Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged fellow GOP senators to vote against the creation of a 9/11-style commission largely supported by Democrats that would investigate the origins of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
Speaking on the floor of the Senate on May 27, McConnell argued that the commission, which was approved in the House earlier this month, would create a partisan and slanted investigation against former President Donald Trump. The proposed commission, in its current form, would have the power to issue subpoenas.
“I do not believe the additional extraneous commission that Democratic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts or promote healing,” he said. “Frankly, I do not believe it is even designed to do that.”
McConnell last week signaled that he won’t support the bill, suggesting that it won’t clear the 60-vote threshold to overcome a Senate filibuster. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who voted to convict Trump in February during his second impeachment trial, has also said he won’t vote for it, noting that the Department of Justice and other congressional committees are already investigating the incident.
“I will continue to support the real serious work of the criminal justice system and our own Senate committees, and urge my colleagues to oppose this extraneous layer when the time comes for the Senate to vote,” McConnell said on the floor.
Several moderate GOP senators, including Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), said they want to create the commission and appeared to want bipartisan support. Romney became the first Republican senator to say he would vote in favor of the bill.
“I want to have a commission. The House bill needs to be improved. And one of the flaws of the House bill is that it has the chairman essentially appointing all of the staff,” Collins said on May 26. “For the commission to be successful, it has to be nonpartisan and we know that if it’s stacked with partisan staff, that it will get off to a bad start.”
Reiterating some of his comments from last week, McConnell stated on May 27 that he would prefer to allow the DOJ to continue its work, noting that more than 400 arrests have been made in connection to the Jan. 6 incident.
“The attorney general has indicated that this investigation will remain a top focus, multiple Senate committees are conducting their own bipartisan inquiries, and the role of the former president has been litigated exhaustively—exhaustively—in the high-profile impeachment trial we had right here in the Senate several months ago,” he said.
Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) claim that Republicans are only trying to block the bill because the commission would create unfavorable conditions for them during the 2022 midterm elections.
“The Democratic-led Congress is not going to just sweep Jan. 6 under the rug. The truth will come out,” Schumer told reporters on May 25.
He may seek to bring the measure to the Senate floor as soon as this week, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on May 26, Politico reported.