By BENJAMIN SIEGEL, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., accused Republicans on Thursday of watering down her proposal to form an outside commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by challenging the scope of the probe — the latest indication that efforts to launch an independent inquiry could be delayed by partisanship.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Wednesday criticized Pelosi’s initial discussion draft as “partisan by design” because it would give Democrats more appointees on the panel than Republicans — a break from the 50-50 split of the 9/11 Commission lawmakers see as the model for their effort. He also took issue with the proposed focus of the panel.
“We can do something now that looks at the Capitol, or we could do something broader that looks at the full scope of political violence here in our country,” McConnell said. “We cannot land at some artificial politicized halfway point.”
On Thursday, Pelosi said the commission’s makeup could be “easily negotiated” but accused Republicans of trying to minimize the Jan. 6 attack.
“The point is the scope. If you don’t have your purpose, as to what the purpose of this is, then the rest of it is not the important part of the conversation,” she said.
Pelosi accused McConnell of taking cues on the topic from Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., the conservative who suggested this week that “fake Trump supporters” and “provocateurs” were responsible for the violence at the Capitol last month — unfounded claims repeatedly rejected by law enforcement.
“It’s about domestic terrorism, we want to solve it, and I will do anything to have it be bipartisan so it would be well received by the American people,” Pelosi said. “But if we’re talking about scope and say, ‘we’ve got to look at all mobs,’ it’s the Ron Johnson school of Jan. 6 investigations and to seeking the truth.”
The California Democrat said she was “disappointed” with McConnell’s remarks and claimed they had previously had a productive private conversation on the subject.
Pelosi’s draft included language from FBI Director Chris Wray and an intelligence threat citing the danger of domestic terrorism and extremism, and a reference to future attacks based on “false narratives,” according to a senior House Democratic aide.
In a Monday letter to the speaker, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the proposal shouldn’t predetermine the commission’s conclusions related to the riot, the aide said.
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