Support Grows for 9/11-Style Commission to Probe US Capitol Breach

February 14, 2021 Updated: February 15, 2021

Several lawmakers have indicated in separate television appearances that they support the idea of establishing a 9/11-style commission to probe the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.

One of these lawmakers, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), said on Sunday that he believes such a commission is necessary in order to unearth “all the evidence” surrounding the incident.

“I do think that we need to spend months and months unearthing all the evidence that can possibly be gotten to through a 9/11-style commission,” Coons told ABC’s “This Week.”

Similarly, his Democratic colleagues in the House, Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) shared a similar view when appearing on ABC News’ “This Week.”

“Of course, there must be a full commission and impartial commission, not guided by politics, but filled with people who would stand up to the courage of their conviction,” Dean said.

Members on the other side of the aisle have also expressed similar support for such a commission. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) also appeared on ABC News on Sunday, where he said “a complete investigation about what happened on Jan. 6” is necessary.

“I think there should be a complete investigation about what happened on Jan. 6. Why was there not more law enforcement, National Guard already mobilized, what was known, who knew it, and when they knew it … all that, because that builds the basis so this never happens again in the future,” Cassidy said. The Lousiana senator was one of the seven Republicans to find Trump “guilty” of “inciting” the Jan. 6 breach.

Meanwhile, on Fox News, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also said a 9/11 commission was necessary to “find out what happened and make sure it never happens again.”

The independent, bipartisan 9-11 Commission was set up in 2002 to prepare a complete account of the circumstances surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It was established with the aim to provide recommendations that could guard against future attacks.

Bipartisan Policy Center, a D.C.-based think tank, on Friday sent a letter to the White House calling on President Joe Biden to convene such a commission in an attempt to uncover the “truth of what happened that day.” The letter was penned by the heads of the 9/11 commission—chair Tom Kean and vice-chair Lee Hamilton.

“An investigation should establish a single narrative and set of facts to identify how the Capitol was left vulnerable, as well as corrective actions to make the institution safe again,” the pair wrote (pdf).

The support adds to calls from lawmakers who have sought investigations to determine the circumstances surrounding the Capitol breach after they were forced to evacuate or shelter in place on Jan. 6. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had previously vowed to hold a “painstaking investigation and thorough review” of the incident. Meanwhile, four House committees have already opened a joint investigation.

The Jan. 6 incident was at the center of the Senate impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump, in which Democrats and several Republican lawmakers attempted to pin the blame for the violence on the former president.

The Senate on Saturday ultimately voted 57-43 to acquit Trump on the impeachment charge that he “incited” the Jan. 6 breach. Sixty-seven votes were needed to convict.

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