(D., Calif.) said she will establish a select committee to investigate Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, after Senate Republicans blocked an earlier effort to establish a bipartisan independent commission.
The committee will investigate and report on the facts and the causes of the attack by supporters of former President
and will make recommendations for the prevention of any future attacks, Mrs. Pelosi said.
The speaker had signaled her intention to form a select committee earlier this week during a meeting with the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, according to people familiar with the matter. But the formal announcement didn’t come until Thursday morning.
“Jan. 6 was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history,” Mrs. Pelosi said at a press conference Thursday, calling the violent attack a “gleeful desecration of the Capitol.” She said it is “imperative that we establish the truth of that day, and ensure that the attack of that kind cannot happen, and that we root out the causes of it all.”
said Thursday that the Justice Department has arrested more than 500 people in connection with the Capitol riot, including at least 100 people on charges of assault of a police officer.
Last month, 35 House Republicans joined Democrats to pass a bill that would have created a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate Jan. 6. But in the Senate, Republicans blocked the legislation, which needed 60 votes to advance under the chamber’s longstanding filibuster rule.
While six GOP senators voted in favor of the commission, it wasn’t enough. The bill failed, 54-35, with 11 senators not voting.
Mr. Trump had urged Republicans in the House and Senate to oppose the commission. The House impeached Mr. Trump in January for inciting insurrection against the U.S. government on Jan. 6, when his supporters stormed the Capitol to stop the ratification of President
Electoral College win. Mr. Trump was acquitted by the Senate.
House Minority Leader
(R., Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader
(R., Ky.) also opposed the commission. They argued that it wasn’t needed and said they expected Democrats to weaponize any findings against GOP candidates in 2022.
Asked for his reaction to Mrs. Pelosi’s announcement Thursday, Mr. McCarthy declined to comment. Mr. McConnell’s office didn’t comment.
Mrs. Pelosi didn’t give more detail about who would be appointed to the select committee or its rules and powers to call witnesses. She said the committee, which will include Republicans, has no hard end date. Its structure as a congressional panel gives Democrats, who control the House and Senate, more power over the probe but makes it more vulnerable to accusations of partisan bias.
“It would have less credibility than a truly bipartisan commission with equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats appointed from outside the Congress, with a staff that is truly appointed on a nonpartisan basis,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), who was one of the half-dozen GOP senators who voted in May to authorize a commission.
Mrs. Pelosi said an independent commission would have been preferable, as it “has a legitimacy in the public mind” but added she had “no intention of walking away from our responsibility.”
Mrs. Pelosi said she sees the findings of a select committee, the term for a special panel established for a specific purpose, as complementary to the work of an outside commission, which she still hopes Congress will establish one day in the future.
The House legislation to authorize an independent commission had been the result of talks between the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Democrat
Bennie G. Thompson
of Mississippi, and the panel’s top-ranking Republican,
of New York. Modeled on the 9/11 Commission, the panel would have had five members appointed by Democratic leaders and five by Republican leaders. Both sides would have shared responsibility for issuing subpoenas.
Some of the Republicans who bucked Messrs. Trump, McConnell and McCarthy in voting to establish the commission warned at the time that Republicans might end up with a Democratic-driven congressional investigation instead.
“The investigations will happen with or without Republicans,” said
Sen. Bill Cassidy
(R., La.) in his statement explaining his vote to authorize the commission last month. “To ensure the investigations are fair, impartial and focused on the facts, Republicans need to be involved.”
U.S. Capitol Riot
More WSJ coverage of the Jan. 6 assault, selected by the editors.
Federal authorities on Thursday also arrested the first suspect accused of attacking a member of the news media on Jan. 6, Mr. Garland said. In court documents supporting the arrest, an FBI agent said 43-year old Shane Jason Woods, of Auburn, Ill., was seen climbing over a toppled fence near where demonstrators were yelling and spitting at members of the press and then picking up and throwing some of their equipment that had been piled in the area. He was also seen in video running into and tackling a cameraman.
Mr. Woods is also charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer after video captured him tripping a Capitol police officer and pushing her to the ground, the agent said.
A lawyer for Mr. Woods couldn’t immediately be identified.
—Sadie Gurman contributed to this article.
Write to Lindsay Wise at firstname.lastname@example.org
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