOP Rep. Cawthorn likens vaccine mandates to 'modern-day segregation' MORE should create a presidential commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

"In light of the GOP’s cowardly filibuster of a bipartisan January 6th Commission, I urge President Biden to form and appoint a Presidential Commission to fully investigate the insurrection at the United States Capitol, to identify the individuals and organizations who plotted or were involved in those violent acts, and to make recommendations to prevent such an attack from ever recurring," Connolly said in a statement.

Other Democrats have endorsed the idea of a House select committee dedicated to investigating Jan. 6, similar to the one established last year to conduct oversight of the federal government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"If Republicans won’t join us to protect our democracy, we have an obligation to do it ourselves," said Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.), a member of the House Administration Committee.

Multiple House committees have been conducting investigations and holding oversight hearings to review the events of Jan. 6, including the House Administration, Oversight and Reform, and Appropriations committees.


Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerLouisiana delegation split over debt hike bill with disaster aid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Government shutdown fears increase as leaders dig in McConnell signals Senate GOP will oppose combined debt ceiling-funding bill MORE (D-N.Y.) said Friday after Republicans voted to block the legislation to create an independent commission that "I reserve the right to force the Senate to vote on the bill again at the appropriate time."

But there's no indication that at least 10 GOP senators would join with Democrats to allow the legislation to move forward.

Only six Republican senators voted to advance the bill on Friday. A seventh senator, Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.), missed the vote but said he would have joined them.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling Franken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Woodward: Milley was 'setting in motion sensible precautions' with calls to China MORE (R-Ky.) reiterated at an event in Kentucky on Tuesday that he and other Republicans don't think an independent bipartisan commission is necessary given ongoing law enforcement investigations of people accused of breaking into the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying Biden's victory over Trump.

"I don't think anybody's going to get away with anything. I think we’ll know everything we need to know. We were all witnesses, we were right there when it happened," McConnell said. "And I simply think the commission is not necessary."