Politics|Pelosi says she will create a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
- June 24, 2021, 11:20 a.m. ET
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she would create a select committee to further investigate the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, after Senate Republicans blocked a bipartisan effort to form an independent commission of experts to look into the riot.
“Jan. 6 was a day of darkness for our country,” Ms. Pelosi told reporters. “Our temple of democracy was attacked by insurrectionists.”
The move came after Ms. Pelosi had signaled for weeks that she planned to take such a step to scrutinize the storming of the Capitol by a mob of supporters of President Donald J. Trump, who sought to disrupt Congress’s counting of electoral votes to formalize President Biden’s victory.
On Tuesday, Ms. Pelosi told top House Democrats that she planned to announce her decision on a select committee this week. She has maintained that her preference was for the Senate to approve a bipartisan commission, modeled after the one that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But with Republicans opposed and many G.O.P. lawmakers working to whitewash and downplay the riot, she has conceded that no longer seemed possible. Fewer than 10 Republicans — the amount needed to overcome a legislative filibuster — supported such an inquiry when it came to a vote in the Senate this month.
“It is imperative that we seek the truth,” Ms. Pelosi said on Thursday. “It is clear the Republicans are afraid of the truth.”
She said the committee would investigate the root causes of the attack, including white supremacist and extremist groups, and also Capitol security failures.
“Most of us had our hearts set on an independent bipartisan commission similar to the 9/11 Commission,” Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a member of Ms. Pelosi’s leadership team, said. “We just ran into a brick wall of G.O.P. opposition. They apparently see no political mileage in undertaking any inquiry.”
Mr. Raskin, who led the impeachment case against Mr. Trump over a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 riot, said his team was “not able to follow many leads about the president’s organization and mobilization of different groups to participate in the events of that day” and he hoped the select committee could pick up that work.
“We need to learn about how that coalition of extremists came together and who facilitated it. to what extent it’s a threat to us in the future,” he said.
It was not immediately clear who would chair the committee or be included in its membership. Ms. Pelosi said she would make those announcements at a later date and said she hoped that Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the minority leader, would name “responsible” people to participate.
Mr. McCarthy said Wednesday that his preference was to allow Senate committees that have already been looking into the attack to continue, rather than to create the new body that Ms. Pelosi was proposing.
“When it comes to what happened on Jan. 6, we want to get to the bottom of that; it’s disgusting what transpired that day,” Mr. McCarthy said Wednesday. “Unfortunately, the speaker has always played politics with this. Time and again. She’s never once talked to me about it.”
But Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, who was the No. 3 Republican before she was ousted from her leadership post over her criticism of Mr. Trump — endorsed the idea of moving forward with the committee.
“It’s really important for us to make sure we have a full investigation into what happened Jan. 6,” Ms. Cheney said.
About 140 police officers were injured during the most violent assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812. Seven people died in connection with the siege, including one officer who had multiple strokes after sparring with rioters.