House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday defended her proposal of a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, saying that the probe must focus on what she deemed “domestic terrorism,” rather than a broader scope of political violence.
“We have a domestic terrorism challenge in this country,” Pelosi said during her weekly press conference. “Domestic violence is taking more lives than international violence in this country and the biggest number since [the 1995 bombing in] Oklahoma City.”
“The biggest buckets under that category of domestic violence were white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and the other list of xenophobia, Islamophobia, et cetera,” she added.
Pelosi’s comment is part of the ongoing back-and-forth between the Democrats and Republicans on who caused the breach of Capitol and what the commission should investigate. Following the report that Democrats want the probe to include right-wing political violence beyond the Jan. 6 attack, Republicans said if that happens, they will also investigate left-wing groups who are responsible for widespread violence during riots that resulted in billions of dollars in damage and more than two dozen deaths across the country last year.
“If Congress is going to attempt some broader analysis of toxic political violence across this country,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said, “then in that case, we cannot have artificial cherry-picking of which terrible behavior does and does not deserve scrutiny.”
Pelosi also dismissed concerns voiced by Republicans that the 1/6 commission, under the Democratic plan, would consist of seven Democrats and four Republicans. McConnell on Wednesday criticized the unequal representation, arguing that the panel should have the same 50-50 bipartisan split as its precursor, the 9/11 commission established by President George W. Bush to examine the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.
“It isn’t unusual to give the president [extra appointments],” Pelosi said. According to her draft for the composition of the 1/6 commission, each of the “Big Four” congressional leaders would appoint two members, and President Joe Biden would appoint another three members, including the chair. Only the Biden appointees would have the authority to subpoena individuals and documents.
Meanwhile, former 9/11 commissioners also expressed concern about the apparent partisanship in the 1/6 commission, reported Politico.
Republican Tom Kean, the head of the 9/11 commission, told Politico that the anticipated 1/6 report “won’t have as much confidence from the American people” unless there is equal representation on the commission.
Former Indiana Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, a Democrat who vice-chaired the 9/11 commission, also spoke up: “That does not sound to me like a good start; it sounds like a partisan beginning.”