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Tag: jan 6 commission

Are We Ever Going To Hold Anyone Accountable In America?

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

America has an accountability problem. In fact, if the Covid-19 disaster, the January 6th Capitol attack, and the Trump years are any indication, the American lexicon has essentially dispensed with the term "accountability."

This should come as no surprise. After all, there's nothing particularly new about this. In the Bush years, those who created a system of indefinite offshore detention at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, those who implemented a CIA global torture program and the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance policy,not to mention those who purposely took us to war based on lies about nonexistentIraqi weapons of mass destruction, were neither dismissed, sanctioned, nor punished in any way for obvious violations of the law. Nor has Congress passed significant legislation of any kind to ensure that all-encompassing abuses like these will not happen again.

Now, early in the Biden era, any determination to hold American officials responsible for such past wrongdoing, even the president who helped launch an assault on the Capitol, seems little more than a fantasy. It may be something to discuss, rail against, or even make promises about, but not actually reckon with — not if you're either a deeply divided Congress or a Department of Justice that has compromised itself repeatedly in recent years. Under other circumstances, of course, those would be the two primary institutions with the power to pursue genuine accountability in any meaningful way for extreme and potentially illegal government acts.

Today, if thought about at all, accountability — whether in the form of punishment for misdeeds or meaningful reform — has been reduced to a talking point. With that in mind, let's take a moment to consider the Biden administration's approach to accountability so far.

How We Got Here

Even before Donald Trump entered the Oval Office, the country was already genuinely averse to accountability. When President Obama took office in January 2009, he faced the legacy of the George W. Bush administration's egregious disregard for laws and norms in its extralegal post-9/11 war on terror. From day one of his presidency, Obama made clear that he found his predecessor's policies unacceptable by both acknowledging and denouncing those crimes. But he insisted that they belonged to the past.

Fearing that the pursuit of punishment would involve potentially ugly encounters with former officials and would seem like political retribution in a country increasingly divided and on edge, he clearly decided that it wouldn't be worth the effort. Ultimately, as he said about "interrogations, detentions, and so forth," it was best for the nation to "look forward, as opposed to looking backward."

True to the president's word, the Obama administration refused to hold former officials responsible for violations of fundamental constitutional and legal issues. Among those who escaped retrospective accountability were Vice President Dick Cheney, who orchestrated the invasion of Saddam Hussein's Iraq based on lies; the lawyer in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, John Yoo, who, in his infamous "Torture Memos," justified the "enhanced interrogation" of war-on-terror prisoners; and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who created a Bermuda triangle of injustice at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. In terms of reform, Obama did ensure a degree of meaningful change, including decreeing an official end to the CIA torture of prisoners of war. But too much of what had happened remained unaddressed and lay in wait for abuse at the hands of some irresponsible future president.

As a result, many of the sins that were at the heart of the never-ending response to the 9/11 attacks have become largely forgotten history, leaving many potential crimes unaddressed. And even more sadly, the legacy of accountability's demise only continues. Biden and his team entered office facing a brand-new list of irregularities and abuses by high-ranking officials, including President Trump.

In this case, the main events demanding accountability had occurred on the domestic front. The January 6th insurrection, the egregious mishandling of the pandemic, the interference in the 2020 presidential election, and the use of the Department of Justice for political ends all awaited investigation after inauguration day. At the outset, the new government dutifully promised that some form of accountability would indeed be forthcoming. On January 15th, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she planned to convene an independent commission to thoroughly investigate the Capitol riots, later pledging to look into the "facts and causes" of that assault on Congress.

As a nominee for Attorney General, Merrick Garland similarly promised, "If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6th." Meanwhile, signaling some appetite for holding his predecessor accountable, during the presidential campaign, Joe Biden had already ruled out the possibility of extending a pardon to Donald Trump. In that way, he ensured that, were he elected, numerous court cases against the president and his Trump Organization would be open to prosecution — even, as Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, recently suggested, reviving the obstruction of justice charges that had been central to the Mueller investigation of the 2016 presidential election.

