It’s been a few days since the U.S. Senate Rules and Homeland Security committees released their report concerning the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
On that day — as members of Congress met to formally accept the Electoral College vote tally and officially hand the presidency to Joe Biden — thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the grounds, damaging property. One Trump supporter was shot dead, three others died from medical emergencies, and a Capitol police officer died the day after the insurrection from natural causes after suffering two strokes, D.C.’s chief medical examiner ruled April 19.
The 128-page report addressed security, planning and response failures before and during the riot and made recommendations to federal police and intelligence agencies to address the intelligence and failures that day.
“January 6, 2021 marked not only an attack on the Capitol Building — it marked an attack on democracy. The entities responsible for securing and protecting the Capitol Complex and everyone onsite that day were not prepared for a large-scale attack, despite being aware of the potential for violence targeting the Capitol,” the report’s conclusion stated. “The Committees’ investigation to-date makes clear that reforms to USCP and the Capitol Police Board are necessary to ensure events like January 6 are never repeated.”
Since the report’s release a few days ago, Democrats in both the House and Senate have urged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to reverse course and pave the way for a bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol riots — something that already had failed to garner the 60-vote threshold to overcome a GOP-led filibuster.
McConnell has shown no indication that he — nor any other member of the Republican Senate or House leadership — is interested in taking up the call for a 9/11-style commission now or any time in the future.
And McConnell is right.
Yes, the riots were reprehensible. Yes, the families of those injured — and the family of the slain Capitol officer — deserve answers and justice.
But we don’t think the families will get either answers or justice from Congress — especially the train wrecks that currently inhabit the halls of Washington.
In an ideal world, such a commission would do its work diligently, looking over evidence, question witnesses and come up with definitive conclusions.
But this isn’t the ideal world. We shudder to think of the grandstanding, personal attacks and sheer ugliness of such an endeavor. It would do very little to give Americans a sense of confidence in Washington. It would, however, cement Americans’ already firm impression that our leaders are more interested in fighting than fact-finding.
But here’s another — more important — reason to avoid such a politically charged commission:
Fact-finding and investigations already are underway.
Federal prosecutors have charged more than 475 people in more than 40 states with participating in the insurrection.
ABC News reported that investigators were continuing to search and are seeking tips on some of the most violent actors from that day. The Department of Justice says it is still seeking tips to identify more than 250 individuals involved in assaults on officers or other acts of violence. So far, citizens around the country have provided more than 200,000 digital media tips to the FBI.
Scores of defendants either have pleaded guilty to charges or are working on plea deals right now. Some will be fined. Others will face jail time.
Sounds like justice is being served after all.
Nothing further from Congress should be required.