Officially, the congressional body convening the special primetime hearing tonight is known as the “Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the Congress of the United States,” chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), views the J6 panel quite differently.
During a news conference earlier this week, Banks called it a “fraud” because “Democrats aren’t investigating January 6, that is already abundantly clear … they are trying to use this select committee as a Trojan Horse to abolish the Electoral College, to intimidate President Trump’s aides, to block him from ever appearing on the ballot again, and to prevent his supporters from participating in American democracy.”
Regardless of where you line up on the legitimacy of the J6 panel or how it has conducted its business since being convened last year, Banks laid out eight questions that must be answered if the American people are ever to have all of the relevant facts about what happened Jan. 6, 2020, as hundreds of protestors swept past U.S. Capitol Police — sometimes with their encouragement, other times in the face of lethal force — and swarmed into the Capitol.
Banks told the assembled journalists that House Republicans are continuing their own independent “ad hoc investigation” into those events. A full report from that review is now in the drafting stages and is expected to be released in the “coming weeks,” he said.
“Our goal is to answer the questions that this select committee is ignoring, questions that you’re not going to hear about during tonight’s primetime special, questions that must be answered to keep Congress and the Capitol police officers safe in the future.”
Banks then laid out those questions, including:
- How is it possible that the Capitol Police were half-staffed on January 6?
- Why were the Capitol Police under-equipped?
- Why were some officers forced to face down a riot without helmets?
- Why were the Capitol Police never trained to handle a riot, even after the riots of 2020?
- Did Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi communicate with the House Sergeant-at-Arms on January 6 or in the days leading up to the riot?
- Why didn’t the Capitol Police’s intelligence unit raise the alarm about potential violence?
- Why did the FBI deploy commandos to Quantico on January 3, with shoot-to kill-authority, but fail to send USCP a single threat assessment or intelligence bulletin?
- Was Speaker Pelosi involved in the decision to delay National Guard assistance on January 6?
That last question about Pelosi’s role in the failure to take advantage of President Donald Trump’s January 4 offer to authorize thousands of National Guard troops to supplement the Capitol Police goes to the heart of January 6.
The same question must be answered regarding District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser because she and Pelosi together had the authority to bring in those thousands of National Guardsmen that Trump authorized two days prior. Those guardsmen would have barred entry to protestors seeking to penetrate the U.S. Capitol.
The other seven questions are vitally important, but the one that must be answered in detail and in public by Nancy Pelosi is why didn’t she ask for the National Guardsmen who could have prevented the riot and in the process also avoided the many injuries to officers and protestors. And Ashli Babbitt might well be alive today, too, if Pelosi had taken Trump up on his offer.
Thompson has said repeatedly that “nobody is off-limits” when it comes to being issued subpoenas to appear before the J6 panel and answer questions. So when will the subpoena be issued to Pelosi?