McConnell said Senate GOP ‘undecided’ on commission to investigate Jan. 6 Capitol siege. 8 Senate Republicans voted against certifying the election after the attack.

Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks after a GOP policy luncheon on Capitol Hill.

  • Sen. McConnell said the Senate GOP is “undecided” on whether to back a commission to probe the Capitol siege.
  • The House is set to vote on a bill to establish a commission to probe the Jan. 6 riots.
  • Eight GOP senators voted to overturn the election even after the insurrection.
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the Senate Republicans are “undecided” on whether to support a committee to look into the Capitol riots.

The House is set to vote on a Democratic lawmaker-backed bill to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the events that transpired on January 6, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol as lawmakers were voting to certify the results of the 2020 election.

Even after the January 6 siege on the Capitol, 147 GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate voted to overturn the election, including eight senators, who backed challenges to certifying Arizona and Pennsylvania’s electors:

  • Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas – Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri – Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama – Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas – Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi – Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana – Arizona
  • Sen. Rick Scott of Florida – Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming – Pennsylvania

If approved by the House – which it is poised to do given the Democratic party majority – the bill goes to the Senate to confirm the commission. At least 10 Republican senators must support the bill for it to pass. McConnell said members of his caucus want to “read the fine print” of the legislation.

Read more: Joe Biden’s made-for-TV inauguration celebration was bankrolled by dozens of corporations who do business with government

“I think I’m safe in characterizing our conference as willing to listen to the arguments about whether such a commission is needed,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday.

House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy pushed against the commission, describing the nature of the probe as “duplicative and potentially counterproductive.”

“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 on Tuesday.

McConnell’s remarks came after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged to “put the Jan. 6 commission legislation on the floor of the Senate for a vote,” regardless of GOP opposition to the commission.

“Republicans can let their constituents know: Are they on the side of truth or do they want to cover up for the insurrectionists and for Donald Trump?” he said Tuesday.

McConnell said the Senate GOP will “react accordingly” should the legislation reach the Senate floor.

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This is what Mitch gets for trying to have it both ways with Donald Trump

Trump McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell listens to President Donald Trump talks to reporters while hosting Republican congressional leaders and members of Trump’s cabinet in the Oval Office at the White House July 20, 2020, in Washington, DC.

  • Oh, Mitch McConnell you sweet summer child.
  • You thought you could please Trump’s base by acquitting him and also please your donors by blasting him.
  • Now Trump is slamming Mitch and promising to back primary rivals to GOP establishment candidates.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

In his attempt to both keep the GOP voter base happy and keep the GOP donor class happy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted to acquit former President Trump for inciting the January 6 riots. Then he blasted Trump for his behavior in a speech following the vote.

This is called having your cake and eating it too. Historically, this never works, especially not with someone like Donald Trump. In a statement on Tuesday, Trump fired back at McConnell, calling the Kentucky Republican a “dour, sullen, unsmiling political hack.” The now-private citizen vowed to support Trumpy primary opponents against GOP establishment candidates who sided with McConnell. In other words, this means war.

This might have been the most obvious turn of events in American politics. Donald Trump has a history of viciously turning on people who fall even a little bit out of line. You’re either with him 100% or you’re an enemy. He turned on former Attorney General Jeff Sessions because Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia, as ethically he was bound to do.

And then there’s Michael Cohen, Trump’s most loyal adviser and attorney. When Cohen got in legal trouble for paying adult actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about her affair with Trump, Trump tried to destroy Cohen.

There are more: DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson… the list goes on.

Yet with all this history, McConnell thought that he could deviate from Trump’s line – blasting him for inciting the January 6 riots, while still allowing Trump to keep the spectre of another presidential run hanging over the GOP. This was supposed to keep the hardcore Trump voters excited and on the Republican bandwagon while letting the donor class know the GOP hasn’t completely lost its mind. But that doesn’t work for Trump.

I mean, just look at this Mean Girls stuff:

 

For a minute there, I lost myself.

Trump is vindictive, but he is also lazy. So it’s quite possible that McConnell could’ve saved himself a lot of heartache if he had just voted to convict Trump and barred him from running for office in the future. Trump may have found the work of politics too taxing without the prospect of another stint in the White House. 

But no, like any coward, it appears McConnell wanted someone – anyone– to take care of the GOP’s Trump problem but him. 

Now, even if Trump doesn’t run for President in 2024, the mere prospect of him running gives him sway over the party. It will excite the base. He’ll hold rallies. He’ll be a kingmaker. And, most important for him of all, he’ll raise lots of money that could be going to the GOP and their actual candidates instead.

McConnell’s caucus has got to be despondent. Trump just raised a lot of money, and to the extent that he can’t use it on himself, he will use it to cause pain to people he dislikes. Menwhile, the Senate has a number of presidential hopefuls waiting in the wings, and the prospect of having to choose sides in a war between winning back the suburban voters who abandoned the party in droves or driving out the Trump base is not great for their chances at the White House. 

Because remember, Donald Trump is a loser. He lost the 2020 presidential election by 6 million votes. He contributed to the loss of not one but two GOP Senate seats in the state of Georgia making McConnell the Minority – not Majority – Leader of the Senate.

And as the GOP decides whether or not it has more respect for Rep. Liz Cheney, or conspiracy theory addled Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, President Biden is presenting his agenda to the American people and speeding up our national coronavirus vaccination program more and more every day.

Mitch McConnell and the GOP are really going to need that donor money now.

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