McCarthy won't back Capitol riot probe because it 'ignores' other stuff

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Republicans want totally unrelated issues to be part of the bipartisan commission to examine the insurrection Donald Trump incited.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday announced he doesn't support the bipartisan commission to probe the Jan. 6 insurrection that fellow Republican Rep. John Katko of New York helped negotiate — at McCarthy's request — saying that the probe should also include "political violence that has struck American cities."

"Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the Speaker’s shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation," McCarthy wrote in a statement.

On Friday, House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson and ranking member Katko announced they had come to an agreement on a commission to probe the attack by the Donald Trump-supporting mob that left five people dead and roughly 140 law enforcement officers injured.

The commission would have 10 members, appointed equally by Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. Those members — who would come from specific fields such as law enforcement, counterterrorism, and law — would not be current elected officials or government employees. And they would have subpoena power to carry out their probe, which would have to be finished by the end of the year.

Yet now, McCarthy is backing out of the commission because it won't look into the violence that broke out at racial justice protests in the summer of 2020, complaining that the "commission ignores the political violence that has struck American cities, a Republican Congressional baseball practice, and, most recently, the deadly attack on Capitol Police on April 2, 2021."

The incident on April 2 refers to an attack at the Capitol by a disturbed individual who claimed the government was controlling his mind. The individual, Noah Green, rammed his car into two Capitol Police officers standing at a barricade near the building. One officer, William Evans, was killed.

Republicans have blamed violence around the country on antifa — the loose movement of anti-fascists. But some evidence shows that right-wing extremists were actually behind the attacks.

McCarthy's announcement that he doesn't support the commission comes less than a week after Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who was recently ousted from her leadership role in the GOP caucus, said some GOP lawmakers could be implicated in the commission's findings.

"I think that that kind of intense, narrow focus threatens people in my party who may have been playing a role they should not have been playing," Cheney said in a sit-down interview with Cheney that aired May 13.

Cheney also said that McCarthy should have to testify, as he spoke to Trump during the attack.

Republicans, for their part, have been trying to whitewash the insurrection.

For example, Rep. Andrew Clye (R-GA) said at a House hearing on Thursday, "There was no insurrection, and to call it an insurrection in my opinion is a boldfaced lie."

Clyde added, "Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes, taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit."

However, photos from the insurrection show a concerned looking Clyde helping barricade the doors to the House chamber as the insurrectionists drew near.

The whitewashing has led Democrats to seek censures against lawmakers like Clyde, who said the insurrection wasn't an insurrection at all.

"These members cannot be allowed to rewrite history at their convenience by disrespecting the sacrifices made by Capitol police officers and downplaying the violent, destructive intent that rioters carried into this sacred building," Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, one of the Democrats seeking to censure the GOP lawmakers, wrote in a letter seeking co-sponsors for his effort. "The January 6th insurrection was an attack on our democracy that we must continue to defend against today."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.