Riot on Capitol Hill: GOP leaders split in Jan 6 inquiry, but Republican # 2 predicts Senate will pass bill ‘in one form or another’
But Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, said he assumed the bill to create the independent inquiry will pass “with quite a large margin” in the House. “So my assumption at one point is that this is done here in one form or another.”
Thune also seemed willing to keep the investigation mainly focused on what happened on January 6. “I think, and again, I’m just reacting to that report on what the House did, but I think it has to be mostly focused on what happened on the sixth.”
The bill, due to pass the House this week, would require the bipartisan committee to report on its findings by the end of the year, examining both the attack on Capitol Hill and the “factors of influence ”underlying it.
But not all Republican leaders are on the same page.
“I don’t know why you would tie their hands if they want to pursue another connection,” said Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican and member of the leadership. “I mean, I would be surprised if anything they find out about January 6 fully developed that day. So I wouldn’t tie my hands.”
Asked what “influencing factors” the commission would investigate, Cornyn also seemed skeptical.
“Why can’t they just follow the evidence where it leads?” Cornyn said.
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, the top Republican on the Senate Rules Committee, was even more reluctant to have a commission.
“My point of view has been, and continues to be, that there isn’t much we’re going to find out on January 6 in terms of making decisions here with the Capitol Police and the Police Commission. which we don’t already know, and I think the commission will slow down making those decisions, ”he said.
Blunt added: “I doubt there’s much value in there, and I’m absolutely sure it will slow down doing what we need to do now on Capitol Hill security issues.”
But Representative John Katko, a New York Republican who helped draft bipartisan legislation to create the Jan.6 commission, told CNN that investigators would have the discretion to look into the Black Lives Matter protests and the Antifa violence if they chose to go that route. .
“It’s subject to interpretation by the commission,” Katko said when asked if they could look into these issues. He added that although the bill has “some flexibility”, the probe must be “relative to January 6”.
The reassurance of Katko, who briefed his GOP colleagues on the bill, could help convince some GOP skeptics who believe the investigation should also include a look at left-wing violence. The bill is expected to pass in the House on Wednesday, although House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and his senior lieutenants have yet to take a position on it. GOP leaders have indicated that they will not whip their colleagues for taking a certain position on the bill.
Asked whether McCarthy was not yet supporting the bill, Katko said, “Everyone has their own choice. It’s not a big deal.”
When asked if he thought McCarthy should testify before the commission about his conversations with former President Donald Trump on Jan.6, Katko replied, “It depends on the commission. are both parties. Both parties must come to an agreement. “
Once it passes the House, however, supporters of the measure will have to convince enough Republican senators. And GOP Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Monday he believes the scope needs to be broadened in order to get 60 votes in the Senate.
“I would rather expand it because there is more stuff wrong with this country than what happened on January 6,” Grassley said.
Republicans are also uncertain about their support for the funding.
Asked about the security spending package, Thune said Republicans had yet to consider it.
“I think there was some hesitation here about that, at least initially, but we’ll see,” Thune said. “At this point, I don’t know if there is, you know, anyone who still has some tough and quick positions here.
This story was updated with additional developments on Monday.
CNN’s Jeremy Herb and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.