IIt was, Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday, one of the darkest days in American history – an assault on democracy, Congress and the constitution. “The American people want to know the truth,” he said.
But will the truth of the January 6 insurrection ever be fully told in the United States Capitol?
Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, is caught in a battle of wills with Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader who critics say is determined to turn the political conversation to anything else.
The two Californians have bitterly clashed this week over the formation of a special committee to investigate the riot, which interrupted the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory over Donald Trump. What is at stake is not just a full account of that day, what role Trump played, why the security forces fell short, but also the ability of the political class to investigate.
“Clearly Washington today is not able to get to the truth,” he said. Larry Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Policy and Governance at the University of Minnesota. “There is such a poisonous tribal war between Republicans and Democrats that every encounter is one of cruelty.
“The die was cast several months ago when McCarthy refused to support a nonpartisan approach. He doesn’t want to get to the truth. The truth is so damning about Trump and McCarthy doesn’t want to disagree with Trump. That is the fundamental political calculus here. “
The United States was stunned on January 6 when a crowd of Trump supporters besieged the Capitol, entered the Senate chamber and called for Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged. Five people were killed, more than a hundred were injured, and members of Congress ran for their lives as a result of the historic national security failure.
The Democratic-controlled House voted to create a commission, evenly divided between the parties, inspired by the body that investigated the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington. But Republicans in the Senate blocked the proposal in May by implementing a procedural rule known as filibuster.
The House’s next step was to create its own select committee with a Democratic majority to investigate the causes of January 6, how it was organized, who paid for it, who persuaded thousands of Trump supporters to come to Washington, and what happened when he did. they made. All but two Republicans opposed: Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, both outspoken critics of Trump.
Who should sit on the panel is now the subject of a bitter power struggle. On Wednesday Pelosi rejected two Republicans elected by McCarthy: Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio. Both are staunch and brazen Trump allies who deny their role in the attack.
Banks recently traveled with the former president to the US-Mexico border and visited him at his New Jersey golf course. Jordan was one of Trump’s strongest advocates during his two impeachments, describing the new investigation as “impeachment three” last month.
An angry McCarthy denounced Pelosi’s move as “A heinous abuse of power” and said Republicans would not participate at all. He claimed the panel has lost “all legitimacy” because Pelosi would not allow Republicans to appoint their own members.
On Thursday the war of words intensified. At a press conference, Pelosi argued that it would be “ridiculous” to allow Banks and Jordan to sit on the committee. “They had made statements and taken actions that I think would impact the integrity of the committee, the work of the committee,” he said.
“This is very serious. It is about our constitution, our country. This is an assault on the Capitol that, for whatever reason, is being mischaracterized at the expense of finding the truth for the American people. “
Pelosi added: “It is my responsibility as Speaker of the House to make sure we get to the truth about this, and we will not let her antics get in the way.”
Later McCarthy returned fire once more. “This is a bogus committee politically driven by President Pelosi,” he told reporters.
But analysts point to McCarthy’s loyalty to Trump, his potential to be subpoenaed to testify about a telephone conversation with the then-president on Jan.6, and his personal ambition to replace Pelosi in the president’s chair after the mid-term elections. next year’s period.
Larry Saturday, Director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said: “Look, I accept hypocrisy, it’s a big part of politics, but this is full of hypocrisy. They stood up and said on January 6 or shortly after that it was a terrible thing and that these people should be brought to justice and now I think they are going to be awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom.
“It is incredible, but it is designed for one thing. They know they will never convince independents, much less Democrats, of their ridiculous point of view on January 6. This is designed to prop up Republicans and please Trump, and it’s working. “
Democrats insist the investigation will go ahead regardless of whether the Republicans in question participate or not, as Pelosi has already appointed eight of the 13 members, including Cheney, giving them a bipartisan quorum to proceed, according to the rules. of the committee. He will have his first hearing next week, with at least four grassroots police officers who fought the rioters testifying about their experiences.
The standoff is symptomatic of stark political divisions in Congress and raises the possibility that the only comprehensive investigation currently underway into the attack will be done almost entirely by Democrats. McCarthy will surely try to present it as hopelessly partisan and therefore lacking in credibility.
But Kurt Bardella, a former Republican congressional aide who switched Democrats disagrees. He said: “If anything, the omission of supporters on January 6 will ensure that the committee’s work progresses in a fair and impartial manner, free from the stunts and antics, interruptions and disturbances that have become commonplace. for Republicans like Jim Jordan.
“Now we can have procedures where we listen to witnesses, where we have a real line of questions that are not interrupted, where events will be allowed to have a transparent air for the American people to decide how they feel. on the information presented by the committee. The investigation process can now be carried out without obstacles due to the interference of the sympathizers of January 6. “
Bardella remains optimistic that the committee will be able to shed new light on the events of one of America’s darkest days. He added: “The reality is that the accomplices in creating the environment that allowed January 6 to occur cannot be expected to be impartial investigators. It would be similar to inviting members of al-Qaida to serve on the 9/11 commission. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism