“Federal law enforcement have made at least 445 arrests and counting relating to crimes committed that day. Hundreds of those people have been charged. Law enforcement investigations are ongoing and federal authorities say they expect to arrest at least 100 or so more.
“Bipartisan investigations are also already underway, and have been for months, at the committee level in the Senate.
“So there is … there have been … and there will continue to be no shortage of robust investigations by two separate branches of the federal government.
“It’s not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could lay on top of the existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress.”
Pretty simple argument, right? There are already two investigations happening. Why do we need a third?
And McConnell is right that both the Justice Department and Congress are examining aspects of what happened on January 6.
“Investigators quickly nabbed the ‘low-hanging fruit’ rioters who brazenly posted about their exploits online. Some of the rioters even turned themselves in. But investigators also went through the painstaking process of examining tens of thousands of hours of video to identify the pro-Trump rioters allegedly responsible for the most vicious attacks against police officers.”
So McConnell’s not wrong when he says there are ongoing investigations. He’s just being disingenuous.
The Justice Department investigation is focused exclusively on bringing criminal charges against individuals involved in the insurrection. They are poring over tape of the riot, scouring social media and working to match faces who stormed the Capitol that day with names and addresses. Which is a very worthy endeavor!
What DOJ and the Senate are looking at are pieces of what happened on January 6. Yes, Justice will continue to arrest people they are able to identify as having broken the law on January 6. And, yes, the joint Senate investigation will produce a report that likely details a number of breakdowns and failures in regards law enforcement at the Capitol that led to police being overwhelmed by rioters.
McConnell, of course, knows exactly what he is doing here. His opposition to a January 6 commission modeled on the 9/11 commission isn’t because it would be “duplicative.” It’s because McConnell knows that a fulsome investigation of January 6 — as well as the run-up to the day and its aftermath — would put Trump’s actions (and inaction) front and center for the public to examine. And that’s political poison for a Republican Party desperately trying to win back the majorities in the House and Senate they lost under Trump.
And so, McConnell wants nothing to do with a 1/6 commission. And because he retains almost-complete control over the Republican Senate conference, the commission vote will fail on Thursday. But don’t be fooled: This has zero to do with McConnell’s concerns about too many investigations and everything to do with 2022 politics.