What’s the January 6, 2021 Commission?

What’s the January 6, 2021 Commission?
Source: Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters
The commission would provide an official explanation for what happened during the Capitol attack, just like how the 9/11 Commission investigated the September 11 terrorist attacks.

  • It’s been less than five months since the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol and an official Congressional investigation into the insurrection is struggling to gain support from both parties.
  • This investigation, called the “January 6, 2021 Commission,” would be overseen by both Democratic and Republican members of the House of Representatives.
  • The commission would provide an official explanation for what happened during the Capitol attack, just like how the 9/11 Commission investigated the September 11 terrorist attacks.

How would the January 6 commission work?

  • The commission would have 10 members, with each party being allowed to choose five of them. This way there would be equal representation.
  • The chair (or leader) of the commission would be a Democrat because Democrats currently hold the majority in the House.
  • Just like a legal investigation, the commission could then issue subpoenas to call people to come and testify before them.
  • If this investigation were to kick off soon, a final report on the January 6 attack could probably be released by the end of 2021.
  • The commission would examine the root causes of the attack and likely be able to say who was responsible for inciting the mob.

What was the January 6 attack?

  • It’s expected that former President Donald Trump would play a big role in the investigation.
  • His supporters were the ones responsible for storming the Capitol – violently in some cases.
  • The attackers believed the false claim that the election had been rigged and that the presidency had been stolen from Trump by Biden.
  • The attack resulted in multiple deaths, including at least one Capitol police officer.
  • Hundreds of people who were involved in the attack on the Capitol have been arrested. Nearly 50 of those had been in the US military.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation has led the search for those who participated in the attack, even asking the public for help in identifying people who took part in it.

Republican opposition to the January 6 commission

  • At first, the proposal for the commission received bipartisan support. But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the highest ranking Republican in the House, announced his opposition to it on May 18.
  • McCarthy has said there’s no point in having a commission investigate the attacks because they’re currently being investigated by other agencies, like the FBI.
  • He also says that the commission should look at other forms of political violence in the US, not just what happened on January 6.
  • McCarthy and other Republicans have said that the violence seen on January 6 is no different from the violence that took place during Black Lives Matter protests last year.
  • Democrats and other critics have accused Republicans of trying to downplay what happened and rewrite history.
  • McCarthy reportedly had a shouting match with Trump over the phone during the riot and it’s believed that McCarthy is one of the people who the commission would want to come and testify.
  • But even though McCarthy and most Republicans are against it, Democrats have the votes in the House to ensure the commission goes forward.
  • Still, without the cooperation of Republicans, the commission may be seen as a political investigation, not a bipartisan one the way the 9/11 Commission was viewed.

Denying the reality of January 6

  • Though there are hours of footage from January 6, much of it shown during Trump’s second impeachment trial, there have still been attempts to deny what happened on January 6.
  • Some Republicans have claimed that the attackers weren’t really Trump supporters, but members of Black Lives Matter or Antifa.
  • But there is no proof of these claims and they have been denied by both the FBI and the rioters themselves.
  • Another Republican member of the House, Representative Andrew Clyde, recently downplayed the violence and destruction of the event.
  • “If you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th,” Clyde said during a House hearing, “you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”
  • Many people online were quick to point out that among the footage from that day is a video of Clyde barricading the door to the House chambers.

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