Back on Planet Give A Damn, however, House Democratic leaders still have to decide how best to fill out the committee given the presumption that House Republicans will continue their attempts to sabotage investigations of January 6 no matter what Democrats do. One possibility is just to continue without any Republican-backed members, because screw ’em. Another possibility is for Pelosi to appoint Republican members herself, over Republican Party objections. Pelosi already assigned Republican Rep. Liz Cheney to the committee as one of her own picks; adding new appointments wouldn’t be difficult in principle.
Towards that end, Pelosi is reportedly considering adding Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a move that is getting good reviews but which hinges on Kinzinger being willing to withstand what would assuredly soon become a Republican attempt to purge him from the party outright rather than abide by his supposed treachery. Any Republicans named to the committee would find themselves where Rep. Liz Cheney found herself after she condemned House Republican attempts to claim a “stolen” election: They’d be shunned, possibly stripped of other committee assignments, and face stiff primary opposition from pro-Trump true believers who are willing to lie to their base about stolen elections, Italian satellite-launched conspiracies, or whatever else pops up in their Facebook feeds.
Would others in the Republican Party stand up for those appointed Republicans? Anybody at all? Well, Moderate Mitt Romney is pretty much the “boldest” non-insurrectionist you can find among Washington Republicans these days, being particularly pissed off at coming within a few moments of being captured by the rioting crowd, and if you’re looking towards the Mitt Romneys of the party for anything but the most milquetoast possible backup you’re probably gonna want to keep looking.
The heart of the problem is that we already know most of what there is to know about January 6. Furious about the November election results, Trump and his allies concocted countless false claims as to why he didn’t really lose, and Joe Biden didn’t really win. It culminated in a Trump-promoted “March” on the Capitol organized to precisely match up with what Trump believed the last chance to overturn the election would be: The counting of the electoral votes by a joint session of Congress. Claims that the election was “stolen” or “rigged” were promoted by a majority of Republican lawmakers, inflaming the crowd of militia members and other violence-minded Trump supporters into the belief that storming the building to halt the count was a patriotic thing to do. It immediately turned violent, both rioters and police officers died, and the same Republicans who raised fists towards the insurrection-minded crowd before the event claimed afterwards that nobody could have foreseen the crowd doing what Trump and his allies had organized the crowd to do in the first place: Overturn his election loss by any means available.
What’s left to learn is the details that explain how things ended up this way. Why was the Capitol conspicuously unguarded from a mob that included known pro-insurrection militia groups? To what extent did Trump allies orchestrate the “March” in advance, and with who? Did anyone in Congress provide the insurrectionists with intelligence or assistance?
The problem for Republicans is that people like Trump ally and rejected McCarthy pick Jim Jordan might very much want to sabotage probes of January 6, but that is because they gave their support to the insurrectionist crowd. They’re not jurors. They’re the witnesses, and in some cases, accomplices:
So the sedition-provoking Jim Jordan in particular can pound sand on this one, and if House Republicans can’t find even five members who do not have intimate connections to the criminal acts they’re supposed to be investigating then that inability should be taken as evidence of widespread complicity, rather than a failure of “bipartisanship.” Bipartisanship does not require seating those that goaded violent insurrection next to those that opposed it so that the two sides can half-ass their way to a conclusion as to whether a violent attempt to overthrow the United States government was a bad thing.
It’s likely not possible to find five House Republicans who both opposed the propaganda campaign directly leading to the January 6 violence and who are now willing to stomach the targeted retaliation of their entire party for investigating that violence now. But that’s on House Republicans, not on anyone else. The American public need answers on how a propaganda campaign discrediting the election spiraled into violence bent on overturning that election, and it needs to happen whether the perpetrators agree to participate or not.