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Keller @ Large: Democrats Who Want Commission To Look Into Capitol Riots May Not Have Dance Partner

BOSTON (CBS) - Who cares about the story behind the story of the ugly January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol?

Solid majorities of the American public, according to polling, although there is less confidence in federal law enforcement's ability to get to the bottom of it. And while that would seem to argue for bipartisan support of a Congressional investigation, that vision is coming apart down in Washington.

Yesterday, it was the top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy, rejecting as "counter-productive" a plan agreed to by one of his own top lieutenants that creates a 10-member commission evenly divided between the two parties, with both sides getting subpoena power.

Today, it was Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell saying no to a deep dive into the unprecedented Capitol riot. "It's not at all clear what new or additional investigation yet another commission could actually lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress," he said.

Another GOP objection, that a commission should also look into violence at other events like last year's racial justice demonstrations, was touted on the House floor the other day by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Florida). "While it's catch and release for domestic terrorists, Antifa, BLM [Black Lives Matter], the people who breached the Capitol on January 6 are being abused," she said.

But Democrats say there's no comparison; that the storming of the Capitol was not just a protest, but an attack on the democratic process. "This doesn't seem to be a disagreement over substance or over policy," said House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern of Worcester. "But I do think this is an issue of character and this is an issue of fitness to lead."

With former President Trump denouncing the commission idea and warning of a "Democratic trap," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was happy to hang his Republican colleagues with Trump's lingering political baggage. "Once again, they are caving to Donald Trump and proving that the Republican Party is still drunk off the big lie," said Schumer.

The commission bill passed the House Wednesday night, 252 to 175, with all Democrats and 35 Republicans voting in favor. However, it seems sure to die in the Senate. If that's the case, House Democrats can, claiming they tried to be bi-partisan but didn't have a dance partner, simply revert to the Select Committee model the Republicans used to keep the Benghazi embassy fiasco of the mid-2010s in the headlines for 18 months.

A similar timeline would keep potentially GOP-damaging headlines percolating all next year, with a climactic report possibly emerging just in time for the 2022 midterm congressional elections. The Democrats' dream scenario; the Republicans' worst nightmare.


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