Reluctance In The Halls Of Accountability

Six months after Joe Biden took office, there has been no firm movement toward accountability by his administration. On the question of making Donald Trump and his allies answer for their misdeeds, the appetite of this administration so far seems wanting, notably, for example, when it comes to the role the president may have played in instigating the Capitol attack. Sadly, Pelosi's call for an independent commission to investigate that insurrectionary moment passed the House, but fell victim last month to the threat of a filibuster and was blocked in the Senate. (Last week, largely along party lines, the House passed a select committee to investigate the insurrection.)

Trump's disastrous mishandling of the pandemic, potentially responsible for staggering numbers of American deaths, similarly seems to have fallen into the territory of unaccountability. The partisan divisions of Congress continue to stall a Covid-19 investigation. National security expert and journalist Peter Bergen, for instance, called for a commission to address the irresponsible way the highest levels of government dealt with the pandemic, but the idea failed to gain traction. Instead, the focus has turned to the question of whether or not there was malfeasance at a Chinese government lab in Wuhan.

It matters not at all that numerous journalists, including Lawrence Wright, Michael Lewis, and Nicholson Baker, have impressively documented the mishandling of the pandemic here. Such disastrous acts included early denials of the lethality of the disease, the disavowal of pandemic preparedness plans, the dismantling of the very government office meant to respond to pandemics, the presidential promotion of quack cures, a disregard for wearing masks early on, and so much else, all of which contributed to a generally chaotic governmental response, which ultimately cost tens of thousands of lives.

In truth, a congressional investigation into either the Capitol riots or the Trump administration's mishandling of the pandemic might never have led to actual punitive accountability. After all, the 9/11 Commission, touted as the gold standard for such investigations, did nothing of the sort. While offering a reputable history of the terrorist threat that resulted in the attacks of September 11, 2001, and a full-scale summary of government missteps and lapses that led up to that moment, the 9/11 report did not take on the mission of pointing fingers and demanding accountability.

In a recent interview with former New York Times reporter Philip Shenon, whose 2008 book The Commission punctured that group's otherwise stellar reputation, Just Security editor Ryan Goodman offered this observation: "[An] important lesson from your book is the conscious tradeoff that the 9/11 Commission members made in prioritizing having a unanimous final report which sacrificed their ability to promote the interests of accountability (such as identifying and naming senior government officials whose acts or omissions were responsible for lapses in U.S. national security before the attack)."

Shenon added that the tradeoff between accountability and unanimity was acknowledged by commission staff members frustrated by the absence of what they thought should have been the report's "most important and controversial" conclusions. In other words, when it came to accountability, the 9/11 Report proved an inadequate model at best. Still, even its version of truth-telling proved too much for congressional Republicans facing a similar commission on the events of January 6th.

Note, however, that the 9/11 Commission did lead to movement along another path of accountability: reform. In its wake came certain structural changes, including a bolstering of the interagency process for sharing information and the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

No such luck today. And signs of the difficulty of facing any kind of accountability are now evident inside the Department of Justice (DOJ), too. Despite initial rhetoric to the contrary from Attorney General Merrick Garland, the department has shown little appetite for redress when it comes to those formerly in the highest posts. And that reality should bring to mind the similar reluctance of Barack Obama, the president who originally nominated Garland unsuccessfully to the Supreme Court.

For anyone keeping a scorecard of DOJ actions regarding Trump-era excesses, the record is slim indeed. While the department did, at least, abandon any possible prosecution of former National Security Advisor John Bolton for supposedly disclosing classified information in his memoir on his time in the Trump administration, Garland also announced that he would not pursue several matters that could have brought to light information about President Trump's abuse of power.

In May, for instance, the department appealed a court-ordered call for the release of the full version of a previously heavily redacted DOJ memo advising then-Attorney General Bill Barr that the evidence in the Mueller Report was "not sufficient to support a conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt that the President violated the obstruction-of-justice statutes." In fact, the Mueller Report did not exonerate Trump, as Mueller himself would later testify in Congress and as hundreds of federal prosecutors would argue in a letter written in the wake of the report's publication, saying, "Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report would… result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice."

Adding fuel to the fire of disappointment, Garland pulled back from directly assessing fault lines inside the Department of Justice when it came to its independence from partisan politics. Instead, he turned over to the DOJ inspector general any further investigation into Trump's politicization of the department.

The Path Forward — Or Not?

