WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democratic colleagues on Tuesday that she is creating a new committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, according to a person familiar with her remarks.
Pelosi made the announcement at a private leadership meeting and did not give additional details. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private remarks.
The new committee comes after Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would form a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the attack by former President Donald Trump’s supporters. Pelosi said earlier this month that the House would step up investigations of the riot, in which a violent mob overran police, broke into the building and hunted for lawmakers to try to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.
The new select committee would put majority Democrats in charge of the investigation. More than three dozen Republicans in the House and seven Senate Republicans said they wanted to avoid a partisan probe, and they supported the legislation to form a commission, which would have been modeled after a similar panel that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
But those numbers weren’t strong enough to overcome GOP opposition in the Senate, where support from 1O Republicans is needed to pass most bills if all Democrats vote yes as a bloc. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has said he may hold a second vote after the legislation failed to advance last month, but there’s no indication that Democrats can win the necessary support from three additional Republicans.
“We can’t wait any longer,” Pelosi said June 15. “We will proceed.”
Many Republicans have made clear that they want to move on from the Jan. 6 attack, brushing aside the many unanswered questions about the insurrection, including how the government and law enforcement missed intelligence leading up to the rioting and the role of Trump before and during the insurrection.
Some Republicans have gone so far as to downplay the violence, with one suggesting the rioters looked like tourists and another insisting that a woman, Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed that day while trying to break into the House chamber through a window was “executed.”
Last week, 21 Republicans voted against giving medals of honor to Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police to thank them for their service that day. Dozens of those officers suffered injuries, including chemical burns, brain injuries and broken bones.
Seven people died during and after the rioting, including Babbitt, three other Trump supporters who died of medical emergencies and two police officers who died by suicide in the days that followed. A third officer, Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, collapsed and later died after engaging with the protesters, but a medical examiner determined he died of natural causes.