Politics

Trump’s fellow Republicans block probe of US Capitol riot

Washington, May 28 (EFE).- Republicans in the United States Senate succeeded Friday in blocking a bill to create a bipartisan independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump, which resulted in five deaths.

The sponsors needed 60 “yes” votes in the 100-seat Senate to clear a path for consideration of the draft legislation that already passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

But the final tally was 54-35, as only six Republicans broke ranks to back the measure.

A large crowd of tens of thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington at the then-president’s urging on Jan. 6, the day a joint session of Congress was being held in the nation’s capital to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Hours after a speech that day by Trump in which he once again claimed the Nov. 3 election was marred by fraud and encouraged the crowd to march to the Capitol, dozens of his supporters stormed entrances on the east and west sides of the legislative building.

The eruption of violence led to the death a Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, who died the following day after suffering two strokes in the wake of the confrontation.

Three protesters also died of natural causes, while a woman who was part of a group of people trying to storm the House chamber was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer.

Nearly 140 law enforcement personnel were injured by rioters wielding ax handles, bats, metal batons, wooden poles and hockey sticks, among other weapons, according to authorities.

Once the invaders were expelled, lawmakers reconvened on the night of Jan. 6 and certified Biden’s victory in the wee hours of Jan. 7.

Drawing on the model of the commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the bill passed two weeks ago by the House called for a 10-member panel, with the seats to be divided equally among Democratic and Republican appointees.

But the leader of the Senate Republicans, Mitch McConnell, made a “personal request” to his party colleagues to oppose the proposal.

Some Republicans said that any effort to look into the Capitol riot should also examine the activities of Black Lives Matter and Antifa during the protests against police brutality during the summer of 2020.

Democrats responded that the situations were fundamentally different because neither BLM nor Antifa stormed the Capitol.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would not rule out bringing the measure up for a vote again at a later date. In the meantime, Democrats indicated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may decide to create a select committee to proceed with the probe. EFE ssa/dr

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