These are all discouraging signs, yet there's still time to strengthen our faltering democracy by reinstating the idea that abuses of power and violations of the law — from inside the White House, no less — are not to be tolerated. Even without an independent commission looking into January 6th or the DOJ prosecuting anyone, some accountability should still be possible. (After all, it was a New York State court that recently suspended Rudy Giuliani's license to practice law.)

On June 24, Nancy Pelosi announced at a news conference that a select Congressional committee, even if not an independent 9/11-style commission, would look into the Capitol attack. That committee, she added, will "establish the truth of that day and ensure that an attack of that kind cannot happen and that we root out the causes of it all." True, she didn't specify whether accountability and reform would be part of that committee's responsibilities, but neither goal is off the table.

And Pelosi's fallback plan to convene a House select committee could still have an impact. After all, remember the Watergate committee in the Nixon era. It, too, was a select committee and it launched an investigation into abuses of power in the Watergate affair that helped bring about President Nixon's resignation from office and helped spark or support court cases against many of his partners in crime. Similarly, the 1975 Church Commission investigation into the abuses of the intelligence community, among them the FBI's notorious counter-intelligence program, COINTELPRO, was also a select committee project. It led to significant barriers against future abuses — including a ban on assassinations and a host of "good government" bills.

Pelosi rightly insists that she's intent on pursuing an investigation into the Capitol attack. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler are similarly determined to investigate the government seizure of Internet communications. Local court cases against Trump, Giuliani, and others will, it appears, continue apace.

Through such efforts, perhaps the potentially shocking facts could see the light of day. Continuing such quests may lead to anything but perfect accountability, particularly in a country growing ever more partisan. Above and beyond the immediate importance of giving the public — and history — a reliable narrative of recent events, it's important to let Americans know that accountability is still a crucial part of our democracy as are the laws and norms accountability aims to protect. Otherwise, this country will have to face a new reality: that we are now living in the age of impunity.

Karen J. Greenberg, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law and author of the forthcoming Subtle Tools: The Dismantling of Democracy from the War on Terror to Donald Trump (Princeton University Press, August). Julia Tedesco helped with research for this piece.

Pelosi Announces Select Committee To Probe Jan. 6 Insurrection

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

You cannot say House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rushed this decision but now, almost a month after Senate Republicans filibustered a commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Pelosi announced that she's launching a select committee to investigate.

"This morning with great solemnity and sadness I'm announcing that the House will be establishing a select committee on the January 6th insurrection," Pelosi said.

On Tuesday, similar reports emerged that Pelosi would form a select committee, only to have Pelosi call it a "false report," with a spokesperson saying: "Speaker Pelosi told Members she plans to announce WHETHER she will create a select committee THIS WEEK. Her preference continues to be a bipartisan commission which Senate Republicans are blocking."

Senate Republicans have forced Pelosi's hand: It's a select committee, investigation by standing committees, or nothing. Pelosi and other Democrats really held out, promoting the idea of another Senate vote even though there was no reason to believe the needed Republican votes would materialize.

Following the Republican filibuster in which 35 Republican senators opposed to the creation of an independent investigatory commission defeated 48 Democrats and six Republicans in favor of it (with 11 senators not voting), Pelosi declared, "Honoring our responsibility to the Congress in which we serve and the Country which we love, Democrats will proceed to find the truth."

It's time to proceed. Past time, really.

In the effort to win Republican votes for a commission, Democrats made major concessions as to the shape the commission would have taken. They don't have to make as many concessions this time. It's a given that Republicans will try to paint anything a select committee does as a partisan witch hunt, so it might as well be an aggressive effort to find the truth as a weak tea effort to look nonpartisan. The weak tea investigation would get the same Republican treatment without the same chance of uncovering important information.

We need a select committee to find out as much as possible about how the attack on the Capitol unfolded, from the earliest planning stages to the days immediately leading up to it to the attack itself to the aftermath and any cover-up attempts. That means getting to the bottom of failures to gather and respond to intelligence about what the crowd of Trump supporters was planning, how the Capitol Police were so unprepared, and why the National Guard was delayed. It includes what Donald Trump was doing during the attack. It includes what Trump told House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has been so opposed to an investigatory commission. It includes which extremist groups were involved, and how, and how far-reaching their conspiracies were.

