House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress must create an independent Sept. 11-type commission to investigate the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol now that former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial has ended.
In a letter Monday to fellow House Democrats, Pelosi said retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore has already been reviewing security needs and will continue to make proposals to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
“It is clear from his findings and from the impeachment trial that we must get to the truth of how this happened,” Pelosi wrote, without offering specifics on Honore’s proposals.
The next step will be to establish an outside panel to “investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the January 6, 2021 domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex,” she wrote in the letter.
Calls for a commission have gained new significance with the proceedings finished against Trump, who was accused of inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol as Congress prepared to certify the presidential election results.
Pelosi has previously called for such an outside commission, which would exclude current House and Senate members and be patterned after the bipartisan panel created by Congress to investigate the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Pelosi has discussed such an investigative commission since the attack, and the approach has bipartisan support. Republicans on the House Administration Committee have introduced legislation to establish a commission of five Republicans and five Democrats to investigate what they called a “domestic terrorist attack.”
On Sunday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was among lawmakers in support, telling Fox News that “we need a 9/11 commission to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again.”
Some Trump allies signaled that Pelosi’s own actions may be up for review.
House Republicans including Jim Jordan, the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, said Monday in a letter to Pelosi that she must answer questions about her responsibility for the outcome. They asked what guidance her office give the sergeant at arms before the riot about security for the complex and about delays getting Capitol Police reinforcements after they were overrun.
Pelosi’s office on Monday provided few other details about the proposed panel. Spokesman Drew Hammill said there was no exact timing yet for when legislation will be introduced to form the commission or when a spending bill to fund it will be advanced.
On Friday, the heads of the Sept. 11 Commission sent a letter to President Joe Biden and congressional leaders calling for a similar independent bipartisan investigation of the deadly assault on the Capitol.
“A full accounting of the events of January 6th and the identification of measures to strengthen the Congress can help our country heal,” Thomas Kean, the commission chair, and Lee Hamilton, the panel’s vice chair, wrote. They called for the investigation to have professional staff and the power to subpoena witnesses and documents.
“An investigation should establish a single narrative and set of facts to identify how the Capitol was left vulnerable, as well as corrective actions to make the institution safe again,” wrote Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, and Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana.
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