Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday continued his criticism of a congressional commission to look into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, calling it a "purely political exercise."
During a press conference, McConnell noted that Democrats already voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over what they said was his role in inspiring the attack — and those who have been charged with participating in the attack are set to face trial, Mediaite reported.
"So what would an additional report be about?" McConnell said.
Democrats, McConnell said, just want to keep "litigat[ing] the former president." He said the commission is a purely political exercise that adds nothing to the sum total of information."
"All of these aspects of it are being dealt with in one way or another already," McConnell said.
The House already has approved a bipartisan commission, with 35 Republicans joining with Democrats. Approval in the Senate seems far less likely, with the GOP poised to filibuster the action. Sixty votes would be needed, and the Senate is currently split 50-50 between the parties.
Still, Senate talks to create a commission have been ongoing.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin are leading the informal talks, according to two people familiar with the effort. The talks are, for now, focused on two issues that Republican senators have cited for their opposition to the House-passed legislation to create the commission — ensuring that the panel's staff is evenly split between the parties and making sure the commission's work does not spill over into the midterm election year.
Collins and Manchin have traded potential changes to the bill and have consulted with other senators as part of the effort, according to the two people and another person with knowledge of the negotiations. The three people spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private talks.
The House bill already attempts to address those two issues, requiring the Democratic-appointed chair to consult with Republicans when hiring staff, and setting an end date of Dec. 31, 2021, for the commission to issue its findings. And the commissioners would be evenly split between the parties, with five Democrats and five Republicans. But many Republicans have still said they don’t trust it will be a bipartisan effort, threatening the chances of a truly independent look at the violent attack on the Capitol by a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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