House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has denied he is covering up for insurrectionists by opposing a commission to investigate the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
The California Republican asserted that any commission would just “get in the way” of current Department of Justice investigations.
“Not at all. There’s already four investigations,” he replied. “The Department of Justice already has arrested 445 people with approximately another 100 arrests to come. This would just get in the way of that. You’d have two investigations going on in Senate committees.”
McCarthy also referenced the Capital Security Review Task Force, enacted shortly after the attack to improve the security of the Capitol, its members and staff.
“You also have the architect of the Capitol given $10million to have a full review of the Capitol and ways to secure it, and now we want to put a political commission to go forward?” he asked.
“This commission, the appointment of the chair goes to Schumer and Pelosi and they appoint the staff. All the staff would be Democrats. You already have four investigations. I think that’s enough.”
The formation of the January 6 commission—to be modeled on the investigation that took place after the 9/11 attacks—has been delayed for months. Some Republican lawmakers, McCarthy included, wanted the committee to investigate far-left forms of political violence.
House negotiators, led by Republican John Katko (R-NY) and Democrat Bennie Thompson (D-MS), finally reached an agreement last week on the scope of the probe.
The bill would establish a 10-person committee, five commissioners would be appointed by Democrats and five commissioners appointed by Republicans. It would also mandate that both sides sign-off on any subpoenas during the investigation.
According to the House Homeland Security Committee, the commission will be charged with studying the facts and circumstances of the U.S. Capitol attack as well as the influencing factors that may have provoked it.
The California Republican’s office said in a statement Tuesday that one of the reasons behind the opposition was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s refusal to “negotiate in good faith on basic parameters” for the committee.
“To be clear, Republican requests for fair representation and an unbiased premise from which to begin such an investigation were always understood to be the starting point for bipartisan negotiations, not the end result,” McCarthy added.
In his statement opposing the commission, McCarthy argued other House committees are already investigating the events of January 6 and that the commission could “interfere and ultimately undermine” ongoing efforts by the Department of Justice to prosecute those involved in the violence.
“Finally, there is renewed focus by Democrats to now stand up an additional commission that ignores the political violence that has struck American cities, a Republican Congressional baseball practice, and, most recently, the deadly attack on Capitol Police on April 2, 2021,” McCarthy said.
He added, “The presence of this political violence in American society cannot be tolerated and it cannot be overlooked. I have communicated this to our Democratic colleagues for months and its omission is deeply concerning.”
On January 6, a mob of pro-Donald Trump supporters breached the Capitol building as lawmakers and then-Vice President Pence were certifying Joe Biden‘s electoral victory in the 2020 election.
Five people died during or shortly after the riot, including one Capitol Police officer.