When the House created the Jan. 6 committee, Republican leaders were invited to recommend a slate to participate in the investigation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, had the final call on whether or not they qualified to serve on the select panel.
That power proved important: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy picked five members, two of whom were rejected for being anti-election radicals. GOP leaders quickly announced a boycott of the committee, which proved to be problematic for all sorts of reasons.
But the Republican quintet — Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, and Troy Nehls of Texas — continued to take an interest in the investigation, despite watching it unfold from afar, and yesterday the group even took the unusual step of releasing a report.
Politico reported yesterday that the document is largely an underwhelming effort to blame congressional Democratic leaders for the pro-Trump attack on the Capitol.
The GOP report primarily consists of long-public information about debates within the Capitol Police and among security officials about how to prepare for Jan. 6.
The cover of the document describes it as a “report of investigation,” which is a bit of a stretch. No meaningful investigation took place among the five Republicans who were on the outside looking in as the actual Jan. 6 committee did real work.
More important, of course, is the contents of the GOP findings, which were striking in their inanity. As these Republicans see it, Donald Trump bore no responsibility at all for the insurrectionist riot.
A Roll Call report added, “The report also blamed Democratic leadership’s concerns over ‘optics’ of calling the National Guard to the Capitol for a delay in their arrival. However, the report cited no evidence for that claim.”
Politico’s Kyle Cheney went on to note that the Republicans’ document “omits crucial, widely known evidence, and distorts some of its key findings in ways that aren’t backed up by evidence.”
Stepping back, let’s not forget that it was a year and a half ago when McCarthy pulled the plug on participating in the real Jan. 6 investigation. Soon after, assorted GOP leaders and their allies set out to find facts that would exonerate Trump and cast the attack in a more flattering light for the right.
Nearly 18 months later, as the real Jan. 6 committee produces devastating findings, it appears Republicans just couldn’t come up with much.
As for the former president’s claim that he wanted to deploy thousands of troops to protect the Capitol — a defense Trump has pushed repeatedly for months — the five Republicans responsible for this report didn’t bother to even mention it in their document. That’s how foolish the argument is.