GOP senator slams McConnell for opposing Jan. 6 probe for 'short-term political gain'


Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is one of just a handful of Republicans voting in favor of an independent review of the Capitol insurrection.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of opposing an independent commission to probe the deadly insurrection at the Capitol for political purposes. She said that finding out what happened that day is more important than "short-term political gain."

Murkowski told reporters late Thursday night:

To be making a decision for the short-term political gain at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what was in front of us on Jan. 6, I think we need to look at that critically. Is that really what this is about, one election cycle after another? Or are we going to acknowledge that as a country that is based on these principles of democracy that we hold so dear. And one of those is that we have free and fair elections... I kind of want that to endure beyond just one election cycle.

Murkowski is one of just a handful of Republicans who plan to vote in favor of the bipartisan commission, which would look into how the insurrection was fomented and make recommendations on how to prevent such an attack on the American democratic process from happening in the future.

However, the passage of the bill to create the commission is very likely to fail, as the filibuster requires that Democrats convince 10 Republicans to vote in favor, which has not happened.

And that's in large part thanks to McConnell, who came out in strong opposition to the probe, falsely claiming that it wouldn't turn up a single "new fact about that day."

Privately, however, McConnell has told his members that a commission would be damaging to the GOP in the midterm elections, according to a report from Politico.

Murkowski disagreed with McConnell's claim, telling reporters, "I think it’s important for the country that there be an independent evaluation."

"If you want to make this an independent commission, then, Leader, this is your opportunity. Pick the right people," Murkowski said, directing her comment at McConnell.

Igor Bobic, a HuffPost reporter who was part of the press gaggle when Murkowski made her comments, said her impromptu gaggle with reporters was "surreal."

What's more, as she made her comments, Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman — who earned a congressional gold medal for his heroic actions helping divert insurrectionists away from the Senate floor in order to let senators be safely evacuated during the insurrection — was guarding the door to the Senate as Murkowski spoke. Murkowski hugged him after she wrapped up her comments to reporters and realized he had been standing behind her the whole time.

Some Capitol Police officers have slammed Republicans for not supporting the commission, expressing their "profound disappointment" in both McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

"It is unconscionable to even think anyone could suggest, we need to move forward and get over it," the officers wrote in the letter.

Meanwhile, Gladys Sicknick — the mother of the Capitol Police officer who died after the insurrection — went to Capitol Hill on Thursday to try to convince Senate Republicans to support the commission.

Her pleas fell upon deaf ears, with Republicans unmoved by her arguments.

A vote on whether to proceed with the commission could be held at some point on Friday.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.