(May 21 — before the vote) Republican congressional leaders are wrong on both principle and politics in fighting against a bipartisan commission analyzing the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

A commission, specifically one with Republican input, would be useful for numerous purposes. Of course, many Democrats intend to use the commission as purely a political cudgel ahead of the midterm elections, but there are legitimate functions the commission could perform, but only if Republicans are involved in creating it and conducting its work.

If Senate Republicans don’t like the exact provisions of the House bill creating the commission, they should move to amend it, not kill it. Democrats also owe it to the country to make extra efforts to make sure the commission is crafted so as to reassure Republicans it will be bipartisan and fair-minded, not a political hit job.

A neutral but aggressive commission would indeed serve the public weal.

There is still much to be learned about what happened on Jan. 6, and how and why. At least as important, there’s still much to learn that can help authorities better respond to civic emergencies in the future. The Capitol riot came far closer to horrific tragedy than most people realize; a forward-looking commission is needed to ward off future tragedies.

Those who say that criminal investigations are ongoing, as are “security reviews,” miss the point. Much of what needs to be known involves actions that were questionable or wrong without being criminal, and some of the security questions that should be addressed may require executive branch oversight that is uniquely the province of Congress.

Granted, at least some of the focus should be on former President Donald Trump himself. If that makes Republicans uncomfortable, so be it. Their job isn’t to shield one man; their job is to present the facts to the public….

[The full column is at this link.]


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