Key Republicans oppose setting up commission to investigate Capitol riots

US House may vote on Wednesday on bipartisan Bill to examine events of January 6th

Trump supporters in the Capitol Rotunda after breaching Capitol security in Washington, DC on  January 6th. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Trump supporters in the Capitol Rotunda after breaching Capitol security in Washington, DC on January 6th. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

 

The US House of Representatives will vote on establishing a commission to investigate the Capitol Hill attack of January 6th as early as Wednesday, despite opposition from Republicans.

In a statement on Tuesday, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said he would not be supporting the commission, arguing that it should also encompass other acts of violence involving left-wing protesters.

The independent commission intends to examine the lead-up and events of January 6th when supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building in Washington, the home of Congress.

The legislation to be voted on was introduced last week by the top Democrat and Republican on the House homeland security committee, but despite the involvement of Republicans, Mr McCarthy has said he will not support it.

His decision makes it more likely that Republicans will vote against the legislation when the vote occurs.  

House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is responsible for scheduling the vote, said on Tuesday that she was “very pleased” that a bipartisan Bill had been agreed. But she said it was “disappointing but not surprising that the cowardice on the part of some on the Republican side not to want to find the truth”.

Five died

The January 6th riot at the US Capitol was the most violent attack on the heart of US representative democracy in almost 200 years.

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US Capitol riot: In pictures VIEW NOW

Five people died and 140 were injured on the day, after Trump supporters broke through barriers and entered the building while members of Congress were evacuated.

The attack coincided with the certification of the electoral college votes from each US state following the presidential election – a process that is usually standard but was politicised after the losing candidate, Mr Trump, disputed the results.

Mr Trump was subsequently impeached for his role in inciting the riot after he addressed supporters earlier in the day near the White House. It was the first time in history that a president was impeached twice, though on both occasions Mr Trump was not convicted in the Senate.

The refusal of Mr McCarthy to back the inquiry could have implications for the investigation itself, which is being modelled on the congressional inquiry into the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Mr McCarthy spoke to Mr Trump from Capitol Hill by phone as the attack was unfolding, and as a result could be called as a witness in any inquiry.

While the top Republican was sharply criticism of Mr Trump at the time, he has since allied himself with the former president and last week presided over the ousting of congresswoman Liz Cheney as the chair of the House Republican Conference due to her persistent criticism of the former president.

Mr McCarthy has echoed calls from other Republicans for the scope of the inquiry to be widened to include alleged instances of violence by Black Lives Matter and other left-wing demonstrators, even if not related to the January 6th attack.

Shooting

Meanwhile, a district attorney in North Carolina on Tuesday declared that police were justified in their shooting of Andrew Brown, an African-American man who was killed by police officers in Elizabeth City last month.

Pasquotank County district attorney Andrew Womble said that multiple officers had tried to serve Mr Brown with arrest warrants over alleged drug activity and that the deceased had tried to flee by car. He also tried to run over officers, Mr Womble said.

But Mr Brown’s family have described the fatal shooting as an “execution”.

The event took place last month as the high profile trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged with killing George Floyd last year, drew to a close. Chauvin was found guilty of murdering Mr Floyd in an incident that sparked national protests about racial injustice and police misconduct.