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Jules Witcover, syndicated columnist

WASHINGTON – Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s idea of ​​an independent House committee re-examining the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol is a useful way to divert public debate about former President Donald Trump’s conduct from our speech daily politics.

Such a committee, made up of citizens outside Congress or party affiliation, can drain much of the partisan and ideological venom from any public dialogue involving Trump fuel.

As the commission moves forward under an impartial chairmanship that has yet to be appointed, President Joe Biden and his new administration will be able to more easily focus on his agenda to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its economic ramifications.

In his proposal, Pelosi called the insurgency a “national terrorist attack on the United States Capitol,” reminiscent of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Indeed, Pelosi’s idea for the commission is modeled on the National Commission. bipartite on terrorist attacks. In the United States, aka the 9/11 Commission, which examined in detail al-Qaida’s assault on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. This commission, chaired by former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean, recommended various improvements in national defense. President Biden has already endorsed the idea.

Such a new body would obviously focus on the lack of preparedness on Capitol Hill on January 6, when National Guard forces had to be called in late to supplement the overwhelmed police at the U.S. Capitol and five people were killed in the melee of the crowd.

Trump has been widely criticized for inciting rioters with a speech from outside the White House, calling on them to march to Capitol Hill and “fight like hell” against impending Electoral College confirmation of victory of Joe Biden in the November 3 election. Trump told the crowd he would march with them but returned to the White House and watched the violence unfold on television.

Pelosi, calling the committee, asked Democratic members of the House to consider enabling legislation that would investigate and report on the assault and provide funds to improve security on Capitol Hill. She appointed retired Army General Russel Honoré to recommend further action, as it was already “clear from her findings and the impeachment trial that we are most coming to the truth about how this is happening. ‘is produced’.

From this comment it also seems clear that Pelosi is looking to the commission as yet another way to keep fire on the former president as he strives to remain a political force in the Republican Party and in the country. after his defeat.

Surprisingly enough, one of Trump’s strongest supporters of the GOP, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said earlier on Fox News: “We need a 9/11 commission to find out what happened and ensure that it does not happen again. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, told ABC News, “I think there should be a full investigation into what happened on January 6. Why wasn’t there more law enforcement, National Guard already mobilized, what did we know, who knew it, and when did he know it? All of this, because it forms the basis for it never to happen again in the future.

One of the House Democratic directors in the impeachment trial, Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, said, “Of course there has to be a full commission, not guided by politics, but filled with people who would resist the courage of their condemnation, like (Sen.) Cassidy.

Thus, Donald Trump must undergo another round of in-depth inspection in the final days of his presidency, in which once again he demonstrated why he was impeached a second time, but managed to survive and contemplate the possibility of a return to power later.

Editor’s Note: Jules Witcover’s latest book is “The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power”, published by Smithsonian Books. You can respond to this column on juleswitcovercomcast.net.

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