House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will launch a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, a second-choice path after an effort to establish an independent commission was thwarted by Republican opposition.
“Jan. 6 was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history, and so it is imperative that we establish the truth of that day and ensure that an attack of that kind cannot happen and that we root out the causes of it all,” Pelosi said at a press conference Thursday.
Unlike the independent commission proposal, Democrats will have control of the select committee, including its subpoena power. Select committees are created by a resolution to conduct investigations or consider specific topics.
Announcements about which lawmakers will be appointed to the select committee and details about what witnesses they may call or how they will structure their probe will come at a later date, Pelosi said.
Republicans in both the House and Senate lined up against the recent effort to establish a 9/11-style commission to investigate the insurrection. They said a commission would be duplicative of the ongoing investigative efforts by congressional committees and the Justice Department and that the scope would not be wide enough. Republicans wanted to include investigations into racial justice protests across the country in the summer of 2020.
The select committee will join numerous probes under way by FBI and other law enforcement agencies, as well as multiple congressional committee investigations.
Others are led by agency inspectors general, including the Capitol Police watchdog.
The panel, once established, will face challenges that other select committees have faced in the past. Republicans formed a select committee to investigate the 2012 attacks on U.S. personnel in Benghazi, Libya, for instance.
Republicans have already voiced skepticism of a select committee probe, saying it would be a partisan exercise. Asked about Republican participation in the panel, Pelosi said about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “I hope that Kevin will appoint responsible people to the committee.”