National Security

Pelosi slams GOP for ‘cowardice’ over Jan. 6 commission

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday slammed Republicans after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that he would not support legislation to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. 

Addressing reporters Tuesday morning, Pelosi lamented the “cowardice” of those Republicans like McCarthy who oppose bipartisan legislation to form the independent panel.

“I’m very pleased that we have a bipartisan bill to come to the floor,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “And [it’s] disappointing but not surprising that the cowardice on the part of some on the Republican side not to want to find the truth.”

The debate over the creation of an outside Jan. 6 commission is the latest proxy fight over former President Trump and the role he played in inciting the violent attack on the Capitol building that day, when Congress and then-Vice President Mike Pence oversaw the certification of Trump’s 2020 election defeat.

Immediately following the Capitol rampage, McCarthy had said Trump bore “responsibility” for the violence, which was carried out by Trump supporters trying to block that certification process.

The minority leader has since reversed course, visiting Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida; saying Trump did not “provoke” the riot; and last week orchestrating the expulsion of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from GOP leadership for her refusal to indulge Trump’s lies about his election defeat.

On Tuesday, McCarthy offered said he would oppose bipartisan legislation to create an outside commission, modeled on the 9/11 commission, to investigate the Jan. 6 attack.

McCarthy has demanded that the panel must also be empowered to examine other recent incidents of political violence, including the sporadic looting that accompanied some of the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer last May.

Broadening the scope would shift some of the commission’s focus away from Trump, who has insisted he bears no responsibility for the violence of Jan. 6.

Announced last week, the legislation to create the panel was intended to be a bipartisan compromise to break through the months-long impasse over the power and scope of the commission. It was sponsored by Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and John Katko (N.Y.), the committee’s senior Republican.

Katko hails from a battleground district. And McCarthy, by opposing his legislation, has angered some Republicans who fear the minority leader has left a vulnerable GOP lawmaker dangling in the wind to retain the favor of Trump, who opposes the outside investigation into Jan. 6.

McCarthy’s coziness with Trump is strategic.

The minority leader is hoping Republicans will flip control of the House in 2022, placing him in line to seize the Speaker’s gavel, and he’s calculating that the Republicans’ best chance of doing so is by staying in the good graces of the former president, who retains enormous popularity among the GOP base.

Tags Bennie Thompson Capitol attack Donald Trump Jan. 6 commission John Katko Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Mike Pence Nancy Pelosi

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