In some GOP circles, it's frowned on to admit you've been vaccinated, let alone to wear a mask. In those same circles, admitting that Biden is president is bad enough, but acknowledging that it was Trump supporters who sacked the Capitol on 1/6 could be a political death sentence, at least as far as the far right fringes are concerned. And those fringes very much dominant inside the Republican Party.
There never was any action on the idea of a national commission to look into the insurrection and most right-wing media has downplayed the involvement of Trump and his supporters, so much so that most Trump voters still claim Trump had no role and many still claim it was a left-wing action to make Trump look bad.
Trump doesn't need any help looking bad-- depending on who's doing the looking of course. Writing for the Washington Post this morning, Karoun Demirjian reported that Republicans in Congress are facing sustained pressure to disavow that it was Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol.
"Initial negotiations aimed at establishing an independent commission in the style of the panel that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks," he wrote, "ran aground earlier this year after Republican leaders insisted that it scrutinize left-wing extremism-- including the amorphous antifa movement that Trump and other conservatives have blamed for fomenting violence in D.C. and other cities-- alongside the far-right and white nationalist groups suspected of having planned or encouraged the mayhem. Democrats resisted, accusing the GOP of trying to distract the public from the fact that extremist groups in the Republican base were responsible for the riot."
“We have a real dilemma on our hands,” said Norm Ornstein, an emeritus scholar with the American Enterprise Institute and a longtime observer of Republican congressional dynamics. “The political imperative at this point is to discredit any investigation, to deny any ties either to Donald Trump or to the members of Congress . . . who either helped to plan the [riot] or helped to incite it.”
In the meantime, the congressional panels attempting to probe the law enforcement failures that allowed the chaos to spiral out of control, and the domestic extremist movements suspected of plotting the most egregious violence, are falling victim to familiar political dynamics.
In recent weeks, public hearings held by the House Judiciary and Armed Services committees have devolved into shouting matches, as GOP members accuse Democrats of ignoring threats from the far left, while Democrats accuse them of equivocating to distract from the fact that far-right extremists have become an active force in the Republican Party.
In the meantime, none of the Democrat-led House panels investigating aspects of the insurrection has made demonstrable headway in documenting contributing factors and assigning blame for the abundant failures that allowed the Capitol to be overrun. None, aside from the House Appropriations Committee, has held hearings with any current or former law enforcement or military officials responsible for coordinating security in D.C. ahead of the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” rally that set off the riot on Jan. 6 and for then reinforcing the Capitol once it was overrun.
Last week, one influential Republican decried the approach taken thus far.
“We’ve skipped a step,” Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), the House Administration Committee’s ranking minority-party member, complained Thursday as the panel spoke to Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton in the panel’s first public hearing into the events surrounding the insurrection. “This committee has not heard from anybody involved in the decision-making process.”
Other House panels tasked to investigate the riot have not held hearings with any government officials at all, relying instead on the testimony of outside academics and advocates.
The halting start in the House is perhaps more glaring when compared to the pace of activity in the courts and in other corners of the Capitol.
On Friday, the Justice Department announced it had secured its first guilty plea in cases brought over the Capitol breach, from a founding member of the far-right Oath Keepers group who also agreed to cooperate with investigators against others. Prosecutors have charged more than 400 people in connection with the attack.
In the Senate, a two-panel investigation has already held public hearings with leading police, National Guard and Justice Department officials, and the sergeants at arms responsible for riot-response plans. The Senate Rules and Homeland Security committees are expected to release a report of their findings and conclusions by next month.
SUNDAY NIGHT BONUS: So Who Should Be Embarrassed?
According to NY Times national exit polls, this are percentages of various demographic groups that voted for Trump last November
voters under 30- 36%
first-time voters- 32%
people with a post-graduate degree- 37%
LGBTQ voters- 27%
people in unions or with union members in their household- 40%
self-identified liberals- 10%
people with a favorable opinion of BLM- 20%
people who feel the criminal justice system treats black people unfairly- 17%
people who think global warming is a serious problem- 29%
people who believe in women's Choice- 24%
people with neither a favorable view of Trump or Biden 52%