Federal prosecutors are at work on individual defendants and some conspiracies among the mob, but something this big can't be answered just through prosecution of the people on the scene. This was a violent effort to prevent Congress from doing its part in the peaceful transition of power, and it did not just happen organically.

Republicans have made clear that they don't want it investigated. They're engaged in an active campaign of downplaying and covering up, to the extent of 21 House Republicans voting not to award police responders the Congressional Gold Medal. Their participation in and response to a select committee to investigate has to be reported and assessed through that lens.

In Leaked Tape, Manchin Says What He Really Thinks About Filibuster

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

In a private call on Monday that was obtained by The Intercept, Joe Manchin (D-WV) talked to major political donors during a meeting organized by the group No Labels, which The Intercept describes as a big money operation co-founded by former Sen. Joe Lieberman "that funnels high-net-worth donor money to conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans."

Interestingly, Manchin seemed open to filibuster reform -- a private stance that contradicts his public one.

"The call included several billionaire investors and corporate executives, among them Louis Bacon, chief executive of Moore Capital Management; Kenneth D. Tuchman, founder of global outsourcing company TeleTech; and Howard Marks, the head of Oaktree Capital, one of the largest private equity firms in the country," write The Intercept's Lee Fang and Ryan Grim. "The Zoom participant log included a dial-in from Tudor Investment Corporation, the hedge fund founded by billionaire Paul Tudor Jones. Also present was a roster of heavy-hitting political influencers, including Republican consultant Ron Christie and Lieberman, who serves as a representative of No Labels and now advises corporate interests."

Manchin told the meeting's attendees that he needed help getting Republicans to vote in favor of a January 6 commission in order to strip the "far left" of their best argument against the filibuster.

With regard to Missouri GOP Sen. Roy Blunt, Manchin said, "Roy Blunt is a great, just a good friend of mine, a great guy."

"Roy is retiring. If some of you all who might be working with Roy in his next life could tell him, that'd be nice and it'd help our country," Manchin continued. "That would be very good to get him to change his vote. And we're going to have another vote on this thing. That'll give me one more shot at it."

Read the full report over at The Intercept.

Senate Democrats Must Kill The Filibuster Before It Kills Democracy

Have Americans still got the guts for democracy? In light of recent events in Washington, you'd have to say it's doubtful.

Last week the Senate voted 54-35 to establish an independent commission to investigate the seditious January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol—the most violent attack there since the War of 1812. The House had previously approved the measure 252-175.

If the Senate vote were a football score, you'd call a nineteen point win decisive. And yet, the measure failed to survive a Republican filibuster, a quaint Senate rule requiring a supermajority of sixty votes to become law.

Created during racial segregation and used for decades to block civil rights reforms, the filibuster is found nowhere in the U.S. Constitution. It's neither a law nor a Supreme Court ruling. It's simply a Senate custom—and an openly un-democratic one—which could be eliminated tomorrow by a simple majority vote.

The Senate is a conservative institution by definition. It gives far more power and influence to small rural states than to large, metropolitan ones where most people live. Citizens of Wyoming, population 573,000, for example, have 70 times the influence in the U.S. Senate as citizens of California, population 39.5 million.

Only major constitutional surgery can change that, so it's never going to happen. No point even talking about it.

Add the filibuster, however, and it's a recipe for legislative paralysis: to wit, a government that refuses to defend itself against violent insurrection because it might hurt Citizen Trump's feelings.

Or might put Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in a tight spot. Not to mention Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). These two heroes spoke out decisively in the immediate aftermath of the January 6 coup attempt, but now the wind has changed and they're busily hunting cover.

"If you can't get a Republican to support a nonpartisan analysis of why the Capitol was attacked for the first time since the War of 1812, then what are you holding out hope for?" asks Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

What, indeed?

Former Obama White House aide David Plouffe put it even more bluntly on Twitter: "Democracy dying so the filibuster can live would seem a terrible way for this experiment to end."

Polls have shown that a clear majority of Americans support the establishment of a January 6 Commission by 56 to 30 percent. Even 28 percent of Republicans would be interested in finding out, for example, how many of those "tours" given by right-wing congressmen on January 5 consisted of pre-riot reconnaissance? Or who gave the "stand down" order preventing the National Guard from arriving on time, and why?

