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U.S. Republicans clash over Jan 6 panel as Senate debate looms

WorldMay 23, 2021 02:26PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A mob of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. Picture taken January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo 2/2

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. Congress clashed on Sunday over the need for an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, with one lawmaker warning that failure to create the panel could plague the party's election prospects in 2022 and beyond.

A measure to establish the commission passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives last week with support from 35 Republicans. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he opposes the bill, which the Senate is expected to debate this week.

"I believe Republicans in the Senate will decide that it's too early to create that commission," Senator Roy Blunt, a member of McConnell's leadership team, told the television program "Fox News Sunday."

Like McConnell, Blunt contends that ongoing probes by two Senate committees are sufficient to settle questions about Capitol security. Others say a commission is necessary to examine whether Trump took action to stop the violence as it unfolded.

"Is the priority to secure the Capitol, to do what we need to do to better train, better prepare Capitol Police, decide what we want to do in the future?" Blunt asked. "Or is the priority to take what will be a couple of years, in my view, to decide what happened inside the White House?"

His comments added to doubts about whether Senate Democrats can find support from 10 Republicans needed to advance the measure. In the 50-50 Senate, most bills require 60 votes for passage.

But Republican Senator Susan Collins, one of seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict Trump in February, said she believes the commission bill can move forward with changes to ensure bipartisan staffing and a year-end end date.

"I'm optimistic that we can get past these issues," Collins said on ABC's "This Week" program. "I strongly support the creation of an independent commission."

Republicans worry the commission would keep public attention on violence at the Capitol and could reveal new details about Trump's handling of the emergency that might sour voters on Republican candidates in the 2022 midterm elections.

Some claim falsely that the violence was due not to Trump supporters but to Black Lives Matter demonstrators or antifa activists trying to make Trump look bad.

Representative Adam Kinzinger warned that failure to establish a commission could lead to worse consequences for Republicans.

"What's going to happen if this thing fails is that (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi will run a select committee and this could go all the way to 2024," Kinzinger, a Republican who backed the commission and voted to impeach Trump, told "Fox News Sunday."

"This is going to the 2022 midterms anyway, particularly if us as Republicans don't take ownership for what happened," Kinzinger said.

U.S. Republicans clash over Jan 6 panel as Senate debate looms
 

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Comments (5)
Angus Malarkey
Angus Malarkey May 23, 2021 7:53PM ET
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The demise of the current GOP would be the best thing for the USA.
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood May 23, 2021 5:36PM ET
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Wokist fascist freaks gotta go..
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi May 23, 2021 5:36PM ET
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yeah, Trump supporters really should stop calling for boycotts of NFL/NBA/MLB/NASCAR and leave us to watch sports in peace.......
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood May 23, 2021 5:36PM ET
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Tre Hsi  You don't even make sense..
Steve Lora
Steve Lora May 23, 2021 4:12PM ET
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Only thing that is going to clash are Democrats in the next midterms
Alan Rice
Alan Rice May 23, 2021 2:31PM ET
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Time to move on Congress.
danny Levine
danny Levine May 23, 2021 2:17PM ET
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gop is dead without Trump
Steve Lora
Steve Lora May 23, 2021 2:17PM ET
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Trump has rallies scheduled already. The Democrats couldn't keep stadiums closed forever
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi May 23, 2021 2:17PM ET
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Steve Lora  how did that Tulsa rally turned out back in last June?
 
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