Friday, May 28, 2021
Democrats fail in the Senate
Republicans prevent Capitol Committee
The shadow of the former US President Trump is still long, most of his party comrades are apparently loyal to him. For this reason, the Democrats in the US Senate cannot find a majority for a commission of inquiry to investigate the attack on the Capitol in January.
Former US President Donald Trump’s Republicans blocked the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the storming of the Capitol on January 6th. In the Senate, the conservatives prevented the establishment of the independent body in a procedural vote. Only six of the 50 Republican senators voted together with the Democrats to clear the way for the commission. To get the necessary majority of 60 of the 100 Senators, there would have to have been at least ten Republicans.
The House of Representatives had voted in mid-May to set up a ten-person commission of inquiry, half of which were to be elected by Democrats and half Republicans. The proposed commission should, among other things, have the right to summon witnesses and request classified information. The majority of the opposition Republicans, for whom Trump still sets the tone, reject such a body.
The storming of the Capitol on January 6th had rocked the United States and is considered a black day in the history of US democracy. Radical Trump supporters had attacked the seat of Congress when the election victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election on November 3 was to be certified there.
McConnell v Commission
Five people were killed in the violence, including a police officer. Trump had previously repeated his completely unsubstantiated accusation of massive election fraud during a performance in front of supporters in Washington and urged his audience to march to the Capitol and “fight the hell out of it”. The Democrats subsequently initiated impeachment proceedings against Trump, which ultimately failed in the Senate.
The Democrats wanted to investigate the exact background of the Capitol storming with a commission of inquiry. The model was a commission formed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell spoke out against such a commission. He argued that there could be unnecessary duplication with the ongoing law enforcement investigation. The Democratic majority leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, had previously accused the Republican leadership of sabotaging the reappraisal of the attack. Behind this is the “shameful” desire to protect Trump, criticized Schumer.
According to observers, the Republicans are primarily worried about new negative headlines about Trump, which is still very popular among the grassroots – with a view to the congressional election in 2022, among other things. Some conservative politicians are already belittling the violence of January 6th . For example, the MP Andrew Clyde recently caused a stir with the statement that the scenes in the Capitol had in part looked like a “normal tourist visit”. Trump himself said there was “no threat” to parliamentarians in the attack.
The chairman of the House of Representatives, the Democrat Nancy Pelosi, had already indicated that if the Senate were blocked, she would set up a less robustly equipped investigative body for which no separate law would be required. This would mean that the majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives would be sufficient; the Senate could not block such an investigation.