That Congressional Republicans felt forced to block the creation of a commission to investigate the events surrounding the Jan. 6 occupation of the U.S. Capitol by protesters claiming allegiance to President Donald J. Trump is both regrettable and completely understandable.
It’s regrettable because the American people should know the truth of what happened that day. A lot went on and, based on what we know, much of what happened doesn’t match the tale they’ve been told. One example: Unlike what Democrats and other Trump opponents have repeatedly said, the only person to die by violence was a protester allegedly shot and killed by a U.S. Capitol police officer as she, according to one media report, “clambered through a broken window leading to the Speaker’s Lobby.”
There’s a lot about that day that remains unclear. A real effort at fact-finding might fashion recommendations that would prevent such a thing from reoccurring without having to turn the U.S. Capitol into a fortress that is off-limits to the general public. The legislation lately offered up by the Democrats is merely a partisan exercise creating one more opportunity to get Mr. Trump.
“What we really need to know is what was Donald Trump doing in the hours before the riot?” Rep. Jason Crow, Colorado Democrat, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “During the riot, what was he talking to or telling his advisers? What happened with that discussion with (House GOP leader) Kevin McCarthy?”
That’s the Democrats’ focus. They see the commission they want as one more chance to make political hay out of Mr. Trump. Party leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer want to force Republicans into defending him rather than answer questions about what they were doing on Jan. 6. Why, for example, did Mrs. Pelosi feel the need to call the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss the status of the U.S. nuclear arsenal? It would be nice to hear her testify under oath about that one since, as an issue both statutorily and constitutionally well outside the responsibilities of her office, an attempt by her to insert herself into the chain of command might itself be regarded as insurrectionist.
Another question on the minds of many is how the demonstrators managed to gain access to the Capitol building with apparent ease? In some places, they didn’t break in because the doors were opened for them. Did someone tell the U.S. Capitol police to stand down — and if they did, why did they? It’s an important question.
With the commission they wanted blocked, Democrats now say other options are under consideration include a select committee appointed by Mrs. Pelosi or one appointed by President Joe Biden. Interestingly, what isn’t under consideration is having Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer go back to Mr. McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to craft a bill creating an investigative body that looks at everything, not just Donald Trump. Why is that — or must the search for the truth in Joe Biden’s Washington now have a party label to be considered legitimate by the powers that be? Inquiring minds want to know.