Sunday, June 20

Republicans block the creation of a commission in the Senate to investigate the assault on the US Capitol | International


Capitol Police target protesters who stormed the US Congress on January 6 in Washington.
Capitol Police target protesters who stormed the US Congress on January 6 in Washington.DREW ANGERER / AFP

The division of the United States Senate has deepened on Friday after Republicans voted against creating a bipartisan commission to investigate the assault on the Capitol perpetrated by supporters of Donald Trump. Only six Republican senators supported the initiative, leaving the final vote at 54 votes in favor and 35 against – nine Republicans and two Democrats abstained. The attack on January 6 left five dead, more than a hundred police officers injured and many unknowns about the responsibilities of the authorities and the security forces that have not yet been answered.

The bill proposed that the bipartite panel inquire into the “preparedness and response” of the security forces, as well as into “the influencing factors that fostered the attack on US representative democracy while participating in a constitutional process.” The commission would have had the power to summon those involved, such as Trump, to testify before Congress under oath, and produce a report by the end of the year.

Republicans argued that a new commission will not provide more information than the other investigations that are underway. Both the Rules and Homeland Security committees in the Senate are conducting inquiries into the response to the attack by the police and the National Guard, but none of the investigations are focusing on the incidents that incited the insurrection.

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer harshly criticized his fellow Republicans. “It is a shame that the Republican Party tries to sweep the horrors of that day under the carpet because they fear Donald Trump,” he said on Capitol Hill after the vote. He also sent a letter to his colleagues warning that he will use “the right to force the Senate to vote on the bill again at the appropriate time.” “Republicans clearly put their electoral concerns before the security of Congress and the country,” said the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who warned that her party “will proceed to find the truth.”

In pre-voting discussions, both parties put on the table the role that the commission could play in the 2022 legislative elections. Republicans argued that Democrats wanted to use it as a political tool in the elections, while Joe Biden’s party was he complained that the Conservatives made the calculation that he would not favor them at the polls. In addition, they accused them of prioritizing Trump’s protection over national security.

The attack on the Capitol interrupted the certification of the victory of Democrat Joe Biden over Trump, who to this day insists on the unfounded theory that there was electoral fraud in the elections of last November. The former president published in a statement his rejection of the legislation, calling it a “Democratic trap.” Four protesters died on the day of the revolt, and a Capitol police officer who later clarified that he died of natural causes.

Democrats’ annoyance over Friday’s vote had been reaping since Republican Mitch McConnell, Senate minority leader, said last week that he was going to reject the proposal, cementing the vote against the bloc. frustrating once again the Democratic initiatives in the upper house, divided into 50 and 50. Only six senators broke the ranks: Rob Portman, Ben Sasse, Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Bill Cassidy. To carry out the legislation on the commission, 60 votes were needed. The House of Representatives approved the regulations last week with the vote of 35 Republican congressmen.

Five of the six Republicans who broke ranks in the vote, also did so when Trump faced his second impeachment in February on the charge of inciting insurrection in the attack on Capitol Hill. The Senate acquitted the Republican by 57 votes in favor of the guilty verdict (50 Democrats and 7 Republicans), but they did not reach the two-thirds majority (67) necessary for conviction.

“The truth is somewhat difficult, but we have a responsibility in this regard,” said Senator Collins, one of the more moderate Republicans on Capitol Hill, on Thursday. “We can’t pretend that nothing bad happened or that people got too nervous. Something bad happened. And it is important to make that clear, “he added. To put pressure on Republicans, Gladys Sicknick, mother of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol cop who collapsed and died of a stroke after defending the federal building, argued that not having a commission to investigate the attack would be “a slap in the face to all officers. who did their job that day. When asked by NPR radio why the bipartite panel was formed, the woman replied: “Because my son is dead and I want to know why.”

At the beginning of the negotiations, the Republicans were hesitant, but open to creating a bipartisan panel made up of five members appointed by their party and another five by the Democrats. Even the two leaders of the 9/11 commission, Republican Tom Kean and Democrat Lee Hamilton, urged passage of legislation based on the task force they led after the 2001 terrorist attack. However, McConnell’s position buried the negotiations. According to the Democrats, they had no reason to reject it, since they accepted “all [los cambios] they asked, ”said West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

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