Pelosi Moves to Create Select Panel to Probe Capitol Attack


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday unveiled a bill to create a select committee with subpoena power and no deadline to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, and is considering choosing a Republican as one of her eight appointees to the 13-member panel.

After Senate Republicans blocked creation of an independent commission, Pelosi announced last week that she would act to form the panel of lawmakers to investigate the causes of the attack by a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters and what can be done to prevent similar violence in the future.

“It is imperative that we establish the truth of that day and ensure such an attack cannot again happen,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The select committee will investigate and report upon the facts and causes of the attack and report recommendations for preventing any future assault.”

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said only that Pelosi had not spoken to him about the panel.

The bill, which is expected to get a vote on the floor of the House Wednesday, allows Pelosi to pick the panel’s chairman, who would have the power to issue subpoenas, after consultation with the ranking Republican member, and order the taking or depositions or testimony. She also would appoint the members of the panel, five of whom would be picked “after consultation with the minority leader.”

Among lawmakers being mentioned as Pelosi’s potential chairman is Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.

“While the establishment of a select committee was not the first choice of either the speaker or myself, Senate Republicans left us no choice when they decided to play politics with the integrity of our democracy and filibuster bipartisan legislation to create an independent commission,” Thompson said in a statement Monday.

An official familiar with Pelosi’s plans said she is considering selecting a Republican as one of her appointees. Republican leaders have resisted a investigatin, saying Democrats would use it as a political weapon to focus on Trump and his supporters. But several GOP lawmakers, including Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, and John Katko of New York, who were among the 10 GOP lawmakers voting to impeach Trump after the riot, have backed conducting an inquiry.

But Katko, in a scathing statement on Monday night, said he backed an independent commission not a House panel. Pelosi’s committee, he said, would amount to “a turbo-charged partisan exercise, not an honest fact-finding body that the American people and Capitol Police deserve.”

The bill text does not specify funding for the committee’s work, or give any deadline for completion. It directs the panel “to investigate and report upon the facts, circumstances, and causes relating to the Jan. 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex.”

The committee also would scrutinize the preparations for the day and the response of U.S. Capitol Police as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Another focus is to be what the bill calls “influencing factors that fomented such an attack on American representative democracy while engaged in a constitutional process,” a reference to the counting of presidential Electoral College ballots that day and certification of the results.

In addition to a final report, the select committee or any other House committee may provide interim reports of their findings of the investigations related to the Jan. 6 events.

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