Jan. 6 select committee is the last hope against lies

5 min read
The House committee is playing for keeps against the GOP's falsehoods — that there was no insurrection, that the mob was peaceful and that the 2020 election was stolen.
The Jan. 6 House Select Committee has only just begun its work and it's already proving the great value of congressional investigations to the country.

The committee was established against the backdrop of vast gaps in our knowledge about the Capitol attack. It is a national imperative — one that all public leaders should share — to get to the bottom of what happened when thousands of rioters attempted to scuttle a fair election, threatening American democracy itself.

For the record: An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the chairman of the Jan. 6 House Select Committee. It is Bennie Thompson, not Bennie Johnson.

Except all leaders don't share that goal. Nearly the entire Republican Party attempted to scuttle any inquiry into Jan. 6's causes, and when that effort failed, the party refused to participate, hoping to demean the investigation as partisan. The only two GOP committee members, anti-Trumpers Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), defied their leaders when they accepted invitations to join the inquiry.

In its first public hearing in late July, select committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) made it clear that the group's investigative power, including subpoenas, could and would be used against members of Congress — a departure from past practices — to get the full story on Jan. 6.


A month later, Thompson sent out sweeping requests for documents from federal agencies and ordered phone and social media companies to "preserve the records" of various Republicans, including the former president, his circle and his family members, who participated in the pre-insurrection "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6 or who may have talked with the president just before, during and after the Capitol attack. Thousands of pages from government archives were turned over Sept. 9, with more to come.

Almost as soon as the committee's actions were public…
Harry Litman
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