McConnell says Pelosi commission proposal to investigate Jan. 6 has 'partisan slant,' won't be 'legitimate'
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday attacked the proposal from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for a 1/6 commission, alleging that her framework would make the inquiry partisan and illegitimate in the eyes of the American people.
Lawmakers are still swapping proposals for the commission. But it's been revealed that Pelosi, D-Calif., proposed a commission that would have seven members appointed by Democrats and four appointed by Republicans. The commission would have subpoena power under the Pelosi proposal, but the GOP-appointed members would not have a say in that process.
"An inquiry with a hard-wired partisan slant would never be legitimate in the eyes of the American people," McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor Wednesday. "An undertaking that is uneven or unjust would not help our country."
McConnell's comments are some of the most high-profile yet highlighting GOP gripes over the Pelosi proposal, which they say departs from the idea of the 9/11 commission, which was split evenly along party lines.
"She cites the precedent of the 9/11 commission But her draft bill fails to track with that precedent in key ways," McConnell said. "The 50-50 bipartisan split of the commissioners was a key feature to both help the effectiveness of the investigation itself and help give the whole country confidence in its work and recommendations."
This mirrored GOP comments from earlier in the day.
"Speaker Pelosi is doing it all wrong," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said. "First, it's not bipartisan, 7-4. Secondly, they don’t allow subpoena power for the minority and majority to work together … it has to be equal 50-50"
Added Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas: "I think we need a 9/11 type commission but it shouldn't be a partisan commission like ... Speaker Pelosi has proposed. It ought to be evenly split, like the 9/11 Commission. We need to get to the bottom of it."
Democrats, however, have downplayed the idea that the commission is destined to be unfair or that Pelosi's proposal was unreasonable. They also emphasize that the discussions about the commission are still at an early stage.
"The speaker presented an initial framework to Leader McCarthy to get his take on how we should approach it. This is the beginning of a dialogue that ultimately will turn into a legislative product that goes through an extensive process where Democrats and Republicans will have an opportunity," House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Wednesday. "But the guiding principle remains: this should be done in a bipartisan fashion. That is our intention. And that is what I believe will ultimately occur."
Jeffries also said some Republicans have "given us no reason to be trustful of them" on the investigation into the events of Jan. 6. But he said "I don't think that's true" that any mistrust is affecting Democratic proposals on the commission.
"There are some members of House Republican leadership ... some members of the House Republican conference who have given us no reason to be trustful of them with respect to approaching this in a manner that simply allows for the commission to follow the facts," he said.
McConnell's comments lambasting Pelosi came after he went on a media tour last week slamming former President Donald Trump for his behavior after the presidential election.
"I have been outspoken and clear about the crimes that were committed here on January the 6th," he said. The minority leader added that "Everyone agrees that day’s events must occasion a serious and thorough review of the specific institutions and security procedures within Congress that proved so insufficient."
The breach of the Capitol on Jan. 6 by a pro-Trump mob followed a speech by Trump earlier in the day in which he encouraged the crowd to march to the Capitol -- including one instance when he said they should march "peacefully and patriotically."
Eventually, the mob overwhelmed the U.S. Capitol Police and breached the Capitol, forcing hundreds of lawmakers and former Vice President Mike Pence into hiding as they ransacked the building.
Trump was eventually impeached for allegedly inciting an insurrection in the Capitol riot, but was not convicted at the Senate trial earlier this month.
Fox News' Jason Donner contributed to this report.