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Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that the House Democratic majority will launch a select commission to investigate the 6 January attack on the US Capitol, a move she said at a press conference was necessary following the failure of the Senate to establish a joint commission to look at the riot.
At a news conference, the House speaker told reporters that the decision came in response to the “cowardly” votes of GOP senators against the establishment of an outside commission to investigate the attack, stating that “it is clear Republicans are afraid of the truth”.
“This morning, with great solemnity and sadness, I'm announcing that the House will establish a select committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection,” Ms Pelosi said, adding: “It is imperative that we seek the truth as to what happened.”
Republicans have indicated widespread opposition to such an investigation, with many openly accusing Democrats of wanting to use the events of the Capitol attack as a political weapon against the GOP.
Democrats, meanwhile, have hammered the GOP over its members’ unwillingness to hold supporters of former President Donald Trump accountable for the deadly events of the January riot, which resulted in the deaths of several rioters as well as a member of Capitol Police. Two other officers died in the days following the attack by suicide.
Their calls for an investigation have been amplified by members of law enforcement who responded to the attack that day, as well as the family of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer who died a day after the melee after suffering injuries and being sprayed with a chemical irritant.
“That day, one of the darkest...days in our history, our temple of democracy was attacked by insurrectionists,” the House speaker said at Thursday’s news conference
“Cowardly, the Republican senators did [Mitch McConnell] a personal favor, instead of honoring their constitutional duty,” Ms Pelosi continued, referring to the failed Senate vote to establish an outside commission.
Republicans are likely to oppose Ms Pelosi’s establishment of a select committee with the same level of resistance they showed to the efforts to create an outside commission, though it’s unclear how successful the GOP will be in stopping the House Democratic majority from pouring over the events of the Capitol attack and drawing public attention to their findings.
The House GOP leader, Kevin McCarthy, said last month in comments to reporters at the Capitol that he thought a commission or any effort to investigate the 6 Jan. attack headed by Ms Pelosi would be “a lot of politics”.