June 21, 2021

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Even some Republicans are baffled Mitch McConnell made sinking the Jan. 6 commission ‘a personal favor’

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Senate Republicans are expected to enjoy their first successful filibuster of the Biden administration on Friday, sinking an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection already approved in the House with the support of 35 Republicans. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) worked hard over the past two days to get 10 Republican votes, proposing changes to satisfy the stated concerns of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but it appears McConnell has the votes.

McConnell started personally pressuring his GOP colleagues to oppose the commission over the past 24 hours, CNN reported Thursday, citing two Republicans. One of the Republican said McConnell made the request as “a personal favor” to him. “No one can understand why Mitch is going to this extreme of asking for a ‘personal favor’ to kill the commission,” the Republican said.

Publicly, McConnell and his allies argue that the nonpartisan commission is unnecessary, given the congressional committees looking into the assault on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump as Congress was certifying the victory of President Biden. But McConnell and his leadership team privately believe “the case they’ve made to their members has taken hold: That the commission would be used for political gain by Democrats and would undercut GOP efforts to take back the majority in both the House and the Senate,” CNN reports.

Senate moderates are sad, furious, or both. “Is that really what this is about, that everything is just one election cycle after another?” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) asked Thursday. “I don’t want to know” what happened Jan. 6, she said. “But I need to know. And I think it’s important for the country that there be an independent evaluation.”

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) was more blunt. “Jesus, it’s a nonpartisan investigation of what happened,” he said. “And if it’s because they’re afraid of Trump then they need to get out of office. It’s bulls–t. You make tough decisions in this office or you shouldn’t be here.”

“It would be so much better if we had an independent outside commission,” Collins said. “The most likely outcome, sadly, is probably the Democratic leaders will appoint a select committee. We’ll have a partisan investigation. It won’t have credibility with people like me, but the press will cover it because that’s what’s going on.”

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