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Pelosi's '9/11-type' commission to investigate Capitol riot could prove dangerous for Democrats

Pelosi's '9/11-type' commission to investigate Capitol riot could prove dangerous for Democrats
© Greg Nash

Democrats cannot let go of former President Donald Trump. House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe growing threat of China's lawfare Pelosi planned on retiring until Trump won election: report Biden: 'Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK' MORE (D-Calif.) has called for a full-blown inquiry, styled after the 9/11 commission, to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

That is, she wants Congress to burrow into the riots that left five people dead and led to yet another failed impeachment of Trump. You would think, given President BidenJoe BidenBiden taps California workplace safety leader to head up OSHA Romney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS US mulling cash payments to help curb migration MORE’s morbid assessment that the nation is in the grip of a long, dark winter, that perhaps Congress had better things to do than run down partisan alleyways looking for more ways to pummel the former president.

But you’d be wrong. The reality is that Pelosi and her colleagues need Trump in the worst way. Attention on Trump means the nation is not focused on Biden’s pandering to the far left, which is a blessing for Democrats. And hatred of Trump is what currently glues the Democratic Party together. Without constant injections of vitriol aimed at the outsider former president, Democrats will turn on each other.

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Let us consider the message that’s sent by calling for a “9/11-type commission.” Likening the events of Jan. 6 to one of the most horrific attacks ever carried out on American soil is an offense against the 2,977 men and women who died in 2001 at the hands of Muslim jihadists.

That terrible day, as George W. Bush said, resulted from a “failure of imagination.” Our security apparatus was not prepared for a terrorist mission of such magnitude; we were ignorant of the risks and the motivations. We needed a serious investigation into the causes of the attack and what we could do to prevent such horrors in the future.

Thanks to the excellent efforts of Tom Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, and the bipartisan group that conducted the inquiry, a serious investigation is what we got. The commission conducted a sweeping two-year probe into the multi-pronged assault and recommended many measures in its 585-page report designed to prevent a repeat.  

The nation approved of the deep dive into what went wrong on 9/11. The country was united in anger and determined that such an outrage never occur again.

The attack on the Capitol is quite a different story, one which has been embellished and blown out of all proportion in order to destroy President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS US raises concerns about Iran's seriousness in nuclear talks MORE. Without a doubt it was a tragic and scary event; also, for sure, Trump stirred the embers that ignited the explosive bonfire. But this was in no way a replay of 9/11.  

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Pelosi imagines that replaying the shocking videos shown at the impeachment trial and investigating Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 will continue to sour the public on the former president. She wants him not only out of office but exiled into political Siberia for good. She and her colleagues seem petrified that Trump will run for president again, and that he might win.

Democrats are pretending the investigation will be bipartisan, but Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsFive takeaways from Biden's first budget proposal The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start MORE (D-Del.) let the cat out of the bag when he recently said, “…a 9/11 Commission is a way to make sure that we secure the Capitol going forward and that we lay bare the record of just how responsible and how abjectly violating of his constitutional oath President Trump really was.” 

Democrats could be making a big mistake. Biden was elected largely based on his promise to heal the nation after years of political rancor. Presumably voters would like a respite from Pelosi’s (and Trump’s) brand of bitter partisanship.  

Plus, there are a lot of questions that Republicans would like answered, and that could prove embarrassing for Democrats. For instance:

Who killed Ashley Babbitt, the unarmed veteran who was shot by a Capitol cop as she attempted to squeeze through a broken window? In this era when police killings of unarmed black people cause millions to take to the streets, it is remarkable that there has been no public inquiry into the seemingly unnecessary shooting. The police have refused to reveal the name of the shooter or why Babbitt was gunned down, and they have recommended that no charges be brought against the officer. The commission should find out why she died, and why information about her death was withheld.

It has been reported that much of the planning for the assault on the Capitol took place on Twitter and Facebook. But it was Parler, a fast-rising competitor to Twitter popular with conservatives, that took the heat for carrying messages from the pro-Trump mob and that was taken offline by Big Tech, using those communications as an excuse. How can that not be a violation of anti-trust statutes? How can Big Tech use Jan. 6 as an excuse to shut down a potential rival?

Why did the FBI lie about receiving reports of impending violence? And why weren’t those warnings communicated to the Capitol Police? Though the head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office initially denied being forewarned about the possible danger, the Washington Post reports that: “an FBI office in Virginia issued an explicit warning that extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and ‘war.’”

Why did “top Congressional security officials” deny a request from the Capitol Police, alarmed by internal intelligence reports, for added security including the mobilization of the National Guard? What was their reasoning and was Pelosi privy to those requests? 

There is a lot we don’t know about the attack on Congress.  What we do know is that Democrats have used the riot to portray Trump supporters as dangerous domestic terrorists bent on overthrowing the government. It has allowed them to cancel and condemn a growing list of right-leaning voices and to pressure the IRS to consider revoking the tax-exempt status of conservative fund-raising groups.

It has also silenced any questions about anomalies in the Nov. 3 election.

If Democrats proceed with this commission, we count on Republicans in Congress to ask about those concerns, too. The outcome could surprise Nancy Pelosi.

Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.