Just how organized was the conspiracy that resulted in "Proud Boys" running through the halls of Congress chanting "Hang Mike Pence!" while the vice-president's security team hustled him into hiding?

Did the Proud Boys keep it a secret from their pal Roger Stone? Did he neglect to tell his pal, Donald J. Trump?
Inquiring minds want to know.

Senate Republicans, not so much.

Look, under current circumstances, 54-35 equates to a thunderous majority. Filibuster, however, equates with doing nothing, and with political cowardice.

Indeed, the filibuster is arguably more responsible than anything else for the disdain with which most Americans view Congress's congenital inability to act. That's certainly how Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) sees it.

"If they block the January 6 commission, we will have to abolish the filibuster," Markey told the Washington Post. "If the Republicans block climate action, we will have to abolish the filibuster. If Republicans block voting rights, we'll have to abolish the filibuster. If Republicans block gun control legislation, we will have to abolish the filibuster. So I think that it's just continuing to move towards the inevitability of the unavoidable necessity of repealing the filibuster."

And yet preserving the filibuster is seemingly more important to certain "moderate" Democrats—specifically Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kirsten Sinema (D-AZ)—than all of those things. See, something else the filibuster does is to enhance the power and visibility of individual Senators--one reason President Joe Biden, a 30-year Senate veteran, is himself iffy about abolition.

The argument is that the 60-vote Senate requirement somehow fosters bipartisanship, although nobody ever says how. Mostly it now fosters Manchin's televised imitations of Maine's GOP Sen. Susan Collins—routinely regretting this and deploring that, before falling quietly in line. (In fairness, Manchin and Collins both voted for the January 6 commission.)

On the day after voting to drop the filibuster, Manchin would return to being just another of 50 Democratic senators. So there's that.

Others argue that should Republicans re-take the Senate come 2022, Democrats could come to regret killing the filibuster. Could be, although does anybody think the GOP won't ditch the rule whenever it's convenient?

In the foreseeable future, there's no chance of either party securing a sixty-vote majority. The choice is between majority rule and paralysis.

Fox News Hyped Benghazi Probes— But Now Wants No Jan. 6 Inquiry

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Last week, Senate Republicans filibustered the proposal for a bipartisan commission to study the events of January 6, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to block Congress from certifying Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election.

Fox News' spin during the negotiations for the January 6 commission — condemning the small number of Republicans who supported one, denying that an insurrection had ever taken place, and even bringing back the election conspiracy theories that incited the attack — was further proof of why such a commission was needed.

But on a deeper level, it also provides a further contrast between Fox's overall efforts to sweep the insurrection under the rug on the one hand, and its relentless calls for more investigations of the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya — when the network played a key role in pushing for a congressional select committee.

At the time, Fox figures even bragged about helping with the creation of the select committee, in the wake of the network's unrelenting coverage of the 2012 attacks. But in the year 2021, network personalities like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Tammy Bruce cheer on congressional Republicans for blocking a January 6 commission.

Carlson previously declared that he was "totally for" a Benghazi committee, because he was "always interested in learning more about any mystery, and Benghazi has mysteries at the center of it." But as for a January 6 commission, he now says: "It's a complete farce. It's partisan as hell. It's fake. Don't play along with the fraud," while he also ridicules the notion of an insurrection having occurred at all.

Back in 2014, Ingraham decried how "the left is already branding this as a witch hunt" when it came to the Benghazi Committee — only to turn around seven years later and declare that the House of Representatives had just "greenlit another witch hunt, this one into the January 6 riots."

In 2013, Fox News host Sean Hannity asked rhetorically, "Why not [have] a special investigative committee" into the Benghazi attacks, with the power to call "witnesses under oath?" Then in May 2021, Hannity declared that Congress was "rehashing the events of January 6," and that it was "obvious they cannot be trusted in any way, shape, manner, or form to conduct any fair hearing whatsoever."

