In fact, members of the former 9/11 Commission cited this very partisan split as the reason for their success in advising Pelosi on this year’s insurgency commission. Their willingness to take bipartisan ownership of the investigation, to no benefit to either party, helped to ensure the commission’s credibility in the public eye, they said. For a review of the January 6 riot to be credible, the former commissioners said, it must also be seen as independent and impartial, rather than a tool of either side.
A senior Democratic official warned that the two sides were still exchanging offers and nothing was final. In the Democratic discussion proposal, each of the so-called “big four” congressional leaders would appoint two members to the committee. President Joe Biden would have the option of choosing three additional members, including the president, who would have subpoena power.
According to the Pelosi proposal, the commission is expected to issue a report by the end of this year, with the group to disband 60 days after the report ends.
The 9/11 Commission was a 10-member body that included five Democrats and five Republicans. The president, former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, was appointed by then-president George W. Bush. The vice president, former Congressman Lee Hamilton, was appointed by Democratic leaders in Congress. Both told POLITICO last week that they saw their tenure as removing any extreme partisanship from the ranks of the commission, especially among the staff who ultimately conducted the investigation.
They, along with other former members of the 9/11 commission, said the subpoena power was a vital baton they only deployed once – but which proved effective in firing based on the testimony of other reluctant witnesses. Former 9/11 commissioners also said the commission should not have artificial deadlines.
One challenge that a January 6 commission would face is conflict with ongoing criminal investigations stemming from the riot. Prosecutors have indicted more than 200 participants in the Jan. 6 assault, and their cases are in an early stage, which could make it difficult to access key witnesses, especially if the commission is expected to report at the end of the day. the year.
Biden’s candidate for attorney general, Merrick Garland, said on Monday he intended to make investigating the Capitol Hill insurgency a top priority early in his term, a signal that the investigation is likely to intensify in the coming weeks.