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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

GOP blocks Capitol riot probe, displaying loyalty to Trump

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans blocked creation of a bipartisan panel to research the lethal Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, displaying persevering with occasion loyalty to former President Donald Trump and agency dedication to shift the political focus away from the violent revolt by his GOP supporters.

The Senate vote on Friday was 54-35 — six in need of the 60 wanted — to take up a Home-passed invoice that may have fashioned an impartial 10-member fee evenly break up between the 2 events. It got here a day after emotional appeals for the fee from police who fought the mob, the household of an officer who died and lawmakers in each events who fled Capitol chambers within the worst assault on the constructing in two centuries.

The Republicans have been principally however not completely united: Six voted with Democrats to maneuver ahead. Eleven senators — 9 Republicans and two Democrats — missed the vote, an unusually excessive variety of absentees for one of many highest-profile votes of the yr. A minimum of one of many lacking Republicans would have voted in favor of contemplating the fee, in response to his workplace.

The GOP opposition implies that questions on who ought to bear duty for the assault may proceed to be filtered by means of a partisan lens — in congressional committees — somewhat than addressed by an outdoor, impartial panel modeled after the fee that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, terror assaults.

“The investigations will occur with or with out Republicans,” declared Louisiana Sen. Invoice Cassidy, one of many Republicans who voted to maneuver ahead. “To make sure the investigations are truthful, neutral and centered on the details, Republicans have to be concerned.”

The vote was partially a GOP try to placate Trump, or keep away from his reprisals, as he has saved a agency maintain on the occasion since his defeat by Democrat Joe Biden. The previous president instructed his supporters to “struggle like hell” to overturn his defeat earlier than the siege and continues to falsely say he received the election — claims shouted by his supporters as they stormed the constructing. Trump referred to as the fee laws a “Democrat lure.”

Friday’s vote — the primary profitable use of a Senate filibuster within the Biden presidency — was emblematic of the profound distrust between the 2 events because the siege, particularly amongst Republicans, with some within the occasion downplaying the violence and defending the rioters.

The vote is also more likely to provoke Democratic stress to get rid of the filibuster, a time-honored process sometimes used to kill main laws. It requires 60 votes to maneuver forward, somewhat than a easy majority within the 100-member Senate. With the Senate evenly break up 50-50, Democrats wanted assist from 10 Republicans to maneuver to the fee invoice.

Chatting with his Republican colleagues, Senate Democratic chief Chuck Schumer mentioned after the vote they have been “making an attempt to comb the horrors of that day underneath the rug” out of “concern or fealty” to Trump. He left open the opportunity of one other vote sooner or later on establishing a bipartisan fee, declaring, “The occasions of Jan. 6 can be investigated.”

Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed that dedication, saying Democrats “will discover the reality.”

Although the invoice to type the fee handed the Home earlier this month with the assist of just about three dozen Republicans, most GOP senators mentioned they believed the bipartisan panel would finally be used in opposition to them politically. Whereas initially saying he was open to the concept, Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell turned firmly in opposition to it in current days, arguing that the panel’s investigation can be partisan regardless of the even break up amongst occasion members.

McConnell, who as soon as mentioned Trump was liable for scary the mob assault on the Capitol, mentioned dismissively of Democrats, “They’d wish to proceed to litigate the previous president, into the long run.”

Nonetheless, six in McConnell’s caucus defied him, arguing that an impartial look was wanted, and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey would have introduced the overall to seven however for a household dedication, his workplace mentioned. Along with Cassidy, the Republicans who voted to maneuver ahead have been Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Rob Portman of Ohio and Mitt Romney of Utah.

Murkowski mentioned Thursday night that she wanted to know extra about what occurred earlier than and on the day of the assault, and why.

“Fact is tough stuff, however we’ve obtained a duty to it,” she mentioned. “We simply can’t faux that nothing unhealthy occurred, or that individuals simply obtained too excitable. One thing unhealthy occurred. And it’s necessary to put that out.”

Some Republican colleagues strongly disagree, defending the rioters who supported Trump and his false insistence that the election was stolen from him. A Home Republican mentioned this month that one video of the revolt regarded like “a traditional vacationer go to.”

In actuality, the assault was the worst on the Capitol in 200 years. The protesters interrupted the certification of Biden’s win over Trump, constructed a mock gallows in entrance of the Capitol and referred to as for the hanging of Vice President Mike Pence, who was overseeing the proceedings inside. Lawmakers hid on the ground of the Home balcony because the rioters tried to interrupt in, and senators evacuated their chamber mere minutes earlier than it was ransacked.

4 of the protesters died that day, together with a lady who was shot and killed by police as she tried to interrupt into the Home chamber. Dozens of law enforcement officials have been injured, and two took their very own lives within the days afterward.

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick collapsed and died after partaking with the rioters, and video confirmed two males spraying Sicknick and one other officer with a chemical. The Washington health worker mentioned he suffered a stroke and died from pure causes.

Senate Democrats angrily questioned how the Republicans may vote in opposition to an impartial investigation.

“An revolt with out penalties — with out even a correct investigation — is a costume rehearsal for an additional revolt,” mentioned Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in Congress. “When the Capitol police, who defend us with their lives, ask for this fee, we’re ingrates to refuse.”

The Republicans’ political arguments over the violent siege — which continues to be uncooked for a lot of within the Capitol, nearly 5 months later — have annoyed not solely the Democrats and a few of their Republican colleagues but in addition those that fought off the rioters. Sicknick’s mom, girlfriend and two law enforcement officials who battled the rioters alongside him went workplace to workplace and requested Republicans to assist the fee.

Michael Fanone, a Metropolitan Police Division officer who responded to the assault, joined Sicknick’s household on Capitol Hill Thursday. In between conferences with Republican senators, he mentioned a fee is “vital for us to heal as a nation from the trauma that all of us skilled that day.” Fanone has described being dragged down the Capitol steps by rioters who shocked him with a stun gun and beat him.

Sicknick’s mom, Gladys Sicknick, instructed those that opposed the panel go to her son’s grave.

In interview on CNN after the vote, she requested of the Republicans: “What sort of nation do they need?”

___

Related Press writers Alan Fram, Colleen Lengthy and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.

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