Hannity's guest in 2013, Rudy Giuliani, who later became former President Donald Trump's attorney, said that the public needed answers on Benghazi "in order to prevent something like this from happening in the future." In 2021, Giuliani's own lawyers now say that his speech on January 6 calling for "trial by combat" before the Capitol attack was "clearly hyperbolic." (It should also be noted that Giuliani attempted to call a Senate Republican on January 6, while the chamber was in lockdown, but left a voicemail with a wrong number in which he hoped to further slow down the certification of the presidential election.)

Back in 2014, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) implored that "all we ask for is truth and justice, and we just want to understand what really happened" in Benghazi, which was "the constitutional responsibility of Congress." But in 2021, the now-Fox News contributor said that he would not have voted for a January 6 commission if he were still in Congress.

The network has also frequently hosted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), helping to promote his stances on special investigations — both for and against. Back in 2015, when McCarthy was seeking to become speaker of the House, he infamously touted to Hannity how the Benghazi special committee was set up in order to drag down Hillary Clinton's poll ratings. Hannity gave McCarthy "credit" for accomplishing those politically -motivated investigations.

When McCarthy appeared on Ingraham's Fox prime-time show in the year 2021, however, the host dismissively stated that "the Democrats are claiming that you are covering up for insurrectionists by opposing this commission." In response to the friendly question, McCarthy protested that he was instead opposing a Democratic effort to "put a political commission" in place.

Fox's refrain years ago was that a "cover-up" was going on, what Hannity called a "lie," and a congressional investigation was the only way to find the truth. But in the wake of the network's own role in spreading a big lie and even attempting to subvert a national election result in the lead-up to a violent attack on the Capitol, covering things up is now the order of the day.

Paul Gosar Pays Homage To Dead Insurrectionist — With U-2’s Tribute To MLK

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

These days, there's a pretty crowded field in the race for "worst member of Congress," but Rep. Paul Gosar showed over the weekend why he is firmly among the top contenders. As Senate Republicans blocked the January 6 commission, the Arizona Republican got the bright idea to pay tribute to a January 6 insurrectionist.

See for yourself.

Um, Doctor? Babbitt is no hero and no patriot.

Babbitt was a retired senior airman turned pool supply company owner and full-on QAnon supporter from San Diego. In her final moments, captured by live-streamers, the 35-year-old was seen trying to climb through a broken window in the Speaker's Lobby with a mob behind her, demanding that Capitol Police officers let them through. She then yelled "Go! Go!" to two men, who hoisted her through the window. A plainclothes officer shot her, mortally wounding her. Prosecutors rightly recommended not charging the officer who shot her.

It cannot be stated enough. A member of the U.S. House of Representatives saw fit to celebrate a woman who was taking part in an illegal and unconstitutional coup attempt.

Unsurprisingly, Gosar is getting pummeled for the tweet.

The lyrics in Gosar's tweet, of course, are from U2's 1984 hit "Pride (In the Name of Love)." The song is a tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., not traitors trying to overthrow democracy.

Daily Kos Community Contributor SemDem had some choice words for the deranged dentist.

This is but a tiny sample. This is how Gosar's feed looked when I saw this garbage last night.

2021-05-2822.11.02.pngOh, the ratio.

We already knew Gosar's moral compass was severely warped, of course. This is a guy who spoke at a white supremacist gathering, and whose own role in the events leading up to the insurrection unnerved him enough that he actually tried to get his orange messiah to pardon him. But this is a staggering failure to read the room, even for him.

Gosar may think he can avoid accountability for this. After all, he represents what is easily the most Republican district in the Mountain Time Zone that doesn't cover an entire state. It has a PVI of R+22, and Trump took 68% of the vote in both of his bids.

News flash, Paul: You're not going to get away with this thumb in the nose of every officer who had to endure that day's horror. The nation knows: If the party allows people like you to be empowered, then the GOP is unfit to govern.

Sinema Roasted For Missing Vote On Jan. 6 Commission She Called ‘Critical’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is facing serious backlash for her remarks explaining the importance of the January 6 commission. While her perspective does acknowledge the need for the commission, there is one glaring reason why so many people are angry with her.

On Friday, May 28, as lawmakers were casting their vote on the initiative, Simena was not in attendance. While her office has yet to release a statement addressing the looming questions about her absence. According to Newsweek, the Senate actually voted 54 to 35 in favor of the House but the measure was also struck down because it could not gain 60 votes to beat the filibuster.

