'Open-air cover-up': Experts weigh in on 'major fact witness' Kevin McCarthy's opposition to January 6 commission

'Open-air cover-up': Experts weigh in on 'major fact witness' Kevin McCarthy's opposition to January 6 commission
US Capitol Grounds East Plaza off First Street and East Capitol Street, Washington DC on Wednesday afternoon, 6 January 2021 by Elvert Barnes Photography

House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy once supported a January 6 commission to investigate what happened on the day of the insurrection, what led up to it, and why. How could thousands of people storm Capitol Hill, and at least hundreds breach the halls of Congress in an attempted coup as lawmakers met to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities to certify the results of a free and fair election?

Last week McCarthy threw cold water on a bipartisan agreement for a bill that would create the group. Now, on Tuesday, he has announced he opposes a commission entirely.

That's quite a turnabout, given his prior stance, the reported screaming phone call he had with then-President Donald Trump during the attack on the Capitol, his speech on the House floor after the insurrection, and his now-revoked claim that Trump bore responsibility for the riot.

Republican lawmakers in the House last week lied about the insurrection, with one claiming "there was no insurrection," and another insisting it looked like a normal tourist visit. The GOP's goal: make Americans believe it did not happen.

A January 6 commission would do the opposite of that.

"Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the Speaker's shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation," McCarthy said in a statement. "The renewed focus by Democrats to now stand up an additional commission ignores the political violence that has struck American cities, a Republican Congressional baseball practice, and, most recently, the deadly attack on Capitol Police on April 2, 2021."

Republicans have tried to equate the nationwide, almost entirely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests with the Capitol coup, hoping to use the commission as a political tool to attack Democrats.

"Of course" McCarthy opposes the commission, HuffPost Senior politics reporter Jennifer Bendery says. "Trump's lies about election fraud fueled a violent mob — and GOPers like McCarthy echoed those lies for months."

"Don't forget McCarthy amplified Trump's lies more than just about anyone," she adds. "After Biden won, on Fox News: 'Trump won this election. Everyone who's listening: Do not be quiet. Do not be silent about this. We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes.'"

Attorney and former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa adds:

Other journalists, legal experts, and political commentators are also weighing in, sharing why they believe McCarthy has done a complete turnaround. Many are suggesting his opposition to the commission is because he bears some responsibility for the events on January 6.

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