Opposing The Riot Commission

Opposing The Riot Commission


Leonard Zwelling


Thirty-five Republican members of the House of Representatives voted against the wishes of the party leadership and approved the formation of an independent commission to investigate the origins of the January 6 insurrectionist riot on Capitol Hill. Both Minority Leader McCarthy in the House and Minority Leader McConnell in the Senate oppose the formation of the commission claiming that there are enough investigations already on-going and that such a commission might interfere with the work of the Justice Department in bringing the perpetrators to justice. This is hogwash.

Apparently, according to Carl Hulse in The New York Times on May 21, some of these arguments are the same ones made about the 9/11 Commission that proved so crucial in identifying the failures that allowed the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks to occur. The same would happen here. The likely discovery of President Trump’s role in the riot, his unresponsiveness to calls for help coming to him from Capitol Hill that day, and the likely complicity of some Republicans in that riot in allowing civilians to know the layout of the Capitol will all come out and reflect poorly on the GOP as we approach the 2022 elections. And make no mistake, the Republican opposition to the formation of the new commission is about electoral politics.

When great national tragedies occur, it is right to form an independent commission to look into why. It was true of the Kennedy assassination, although the Warren Commission is still not trusted by many of us. It was true of 9/11 and the results were a best selling book and may well have contributed to the fact that there has been no recurrence of such an event on American soil in twenty years. A commission needs to happen again.

First, the real contribution of the Trump Administration into this riot needs to be ascertained. Whether or not President Trump goaded the rioters to march up Capitol Hill and riot is less important than whether there was any cooperation between the White House and white supremacists before the riot and what the White House did in response to calls from Capitol Hill during the riot.

Second, if there really is a network of insurrectionists planning events like January 6, the FBI needs to be able to intercept their disruptive plans BEFORE they get this far. If that requires domestic surveillance on terrorist groups, so be it. The FBI has already said that right wing white supremacist terrorists are the greatest threat to the American homeland. A public reiteration of that fact born of an inquiry into a terrorist action on the Capitol would go a long way toward backing a full-throated prevention program against white supremacist violence.

Finally, if we are to tolerate for a minute such behavior on the part of Americans against their government, we are in serious trouble. Both the country and the world cannot understand how the years from January 20, 2017 to January 20, 2021 even happened in the America the world has come to depend upon. Neither can I.

This commission is essential and the Democrats leading it have acquiesced to every demand made by the GOP with regard to the commission’s makeup. At least some House Republicans have seen the light. Now will 10 GOP senators do so?

2 thoughts on “Opposing The Riot Commission”

  1. Unfortunately the ten senators needed to launch the bipartisan commission did not show up. Frankly, no surprise! But, the facts about the Insurrection will be revealed eventually. The Trump Insurrection will remain an issue in 2022 and 2024. No one forgets a bully!
    Another thought about how the GOP is thinking (as if they are thinking rationally): One of the earliest signs of dementia is poor judgment. Trump, McConnell, Guiliani et al have clearly made poor decisions in recent years, and their disordered thinking and behavior have deteriorated the traditions and integrity of the GOP.
    When the current senior Republican leadership are finally in assisted living or in prison or in their graves, the GOP will have to decide how to reorganize to serve the nation again with integrity and a collective responsibility for all.
    Our nation needs the optimism that the Republican Party will someday be the Grand New Party!

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