The latest follows the release of Sinema's joint statement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

"The events of January 6th were horrific. We could never have imagined an attack on Congress and our Capitol at the hands of our own citizens," the statement said.

The lawmakers expressed concern about the failed effort as Sinema, herself, admitted it was a "critical step to ensuring our nation never has to endure an attack."

"In the hours and days following the attack, Republican and Democratic members of Congress condemned the violence and vowed to hold those responsible accountable so our Democracy will never experience an attack like this again.

"A bipartisan commission to investigate the events of that day has passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote and is a critical step to ensuring our nation never has to endure an attack at the hands of our countrymen again. We implore our Senate Republican colleagues to work with us to find a path forward on a commission to examine the events of January 6th."

Sinema's remarks were quickly confronted by frustrated Twitter users who pointed out the contradictions in the Arizona lawmaker's words and actions.

One Twitter user wrote, "I am ashamed of Krysten Sinema for skipping out on the critically important vote today for the 1/6 commission. I was very active in helping her get elected to office. But, I will actively support a challenger in the future. I'm dismayed, I can't understand it. She's bad."

Sinema's office has yet to address the concerns about her absence while the vote was taking place.

Pelosi: ‘Democrats Will Proceed To Find The Truth’ About Insurrection

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Senate Republicans filibustered a bipartisan independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, with 35 Republicans able to vote down 48 Democrats and six Republicans to block the investigation from going forward (11 senators did not vote). So now Democrats turn to Plan B, most likely a select committee.

"Honoring our responsibility to the Congress in which we serve and the Country which we love, Democrats will proceed to find the truth," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday, following the Senate vote. She didn't say the words "select committee," but in the past she has suggested as much, saying last week, as the House voted on the commission, "I certainly could call for hearings in the House, with a Majority of the Members being Democrats, with full subpoena power, with the agenda being determined by the Democrats. But that's not the path we have chosen to go." At the time, she said "I don't want to" have the investigation run through a House committee controlled by Democrats, but "It's a question of if they don't want to do this, we will."

They (Republicans) didn't want to do this (establish an independent commission), so the ball is in Pelosi's court.

Democrats made huge concessions on the shape of an independent commission in an effort to win Republican votes, and got 35 House Republicans in addition to those six senators. They won't have to make so many concessions on a select committee, but Republicans will fight the entire time to have it be seen as a partisan witch hunt, no matter how far Democrats bend over backward to be fair.

The thing is, if Republicans didn't like the way an independent commission was going, they would have fought the entire time to have it be seen as a partisan witch hunt, even after appointing half of its members. That's how they operate. So Democrats shouldn't feel all that constrained by what Republicans are going to say, and should always, always answer any questions from reporters about perceived partisanship by beginning with, "Well, Republicans refused to allow a bipartisan independent investigation, so we went forward with the only option they left us." And then they can get to the specifics of the question, if they so choose.

But Democrats must—they must—press forward and find out as much as possible about how the attack on the Capitol unfolded, from the earliest planning stages to the days immediately leading up to it to the attack itself to the aftermath and any cover-up attempts. That means getting to the bottom of failures to gather and respond to intelligence about what the crowd of Trump supporters was planning, how the Capitol Police were so unprepared, and why the National Guard was delayed. It includes what Donald Trump was doing during the attack. It includes what Trump told House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has been so opposed to an investigatory commission. It includes which extremist groups were involved, and how, and how far-reaching their conspiracies were.

These questions are just the beginning of what must be answered. We saw people beating down the windows and doors of the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying an election. They were explicitly trying to disrupt the peaceful transition of power. They carried Confederate flags through the seat of the U.S. government, seriously wounded and even killed police officers trying to protect the Congress, chanted about their desire to hang the vice president, broke into the speaker of the House's office, left congressional staffers and indeed members of Congress deeply traumatized. This isn't something that can be allowed to be brushed off, as convenient as that might be for Republicans.

We. Need. To. Know. And we need the media to report the facts, not Republican accusations that Democrats are being unfair, when Republicans and Republicans alone are responsible for the fact that there is no independent commission.

"Democrats will proceed to find the truth," Pelosi said. Great. Proceed with all due haste, please.