Support grows for Capitol riot inquiry after Trump's acquittal
(Sourced from PTI)
A day after former President Donald Trump won his second Senate impeachment trial, bipartisan support appeared to be growing for an independent September 11 style commission into the deadly insurrection that took place at the Capitol. Investigations into the riot were already planned, with Senate hearings scheduled later this month in the Senate Rules Committee.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has asked retired Army Lt., Gen. Russel Honor, to lead an immediate review of the Capitol's security process. Lawmakers from both parties signaled that even more inquiries were likely. The Senate verdict with its 57-43 majority falling 10 votes short of the two-thirds needed to convict Trump, hardly put to rest the debate about his culpability.
Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump, demanded a complete investigation. Other Republicans who voted to convict were Senators Richard Burr (North Carolina), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Nebraska), and Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania).
An independent commission along the lines of the one that investigated the September 11 attacks would probably require legislation to create. That would elevate the investigation a step higher, offering a definitive government-backed accounting of events. Pelosi has expressed support for such a commission. "A 9/11 commission is a way to ensure that the Capitol is secured," said Senator Chris Coons, D-Del.
House prosecutors who argued for Trump's conviction said they had proved their case. They railed against the Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, and others who they said were trying to have it both ways in finding Trump not guilty but also criticizing him.
A close Trump ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., voted for acquittal but acknowledged that his behavior after the election was over the top and he had some culpability for the siege at the Capitol that killed five people, including a police officer, and disrupted lawmakers' certification of Biden's White House victory. He looked forward to campaigning with Trump in the 2022 election.
The Senate acquitted Trump of a charge of incitement of insurrection after House prosecutors laid out a case that he was an inciter-in-chief who unleashed a mob by stoking a monthslong campaign of spreading debunked conspiracy theories and false violent rhetoric that the 2020 election was stolen from him. But Trump's lawyers countered it saying he did not intend to cause the violence.
His lawyers also added that the impeachment was nothing but a witch hunt designed to prevent him from serving in the office again. The conviction tally was the most bipartisan in American history but left Trump to declare victory and signal a political revival while a bitterly divided GOP bickered over its direction and his place in the party.
"It's frustrating, but the founders knew what they were doing and so we live with the system that we have," Democratic Del. Stacey Plaskett, a House prosecutor representing the Virgin Islands, said. She added, "We didn't need more witnesses. We needed more Senators with spines."
"We successfully prosecuted him and convicted him in the court of public opinion and the court of history," Rep. Jamie Raskin said. Pointing to McConnell and other Republican Senators critical of Trump but voting to acquit, he said, "They're trying to have it both ways."