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The Canadian Press

GOP to block bipartisan investigation into January 6 insurgency

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Republicans are set to block the creation of a special committee to study the deadly Jan.6 attack on the Capitol, dashing hopes of a bipartisan panel amid a push for GOP to put the violent insurgency of Donald Trump supporters behind them. Broad Republican opposition was expected in what would be Biden’s first successful Senate filibuster of the presidency, even as the family of a Capitol police officer who died that day and other officers who battled rioters went from office to office asking GOP senators to support the committee. The siege was the worst attack on Capitol Hill in 200 years and interrupted Democrat Joe Biden’s certification of victory over Trump. Although the bill passed the House earlier this month with the support of nearly three dozen Republicans, GOP senators said they believed the commission would eventually be used against them politically. And former President Trump, who still has a firm grip on the party, called it a “Democratic trap.” The expected vote is emblematic of the deep mistrust between the two parties from the siege, which sowed deeper divisions on Capitol Hill even though lawmakers from both parties together fled the rioters that day. The events of January 6 became an increasingly charged topic among Republicans, as some party members downplayed the violence and defended the rioters who backed Trump and his false insistence that the election was stolen from him. While initially saying he was open to the commission’s idea, which would be based on an inquiry into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has firmly opposed it in recent days. . He said he believed the panel’s investigation would be partisan despite the same division among party members. McConnell, who once said Trump was responsible for “provoking” the mob attack on Capitol Hill, said of Democrats: “They would like to continue to plead for the former president in the future.” Biden, when asked about the commission at a stop in Cleveland, said Thursday: “I can’t imagine anyone voting against.” The Republican opposition to the bipartisan panel has rekindled Democratic pressure to end filibustering, an age-old Senate tradition that requires a vote of 60 of 100 senators to interrupt debate and move a bill forward. With the Senate split 50-50, Democrats need the support of 10 Republicans to move on to the committee’s bill, sparking new debate on whether it’s time to change the rules and d ” lowering the threshold to 51 votes to pass legislation. The Republicans’ political arguments over the violent siege – which is still brutal for many on Capitol Hill, nearly five months later – have frustrated not only Democrats, but also those who fought off the rioters. Michael Fanone, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department who responded to the attack, said between meetings with Republican senators that a commission is “necessary so that we can heal as a nation from the trauma that we all have. lived that day. Fanone described being dragged down the steps of the Capitol by rioters who shocked him with a stun gun and beat him. Sandra Garza, the girlfriend of Capitol Cop Brian Sicknick, who collapsed and died after fighting the rioters, said of the Republican senators: “You know they are here today and with their families. and at ease thanks to the actions of the police that day. “” So I don’t understand why they would have resisted getting to the bottom of what happened that day and fully understanding how to prevent it. It confuses me, “she said. Video of the riots shows two men spraying Sicknick and another officer with a chemical, but the Washington medical examiner said he suffered a stroke cerebral and that he died of natural causes. Garza attended the meetings with Sicknick’s mother, Gladys Sicknick. In a statement Wednesday, Ms. Sicknick suggested that opponents of the commission “visit my son’s grave in the National Cemetery of ‘Arlington and, while you’re at it, consider what their hurtful decisions will do to the officers who will be there for them in the future. Dozens of other police officers were injured as rioters passed them, smashing windows and doors and chasing lawmakers. Protesters built a mock gallows outside the Capitol and called for the hanging of Vice President Mike Pence, who oversaw the certification of the presidential vote. Four protesters died, including a woman who was gunned down by police as she attempted to break into the House chamber with lawmakers still inside. More than 400 people among the demonstrators were arrested. “We have a crowd that passes Capitol Hill, and we can’t get the Republicans to join us in making this event a historic record?” It’s sad, ”said Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second Democrat in the Senate. “It tells you what is wrong with the Senate and what is wrong with filibuster. Many Democrats warn that if Republicans are prepared to use filibuster to end an arguably popular measure, it shows the limits of trying to negotiate compromises, especially on bills related to electoral reforms or other aspects of the Democrats’ agenda. For now, however, Democrats do not have the votes to change the rule. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, both moderate Democrats, have said they want to preserve the filibuster. Manchin said Thursday that there was “no excuse” for Republicans to vote against the commission, but that he was “not ready to destroy our government” by removing procedural tactics. The committee also received support from government officials outside of Congress. On Thursday, four former Homeland Security Secretaries who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama – Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff, Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson – released a statement saying a commission is needed to “secure the The peaceful transfer of power in our country is never again threatened. In a last ditch effort to convince some of her fellow Republicans to save the bill, Maine Senator Susan Collins this week drafted an amendment that would ensure that staff The commission would be hired on a bipartisan basis and the expert group would be dissolved in early 2022, before the electoral cycle was fully underway. But its efforts failed to convince many colleagues. Texas Senator John Cornyn, who once backed the commission’s idea, said he now believes Democrats are trying to use it as a political tool. “I don’t think that’s the only way to get to the bottom of what happened,” Cornyn said, noting that Senate committees are also looking at the seat. Senator Mike Rounds, RS.D. , said there should be a commission, but he supports its formation once the Justice Department has completed its investigations and the 2022 elections are over. He acknowledged that the policy has taken the position into account. Anyone who thinks there is no political problem “does not share the wh ole story,” Rounds said. ___ Associated Press editors Alan Fram, Colleen Long and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report. ___ This story has been corrected to show Senator Mike Rounds is a Republican, not a Democrat. Mary Clare Jalonick and Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press



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