Interest in 9/11-style probe of US Capitol attack has cooled, but still possible

The call for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has lost some political momentum, but congressional supporters of the idea said they’ll keep fighting for it.

Public discussion of the commission has waned in recent weeks amid concerns that the political hurdles are too high to overcome. But some in Congress say it remains critical to know exactly what led to the insurrection.

“I feel very strongly that we do it,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md, said in a recent interview with WTOP. “We need to have a bipartisan … or nonpartisan, nationwide commission to examine the events of January 6 and the causes of it.”

Raskin, who was the lead House manager in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, acknowledged there are a lot of political challenges in establishing such a panel.

But he said it must be done, especially given that “domestic violent extremism” is the top terror threat in the United States.

He noted that the Department of Homeland Security under the Trump administration acknowledged that before he left office.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi initially called for a commission that would be made up of seven Democrats and four Republicans.

Three of the members would be selected by President Joe Biden, while the other four would be chosen by the top four congressional leaders: Pelosi; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

But Republicans have objected to Pelosi’s proposal and argue that the commission should be split evenly between the parties. Some Democrats support that view as well.

While some GOP lawmakers have indicated general support for a comprehensive investigation, the proposal now appears to be stalled.

Raskin said while the impeachment of Trump was the most bipartisan in history, it’s still clear that the parties remain divided over how much of a role he had in the run-up to the attack.

In the wake of the security breach, fencing with razor wire still remains around the Capitol and thousands of National Guard troops will remain on patrols with U.S. Capitol Police for another two months.

Beyond the security issues and what happened Jan. 6, Raskin said after a full year of dealing with the pandemic, he remains optimistic about the rest of the year.

He cited the House’s final passage of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package and indicated he believes things are headed in the right direction.

“We’re going to get everybody vaccinated, we’re going to invest in science, we’re going to get kids back in school by fall,” he said. “I’m excited about that.”

Mitchell Miller

Mitchell Miller has worked at WTOP since 1996, as a producer, editor, reporter and Senior News Director. After working "behind the scenes," coordinating coverage and reporter coverage for years, Mitchell moved back to his first love -- reporting. He is now WTOP's Capitol Hill reporter.

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