Nick Fandos predicted another agonizing week for McCarthy and his wretched House minority this week as Democrats push a now bipartisan bill to establish an independent commission to investigate Trump's failed coup and the domestic terrorism that manifested itself with the sacking of the Capitol on 6/1. There will also be a less controversial vote-- but still one many on the far right fringes oppose-- to harden the Capitol's defenses against future violence. Both votes appear to be likely to come on Wednesday.
McCarthy's problem is that all his and McConnell's demands-- (equal representation and subpoena power for both parties, and finishing its work before the 2022 midterms will kick in) meant to stall and ultimately thwart the establishment of an investigation-- for the structure of the commission have been met and accepted by one of his key allies, John Katko (R-NY), the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee. Punchbowl News noted this morning that "McCarthy has refused to embrace the bill and sources tell us he’s going to have to say something about it soon. Two GOP lawmakers-- Cheney and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)-- have both said that the commission would eventually subpoena McCarthy. Never mind that the commission may get stalled in the Senate. If McCarthy’s House Republican Conference stays in lock step against the commission, they’ll hand Democrats a talking point: that the GOP is not interested in figuring out what happened on Jan. 6."
Fandos reported that "Democratic leaders insist both actions are necessary to understand and respond to the full scope of the attack and the baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election that fueled it... But the votes on that bill and a $1.9 billion security spending package will also serve to drive fresh wedges through a Republican Party already battling itself over whether to call out Trump’s transgressions or continue to embrace his false statements. Moderate Republicans appear ready to break with Trump to support the creation of the commission, if not endorse Democrats’ blueprint for keeping Congress safe. But Republican leadership, desperate to refocus the party on bashing President Biden before the 2022 midterm elections, has yet to take a position, after earlier demands that any such panel look at left-wing violence unrelated to the assault."
Will this finally lead to the NY Times admitting there are no "moderate" Republicans beyond a few of the 10 outliers who voted to impeach Trump?
On State of the Union yesterday, Fred Upton (R-MI) told Dana Bash that "recent attempts by his far-right colleagues to whitewash what happened on Jan. 6 [are] 'absolutely bogus' and said his party, including its House leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, should trust the commission process. 'It’s going to be fair,' he said. 'It should get a good number of votes and yes, I do hope Kevin McCarthy supports it.'"
McCarthy has repeatedly shown that he is more interested in putting the entire episode behind him and cultivating the support of Trump, which he believes he needs to recapture control of the House next year. A decision to back the commission by McCarthy or other Republicans would almost certainly enrage the former president.
Trump, after all, remains fixated on vindicating his election claims and justifying his loss with false statements. “The Presidential Election of 2020,” he said in a statement on Saturday, “will go down as THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY!”
The debate is almost certain to churn up many of the arguments hurled last week over House Republicans’ decision to oust their No. 3, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, from party leadership because she refused to stop criticizing Trump and members of her party for their roles in the attack.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Cheney said McCarthy and her replacement as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, were complicit in Trump’s lies and risked driving American democracy into a death spiral. She argued that a commission was vital to flushing out the full extent of Trump’s campaign to undermine the election results, including anything McCarthy or other Republicans knew about it.
“I cannot imagine a more important issue than whether or not the Republican Party is going to be a party that embraces and defends the rule of law and the Constitution,” Cheney said.
Stefanik pushed back in her own appearance on Fox News, saying that Cheney was “looking backward” and that party leadership was eager to work with Mr. Trump to address “election integrity” issues with the 2020 vote.
“He’s critical to the party,” Stefanik said. “He is the leader of the Republican Party. Voters determine the leader of the Republican Party, and they continue to look to him for his vision.”
This morning, a team of Politico reporters wrote that one senior House Republican aide told them that McCarthy "was hoping that the Democrats would never agree to our requests-- that way the commission would be partisan and we can all vote no and say it’s a sham operation. Because he knows Trump is going to lose his mind" over the commission. The Politico writers urged their readers to remember the context: "The vote comes as some Republicans have started to equate what happened on Jan. 6 with regular protests, and as Cheney-- appearing Sunday on ABC’s This Week-- accused her party of trying to 'whitewash' what happened."
So... will Trump force McCarthy and Scalise to whip against Katko's deal? Reports today say McCarthy would prefer it to be a vote of conscience without any whipping for the leadership. After it passes the House this week, will 10 Republican senators join the Democrats to get through a for-sure GOP filibuster? (I can't count more than 5 or 6 max.)