The co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission who investigated the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are warning Speaker Nancy Pelosi that if the commission degenerates into partisanship. the final report “won’t have as much confidence from the American people. It won’t be as reliable.”
Pelosi raised alarms across Washington and the hackles of Republicans by proposing a 1/6/21 Commission with 7 Democratic members and 4 Republicans.
That would be a mistake, the leaders of the original commission, Kean and Hamilton, told Playbook. Republican voters will never accept the findings if there’s even a whiff of the investigation being driven by Democrats.
“That does not sound to me like a good start; it sounds like a partisan beginning,” Hamilton told us. Kean echoed that, warning that “unless you have equal representation … the report won’t have as much confidence from the American people. It won’t be as reliable.”
Pelosi claims the proposal was only a “discussion draft.”
And a Democrat familiar with negotiations over the commission said it’s the GOP that’s playing politics with it, dragging out the process and refusing to commit to a defined purpose for the panel.
House Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY — backed by Senate Minority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL — wants Republicans and Democrats to have the same number of picks as well as equal subpoena authority. (Both sides on the 9/11 Commission had subpoena power, though they chose to operate by majority vote.)
I can guarantee that if Republicans don’t have equal representation on the 1/6 commission — including equal subpoena powers, equal staffs, and equal opportunity to question witnesses — they will boycott it and denounce it from one end of the country to another.
The disagreement doesn’t bode well for the Jan. 6 commission. The idea behind it is to insulate the probe from politics as much as possible in hopes of painting an authoritative and final picture of what happened that day. A definitive account is critical to counter conspiracy theories some Republican voters have latched onto suggesting the riot was caused by DONALD TRUMP’S critics.
It’s reasonable to ask whether a bipartisan commission is even possible in this day and age. Kean, for one, said he’s “very concerned” that “both parties will tend to lean toward people who are partisan” to serve on the panel.
But he hopes the parties will resist that impulse.
Neither side will have to go very far in finding “people who are partisan” to sit on the commission. In fact, it’s hard to survive in today’s political climate without being highly partisan. Beyond that, the enmity between the two sides is so thick you can cut it with a knife. The riot rubbed feelings raw and the response by both sides to it hasn’t helped the cause of comity.
But these men and women are supposed to be patriots and should act in the interests of the government of the United States. Unfortunately, the two sides can’t even agree on basic facts: Who did it and why?
The 1/6 commission is a disaster waiting to happen and neither side will come out smelling very good.