Schumer: Senate Report 'Strengthened Argument' For Jan. 6 Commission

Republicans successfully used the filibuster to block House-approved legislation to create an independent commission on the Capitol riot last month.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that huge gaps in a report released earlier in the day on January’s Capitol riot has “strengthened the argument” for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the events, which Senate Republicans have blocked.

The new report “hardly” made “any reference to the actual cause ― the actual impetus ― of the attack,” Schumer said. “With the exception of a brief reference to former President Trump’s remarks at the ellipse, Senate Republicans insisted that the report exclude anything having to do with the cause of the insurrection.”

“If anything,” he said, the report “has strengthened the argument for an independent commission on January the 6th.”

The bipartisan report authored by the Senate’s Homeland Security and Rules committees laid out the events of Jan. 6 in the greatest detail to date. But it still came up short on answers to key questions, such as why it took so long for authorities to mobilize. The report’s authors concluded that “no one could explain why [the D.C. National Guard] did not deploy until after 5:00 p.m.,” when a mob of rioters had breached law enforcement barricades and broken into the Capitol around three hours earlier to disrupt official certification of President Joe Biden’s election win.

Included in the report is more complete information about what law enforcement knew about the potential for violence that day from social media posts and maps of the Capitol complex’s tunnel systems posted online.

Multiple organizations ― including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security ― failed to fully comply with requests for information, the report notes.

A pro-Trump mob breaks into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C.
A pro-Trump mob breaks into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C.
Win McNamee via Getty Images

Schumer said that he “reserves the right to bring legislation for an independent bipartisan commission to the Senate floor for another vote.” He said the same thing in a letter to colleagues shortly before Memorial Day, noting only that he would do so “at the appropriate time.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) remarked Tuesday that he would continue to oppose the commission because he felt currently available information to be sufficient.

“Today’s report is one of the many reasons I’m confident in the abilities of the existing investigations to uncover all actionable facts about the events of January 6,” McConnell said. “I’ll continue to support these efforts over any that seek to politicize the process, and I would urge my colleagues to do the same.”

Last month, led by McConnell, Republicans successfully prevented the chamber from taking up House-passed legislation that would authorize an independent commission ― the first use of the filibuster in Biden’s presidency. The Republicans did so despite emotional pleas from some of the officers who fought back against the mob and while ignoring negotiations that had taken place between Republicans and Democratic leadership.

The partisan move has heaped pressure on Biden and Democratic leadership to quash the filibuster. But advocates face an uphill battle, as one key holdout, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), recommitted to opposing to the anti-filibuster movement this week.

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