After a months-long stalemate over the size and scope of the panel, lawmakers announced Friday a deal
to form a bipartisan commission
in the style of 9/11 to investigate the violent Jan. 6 attack
on the United States Capitol
by hundreds of Donald Trump supporters
The agreement, negotiated by Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.), calls for Congress
to establish a 10-member commission, with five members appointed by Democrats
and five by Republicans
, with “significant expertise in the areas of law enforcement, civil rights
, civil liberties, privacy, intelligence, and cybersecurity.” The commissioners must have “significant expertise in the areas of law enforcement, civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, intelligence, and cybersecurity,” and cannot currently hold
The panel would be tasked with investigating the circumstances of the Jan. 6 attack as well as “the influencing factors that may have provoked” it. Subpoenas issued by the commissioners would require the approval of both the chair and vice-chair of the panel, and the commission would issue a final report by the end of the year.
However, in a sign that the commission may not be finalized, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
(R-Calif.) told reporters that he hadn't seen the agreement and had not signed off on it.
“Then you can’t do that,” McCarthy said on Friday, when told the commission’s sole focus appears to be on the events of January 6
. “That’s very concerning to me.”
McCarthy, a close ally of former President Donald Trump
, has pushed for the commission to look into unrelated racial justice
protests from the previous year, and he may end up being the target of the commission itself: on Jan. 6, as Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, McCarthy phoned Trump and begged him to call the protests off.
Democrats will almost certainly have the votes
to pass the Thompson-Katko agreement in the House as soon as next week, but with McCarthy already expressing reservations, it is unclear whether his Republican colleagues in the Senate
will follow suit.
Both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
(R-Ky.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) have stated that focusing on January 6 would be too narrow, and that the investigation should be left to Congressional committees that have already held hearings on the January 6 attack.
“If there was one, it would only be another 12 months or so before we did the things that we need to figure out how to do right now, which are a better intel structure, a better decision-making structure, more training, and more [police
] recruitment,” Blunt said last month.