Senators Johnson, Graham Support Independent Commission to Investigate Jan. 6 Breach of Capitol

January 14, 2021 Updated: January 14, 2021

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee are calling on Congress to appoint an independent panel to investigate the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.

Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that Congress should not be allowed to investigate itself and are calling for a non-partisan and independent group to find out why the Capitol was breached during the joint session of Congress.

“We are calling for an independent commission to be appointed to investigate the security failures that allowed the Capitol to be breached on January 6th resulting in five deaths,” the two Republican leaders said in a joint press statement. “While today’s announcement that the Capitol Police Inspector General will investigate is welcome. We believe we need a truly independent commission with wide latitude and authority to examine the failures by the Capitol Police leadership, House and Senate Sergeants at Arms, and the officials that oversee them.”

The Jan. 6 breach occurred after a rally attended by Trump supporters who were protesting alleged voter fraud during the presidential election. After the rally, a subgroup of protesters made their way into the Capitol building, forcing the Senate and House members to close their session as debates over the validity of Arizona’s electoral votes were taking place, temporarily stopping the electoral vote count process.

The following day, Graham said Congress should spare no expense to find out why the security breach occurred. The senators’ joint statement reiterated this point.

“The commission must be comprised of nationally recognized non-partisan security experts,” the statement reads, adding, “The commission should be established and funded in the spirit of other bipartisan commissions.”

The inspector general’s office of the Capitol Police said Wednesday it was opening a broad inquiry into security breaches connected to the attack.

“Americans understand Congress is rife with partisan disputes and turf wars,” the statement continues. “We fear that without an outside set of eyes to review the issues [that] led to January 6, the investigations will fall into the familiar territory of partisan squabbles ultimately resolving nothing.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), is leading more than 30 of her colleagues to call on the Acting House Sergeant at Arms, Acting Senate Sergeant at Arms, and United States Capitol Police to investigate why large groups of visitors were given tours at the Capitol the day before the protests.

In a letter, the lawmakers demand answers about what they called an “extremely high number of outside groups” let into the Capitol on Jan. 5.

While both Republicans and Democrats want answers to why the protestors were able to get into the Capitol building, Johnson and Graham want the independent commission to examine the Capital’s law enforcement’s failures, impartially.

Johnson and Graham concluded their statement by saying, “The U.S. Capitol is the people’s house and it belongs to the American people. We owe it to them to get to the bottom of this security failure, which was a national embarrassment. A commission is the best opportunity for us to get the answers the American people deserve.”