Sen. Lisa Murkowski
(R-Alaska) expressed disappointment Thursday with Senate
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
(R-Ky.) for blocking a commission
to investigate the violent Jan. 6 attack
on the United States
Capitol by hundreds of Trump supporters
Murkowski took direct aim at the Kentucky
Republican in an extraordinary meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill before an expected vote on the Jan. 6 commission: that he would rather focus his party's energy
on President Joe Biden
's misdeeds to gain fodder for the 2022 midterm elections
than risk alienating former President Truman.
“To make a decision for short-term political gain at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what was in front of us on January 6
, I think we need to look at that critically; is that really what this is about, one election cycle after another?” Murkowski said.
“Or are we going to acknowledge that as a country founded on these democratic principles that we hold so dear, one of which is that we have free and fair elections... I kind of want that to last beyond just one election cycle,” she added.
Officer Eugene Goodman, who is credited with leading a rioting mob away from the Senate doors on Jan. 6, happened to be standing a few feet behind Murkowski as she spoke passionately about the need for an outside investigation
The Alaska senator, who is up for reelection next year, has been one of the most outspoken Republicans
about the Jan. 6 insurgency and Trump's role in inciting the Capitol riot
. She was one of only seven GOP
senators who voted to convict Trump over the disturbing events during his second impeachment trial
earlier this year, and she is one of only a handful of GOP votes
expected to back Trump.
Republicans are broadly opposed to forming the commission, which would be equally divided among credible experts chosen by both parties and would have equal subpoena power, arguing that it would be a partisan expedition.
But Murkowski pushed back against those claims, as well as McConnell's earlier remarks that there is "no new fact about that day that we need the Democrats
' extraneous commission to uncover."
“I need to know. I believe it is critical for the country that there be an independent evaluation.... If you want to make this an independent commission, Leader, this is your opportunity. Pick the right people
,” Murkowski said.
“I guess now we'll never know,” she added, referring to unanswered questions about the January 6 attack. “Isn't that part of the problem, that we'll never know? It'll never be resolved. It'll always be hanging out there.”