'It's disgraceful': An officer denounces the GOP's Capitol riot denialism — and commission plans move forward

'It's disgraceful': An officer denounces the GOP's Capitol riot denialism — and commission plans move forward
Image via Screengrab.

On Friday, Democrat Rep. Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi announced an agreement for a bipartisan committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building — an agreement reached with Republican Rep. John Katko of New York State. Liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent applauds this "surprising bit of good news" in his column, but he also laments the fact that there are still many disingenuous Republicans who are determined to "obscure" the horrifying events of January 6.

"Predictably, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) immediately said he hadn't agreed to the deal," Sargent notes. "What's still unclear is how many Republicans will support it. The bill will pass in the Democratic-controlled House, but it will also need GOP support in the Senate, since it could theoretically be filibustered."

Sargent explains why Thomson and Katko's proposal is a positive development, writing, "Perhaps the most important thing is that it focuses the scope of the commission on 'the facts and causes' related to the January 6 attack and to 'the interference with the peaceful transfer of power.' It will also look at the 'influencing factors' that 'fomented' this attack. Importantly, it describes January 6 as a 'domestic terrorist attack' waged against 'American representative democracy.' That counters the GOP whitewash effort by framing the mission around the need to explore the deep radicalization that led to an effort to overthrow U.S. democracy itself."

Sargent laments, however, that Republicans who want to "whitewash" the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol and the events that led up to it are not hard to find. The columnist calls out Rep. Rep. Andrew S. Clyde of Georgia for comparing the invasion of the Capitol by violent far-right extremists to a "normal tourist visit," and he slams Republicans who want to downplay the terrorist threat posed by the far right.

Republicans, Sargent writes, "wanted the commission to also look at allegedly widespread leftist violence, including protests against police brutality. Their aim was to bury the role of right-wing radicalization in driving us into crisis, and the active efforts by President Donald Trump and Republicans to feed and exploit that radicalization."

Sargent notes that Michael Fanone, a Capitol Police officer who experienced the Capitol insurrection first-hand, called out Republicans who are downplaying the violence when he appeared on CNN this week. An angry Fanone told CNN, "Those are lies. And peddling that bullshit is an assault on every officer that fought to defend the Capitol. It's disgraceful."

According to Sargent, House Democrats need to "hold a vote on" the commission "right away" because that "could put Republicans on the defensive."

"The bottom line is this: Broadly speaking, Republicans want to bury some fundamental truths," Sargent writes. "Many of them actually did go all in with Trump's effort to overturn the election. They actually did sustain his lies about our political system's ability to render legitimate democratic outcomes. That deception campaign actually did help inspire the deadly mob violence. Trump actually did incite that violence for the express purpose of disrupting the peaceful transfer of power."

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