After months of back-and-forth, members of the House announced plans Friday for a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The deal was announced by House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and ranking member John Katko, R-N.Y., and is modeled by the bipartisan Congressional investigation that took place after 9/11.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday the bill could come to the House floor “as soon as next week.” Pelosi first announced plans for a commission in February.
The commission vote will likely be followed by a vote on emergency funding to bolster security at the Capitol.
The bill includes some concessions to Republicans and would comprise 10 members split evenly between both parties. It also ensures members can only issue subpoenas in a bipartisan manner — they can be issued by a majority vote or by agreement between the chair and vice chair. Democrats would choose the chair and Republicans the vice chair.
House Republican Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy didn’t say whether he’d sign off on the bill Friday morning. “I haven’t read all the way through it yet,” the California Republican told reporters. But Democrats could proceed without his backing as several other House Republicans, including those who voted to impeach former President Trump, are expected to back it.
McCarthy said the commission would need to look at “what came up before and what came up after” the attack. He said it was “very concerning” to him that the investigation not be made political.
Rep. Liz Cheney, who this week was ousted from her No. 3 leadership spot over repeated condemnations of former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that the 2020 election was rigged, applauded the commission and called on her colleagues to pass the bill with “no delay.”
Meanwhile, two GOP members of the House wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding more oversight of the prosecutions against Capitol rioters. “According to reports, more than 400 individuals have been charged with violations of federal law in connections with the Capitol events but we in Congress have little information about how the Department of Justice is handling these cases,” Reps. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Thomas Massie, R-Ky., wrote in a letter obtained exclusively by Fox News.
“Those that damaged property and assaulted police officers on January 6th should rightfully face justice. However, the public outcry and hyperpoliticization of the events on January 6th may incentivize prosecutors to use overly aggressive tactics, overcharge, and the abuse of power of the federal government in order to satisfy favored political groups,” they continued.
The lawmakers said they had seen reports of assistant U.S. attorneys having to get approval from the political appointees Department of Justice before entering into plea deals. They said they’d also seen reports of “heavily armed teams of federal agents bursting into family homes to arrest individuals with no history of likelihood or violence.”
They asked Garland to provide a briefing to Congress on whether standard DOJ procedures are being followed with prosecutorial discretion for assistant U.S. attorneys, who is approving plea agreements and whether plea agreements are “more severe” for Jan. 6 cases than for “similar” cases, such as those involving officer assault in Portland riots, and whether “appropriate force” is being used to arrest suspects.
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