By: Stacy M. Brown/NNPA
MAGA Republican lawmakers are actively working to reshape the narrative surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Their primary objective is to absolve the twice-impeached former President Donald Trump of any blame for the attack, with a focus on redirecting scrutiny towards the House Select Committee that investigated the incident.
Prominent figures within the far-right faction of the GOP are now advocating for the establishment of a new select committee. Under the leadership of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), the lawmakers request an investigation focusing on the original commission members to clear the Republican Party’s “MAGA” wing of responsibility for the 2021 Capitol assault.
In a recent post on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Greene outlined her vision for the proposed committee. She urged Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to create a Jan. 6 Select Committee to issue subpoenas to the original commission members, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and the witnesses who testified during the initial investigation.
“I’m calling on @SpeakerJohnson to create a Jan. 6 Select Committee. Releasing the tapes is not enough! There needs to be investigations and ACCOUNTABILITY for ALL of the lies, deceit, and lives ruined,” Greene asserted in her post.
Johnson recently announced the release of thousands of hours of security footage from Jan. 6, 2021, when pro-Trump rioters attempted to disrupt the certification of President Biden’s election. The mob rushed the Capitol after a Trump rally, some with a noose in hand, and publicly called for the hanging of Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence and Pelosi. Five law enforcement officers eventually died because of the insurrection.
Despite concerns raised by Democrats and left-leaning groups about the potential security threats posed by publicizing the footage, Johnson claimed releasing the video would help with transparency.
“This decision will provide millions of Americans, criminal defendants, public interest organizations, and the media an ability to see for themselves what happened that day rather than having to rely upon the interpretation of a small group of government officials,” Johnson stated.
The House panel that previously probed the Capitol attack presented substantial evidence linking the now four-times-indicted Trump to the incident. Following the panel’s unanimous vote recommending the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate Trump for various charges, more than 1,100 individuals have been charged in connection with the insurrection. Trump now faces 91 felony charges, many of which are related to the insurrection.
In her post, Greene expressed the new committee’s goal of making similar criminal referrals. She asserted that, under a hypothetical second term for Trump, these referrals would lead to investigations by a Trump-led DOJ.
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) joined the chorus of calls for scrutiny into the handling of the Capitol attack by the House Jan. 6 Committee. Lee questioned committee members’ “selective” approach, particularly former Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), the only Republicans on the committee, after security footage was released.
“Why didn’t Liz Cheney and [Adam Kinzinger] ever refer to any of these tapes?” Lee wrote on X, suggesting that the committee may have overlooked crucial evidence favoring their narrative.
New York Democratic Rep. Joseph D. Morelle, ranking member of the House Administration Committee, condemned Johnson’s decision to release tapes, calling it “unconscionable” and threatening the safety of colleagues, staff, visitors, and the nation.
“It is unconscionable that one of Speaker Johnson’s first official acts as a steward of the institution is to endanger his colleagues, staff, visitors, and our country by allowing virtually unfettered access to sensitive Capitol security footage,” Morelle stated. “That he is doing so over the strenuous objections of the security professionals within the Capitol Police is outrageous. This is not transparency; this is dangerous and irresponsible.”
The Congressional Integrity Project (CIP) also expressed their concerns. Hannah Muldavin, a senior adviser at CIP and former spokesperson for the select committee, accused Johnson of prioritizing loyalty to the far right over national security.
“Speaker Johnson’s release of the Jan. 6 tapes is a serious security concern and shows that his allegiance like Kevin McCarthy’s before him, is to Donald Trump and the ultra-right-wing faction of the House,” Muldavin asserted. “Not only did Johnson vote against certifying the 2020 election, but he was a leader of the legal campaign to overturn it and continues to be a danger to our democracy today. The Jan. 6 Select Committee worked with U.S. Capitol Police to ensure no sensitive material was released to the public; Johnson releasing the tapes does the exact opposite.”