U.S. House votes to create select committee probing Capitol riot

2021-07-01 07:33:57Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The Democratic-controlled U.S. House voted mostly along party lines Wednesday to create a select committee to probe the deadly attack on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6.

The final vote was 222-190, with only two Republicans representatives, Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois joining all Democrats to back the new committee.

House Democrats, whose majority in the chamber led to a vote that impeached then President Donald Trump exactly one week after the Jan. 6 insurrection, moved to establish the select committee after legislation to create an independent bipartisan commission was blocked by Senate Republicans last month.

"We have a duty to the Constitution and to the American people to find the truth of Jan. 6, and to ensure that such an assault on our democracy can never happen again," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

The select committee is tasked with investigating and reporting on the basis of "the facts, circumstances and causes" relating to the attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters, including law enforcement agencies' preparation and the "influencing factors that fomented" the attack aimed at stopping Congress's certification of the 2020 election results.

Unlike the independent, 20-member commission that would allow each party to appoint an equal number of commissioners, the select committee will instead comprise eight members appointed by Pelosi, and three chosen by Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader.

Republicans, for their part, opposed what they believed to be an overtly partisan select committee, contending that the investigation the panel will undertake is so narrowly focused on Trump's role in what happened on Jan. 6 that it turns a blind eye to other instances of political violence, such as the 2017 shooting at a GOP lawmakers' baseball practice.

"This has been created as a partisan issue at a time when it should not be partisan. And if you're not partisan, then you include all the things that threaten us, that threaten this body, that threaten this building, and that threaten the people that work in it. Let's be serious. If you're serious, be inclusive, be complete and do the right thing," said GOP Representative Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, who was among just a few Republicans who participated in House floor debate.

Pelosi, however, has indicated that she might pick a Republican to the select committee, making the panel more bipartisan in composition while highlighting GOP split over how to deal with Trump.

Kinzinger and Cheney, the duo who broke ranks with fellow Republicans to endorse the select committee, might be Pelosi's potential choices, as both of them haven't ruled out the possibility of serving on the panel.

Kinzinger, who joined 34 of his GOP colleagues in the lower chamber in supporting the now-aborted independent Jan. 6 Commission, said prior to the vote that he would have preferred the commission, but the Democratic-dominated select committee was better than nothing after all.

"It's not my favorite option. But the point is, we can't keep pretending like Jan. 6 didn't happen. We need full accounting for it," Kinzinger told a Fox affiliate.

Cheney, another open critic of the GOP's continued embrace of Trump's unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, said "it is right to be wary of an overtly partisan inquiry," but that the select committee is "our only remaining option."

The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney was stripped of her Republican leadership role in the House in May over her repetitive public denunciation of Trump.

"Since January 6th, the courage of my party's leaders has faded. But the threat to our Republic has not. On an almost daily basis, Donald Trump repeats the same statements that provoked violence before," Cheney, a lifelong Republican vowing to continue upholding conservative values despite her purge, said in a statement. 

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