Pelosi vows to launch a Democrat-run Jan. 6 probe: ‘We can’t wait any longer’


Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday that House Democrats will move forward unilaterally to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

She said she has run out of patience waiting for a bipartisan deal for an independent probe of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol and temporarily delayed Congress‘ certification of President Biden’s election win.

“We can’t wait any longer,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “We will proceed.”

It remained unclear what form the House probe will take.

“We’ll see. To be determined,” she said when pressed for details. “When we’re ready, we will make an announcement.”

The move comes a little more than two weeks after Senate Republicans blocked the creation of a bipartisan 9/11-style commission, saying it would be a partisan hit job against Republicans and former President Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump strongly opposed the commission. He labeled it a “Democrat trap.”

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, made the announcement after a meeting with leaders of several House committees that are already conducting separate investigations into aspects of the Jan. 6 riot.

One option for a Democrat-run probe would be the creation of a select committee.

Senate Republicans who supported the creation of a bipartisan commission, which would have had equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, had argued it would avoid the type of partisan probe Mrs. Pelosi is now contemplating.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered what ended up being the death blow last week when he came out against the commission.

The Kentucky Republican said it was a “purely political” move.

Mrs. Pelosi said that whatever course the House takes, the Democratic-run committees will continue their probes.

“Whether we have a commission today, tomorrow or the next day over in the Senate, or not, the work of the committees will be very important in what we’re seeking for the American people — the truth,” said Mrs. Pelosi.

Mrs. Pelosi said she still hoped the Senate would work out a deal to create a commission, she said.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, has left open the possibility of another vote on the commission.

Meanwhile, most Republicans are making 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 Mr. Trump before and during the attack.

The hearing Tuesday in the House Oversight and Reform Committee was to examine “unexplained delays and unanswered questions” about the siege, with public testimony from FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, Gen. Charles E. Flynn and Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, the director of Army staff.

All three men were involved that day as the Capitol Police begged for backup. The National Guard did not arrive for several hours as the police were overwhelmed and brutally beaten by the rioters.

Echoing previous testimony from Defense Department leaders, Gen. Flynn and Lt. Gen. Piatt said the military needed time to develop plans for the National Guard response. Gen. Piatt insisted that he did not deny or have the authority to deny Guard help during a call with former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the New York Democrat who chairs the committee, criticized Mr. Wray for not providing documents her staff had requested and asked him if he believed the FBI should be blamed for the law enforcement failures on Jan. 6.

“Our goal is to bat 1,000 and any time there’s an attack, much less an attack as horrific and spectacular as what happened on Jan. 6, we consider that to be unacceptable,” Mr. Wray replied.

Mr. Wray at a separate hearing before the House Judiciary Committee last week stonewalled questions about whether the bureau was investigating Mr. Trump, his aides, or members of Congress for any role leading to the riot.

Seven people died during and after the rioting, including Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt who was shot and killed outside the House chamber 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.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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