WASHINGTON – Last Friday in May, a vote to set up a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol fell by six votes. The vote took place in the same U.S. Senate chamber that had been flooded by riots just minutes after Vice President Mike Pence was about to protect himself.
Protesters tried to keep then-President Donald Trump in the presidency, nullifying the election of Democrat Joe Biden.
With Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans firmly opposed to another attack investigation, the prospects for a thorough, bipartisan investigation now look bleak.
But for many, the questions remain four months after the deadly incident that shocked the nation and much of the world.
“As an American, that bothers me,” said Colin P. Clarke, director of policy and research for global intelligence firm The Soufan Group, based in New York City.
Clarke says he understands partisan divisions have deepened since the January insurgency, but argues that the Senate’s failure to pass a congressional inquiry commission “seems like people have things to hide.”
After initially blaming Trump for helping spark the riot, McConnell urged his Republicans to vote against the bipartisan commission, noting that other investigations are underway.
“There is nothing new on this day that we need to uncover the strange ‘commission’ of Democrats.… I will continue to support the real and serious work of our criminal justice system and our own Senate committees,” McConnell said before procedural voting.
On May 18, ten days before the Senate vote halting the bill, Trump issued a statement advising Republicans in the Senate and House to vote on the congressional committee’s proposal, calling it “democratic trap” with “a more partisan injustice.” He also implored Republicans to “become much tougher and smarter and stop being used by the radical left.”
Committees, the FBI is already investigating
Several Senate and House committees (National Security, Oversight, Judiciary) hold hearings. But the scope of committee surveys is limited to their specific jurisdictions and perspectives, making a review of the global Congress virtually impossible, absent from a committee with a broad mandate and power of summons.
Similarly, the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Capitol riots, and the FBI has made extensive efforts to identify, track, and file charges against perpetrators and participants. Analysts point out, however, that the root causes of what happened on Jan. 6 and the critical decisions made by key players in Washington at the time extend beyond legal and order issues.
President Biden could sign an executive order to appoint a presidential commission to investigate the January 6 events, an approach opposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. This option also has drawbacks, according to Seamus Hughes, a former member of the National Counterterrorism Center. Hughes noted that the FBI would refuse to share sensitive information if members of the commission did not have a security permit, adding that a review of the FBI’s rating “is a one-month slogan.”
Questions about talks
Hughes is deputy director of the George Washington University Extremism Program, which tracks 455 people arrested in connection with the Capitol Revolt and has compiled thousands of pages of legal documents and demographic data on people. Communications between U.S. law enforcement agencies before Jan. 6 are of particular interest to him.
Hughes points to an FBI note from Norfolk, Virginia, the day before the uprising warning of online talks about violence and “war” at the U.S. Capitol. He wants to know if there were other notes that predicted the violence on January 6th.
“Everything was blinking red [warning signs abounded] by Jan. 6, “Hughes told VOA, adding that” a whole host of intelligence products “should have alerted law enforcement that serious problems were occurring. Hughes he also notes that the FBI warned some extremist group leaders not to meet in Washington on Jan. 6.
“If he rose to that level where FBI agents knock on someone’s random door in Wisconsin and tell them not to travel on Jan. 6,” Hughes said, “that tells me there was concerns in the office. “
Words, actions of President Trump
At noon on January 6, Trump told an open-air rally of supportive supporters who had “stolen” the 2020 election from him, adding, “If you don’t fight like hell, you will no longer have a country “Later, the crowd flocked to the Capitol as Trump returned to the White House where he reportedly saw television alerts about the breach.
What Trump did and didn’t do while the mobs roamed the Capitol is a focus on California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California, one of nine House managers in President Trump’s second trial of impeachment. Lieu wants to know what happened in the White House once the riot began and several lawmakers tried to reach Trump by phone asking for help to quell the situation. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reportedly had a heated conversation with Trump while urging him to call off his supporters.
“Who did he have? [Trump] talk to? How were these conversations? Lieu said in a VOA interview, adding that U.S. Capitol police should have been “better informed, better armed and better equipped to deal with the massacre.”
Although the January 6 riots failed to prevent Congress from certifying the victory of Biden Electoral University, some observers have questions about future elections in light of what took place.
David Levine is an integral member of the Alliance for the Security of Democracy elections. He says it is “a challenge to move forward” in the next election without a full and shared understanding of what happened on January 6th.
Levine notes that Russian interference injected chaos and misinformation into the 2016 election cycle. He wants to know “what role, if any, foreign actors could have played” in the run-up to the Capitol uprising.
Clarke of the Soufan group echoed the concern.
“Were there any financial transactions we don’t know about?” Clark asked, adding that Americans should know if funding from a foreign entity was for extremist groups. “It’s amazing to me that there’s no urge to know these things,” he said.
Probable mosaic image
Some analysts predict a “mosaic” of Congressional reports and independent sources will give a composite picture of the January 6 events. But Seamus Hughes says the American understanding of the Capitol riots will not be as complete as that of 9/11. , 2001, terrorist attacks that provoked a special commission and a thorough explanation of what happened.
David Levine still holds out hope for a more complete analysis of what happened on Jan. 6, calling it “our country’s penultimate test,” as avoiding investigations into political concerns is not “what the good democracies “. Levine said:[The] Definitive [test] we would make sure that the attacks on our democratic processes and institutions, like the one we witnessed on January 6, never happen again ”.