House votes to launch new investigation into U.S. Capitol uprising
The House of Representatives launched a new investigation into the Jan.6 Capitol uprising, approving a special committee to investigate the violent attack as police officers injured fighting Donald Trump supporters watched from the gallery.
The vote to form the panel was 222-190, with Republicans objecting that the majority Democrats would be in charge. The action came after Senate Republicans blocked the creation of an independent commission that would have been split equally between the two sides.
Emphasizing the importance Democrats attached to voting, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told lawmakers in the chamber: “We will be judged by future generations for how much we value our democracy.”
Liz Cheney, who lost her position in the Republican leadership because of her criticism of Mr. Trump, was one of only two people in the party to vote for the panel, saying, “Our nation and the families of the brave police officers injured defending us or died as a result of the attack, deserve answers.
Ohio Republican Brad Wenstrup dismissed the new investigation as “incomplete and insufficient” because it would not examine other incidents, including the 2017 baseball field shooting that seriously injured Republican Steve Scalize.
Ms Pelosi said she would prefer an independent panel to lead the investigation, but Congress couldn’t wait to begin a closer look at the insurgency that has been the worst attack on Capitol Hill in more than 200 years.
Tensions have grown in Congress since Mr. Trump’s supporters laid siege, in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying its loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
A brief sense of shared outrage gave way to partisan politics and attempts by some Republicans to downplay the day’s events. Most Republicans have made it clear that they want to abandon the insurgency – and Mr. Trump’s role – although many of them have shunned the violent mob themselves.
Democrats have expressed frustration with Republicans who complained the investigation would be partisan after their party blocked the bipartisan panel.
“I think for some on the other side, nothing that happens to the truth will ever be good enough because they don’t want the truth,” said Rules Commission Chairman Jim McGovern, who has led the debate before the vote.
The panel would be led by Democrats, with Ms Pelosi appointing a chair and at least eight of the committee’s 13 members. The resolution also gives him a say in the nomination of the other five members, ordering that they be appointed “after consultation” with Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy.
Republican leaders are under pressure to take the investigation seriously from the police officers who responded to the attack, several of whom were seated in the gallery and watched the debate. Dozens of officers were injured that day when Trump supporters walked past them and burst into the building to interrupt President Biden’s certification of victory.
Onlookers included Metropolitan Police officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges and Capitol Constable Harry Dunn.
Mr. Fanone described being dragged down the steps of the Capitol by rioters who shocked him with a stun gun and beat him. Mr Hodges was crushed between two doors and Mr Dunn said rioters shouted racial slurs and fought him in what looked like hand-to-hand combat as he held them back.
Gladys Sicknick and Sandra Garza, mother and partner of Capitol Hill Police Officer Brian Sicknick, also collapsed and later died after engaging with protesters. He was sprayed with chemical irritants, but a medical examiner determined he died of natural causes.