But that bipartisan report also won’t touch the elephant in the room: Donald Trump’s role in laying the groundwork for the siege and directing his supporters to protest at the Capitol. That’s where the bipartisanship ends, with Republicans arguing that no further information is needed about the origin of the attack, who planned it, and how they planned it.
Democrats have pushed for a 9/11-type commission to further investigate the matter, but Senate Republicans banded together last week to kill a House-passed measure that would have created just such a bipartisan commission. The six Senate Republicans who supported the measure fell four short of the number that would have been necessary to beat the GOP filibuster of the bill.
The Democratic chairs of both the Rules and Homeland Security committees have made clear that a commission would have a much broader scope than the narrower, short-term focus of their report.
“It’s meant to be an opportunity to look at some quick recommendations for some relatively quick action to make sure that we’re safeguarding the Capitol,” said Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “We’re dealing with a very complex issue here that, and the more folks that are looking into it the better, because ultimately, we want to make sure that what we saw happen on January 6th never happens again.”
Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, the ranking GOP member on the committee, agreed about the report’s scope, basically admitting that it had been scaled back by Republicans.
“It’s not meant to cover everything, which is what I think some of my Democratic colleagues had hoped — for it to be more about Trump and about the motivations,” Portman said. “It’s more about what happened that day. Why we weren’t better prepared, how we can get better prepared, why the response was so slow.”
In other words, the bipartisan report is specifically tailored not to hold anyone accountable for the assault’s planning and orchestration on the front end but rather for the systemic failures and lapses of judgment and execution in defending the Capitol on the back end.
It’s also exactly this type of wanting committee-led investigation that GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell used as an excuse to claim a 9/11-style commission wasn’t necessary.
“There is no new fact about that day that we need the Democrats’ extraneous commission to uncover,” McConnell said last week in advance of the vote on the Jan. 6 commission that he personally lobbied to kill.
But Portman, who sits on one of the main committees that led the investigation clearly disagrees. He was one of six GOP senators who voted in favor of the commission last week.
What’s more accurate to say is that there’s no new fact about that day that McConnell and most congressional Republicans want uncovered—otherwise known as a cover-up.