Republicans really, really do not want an investigation into the coup attempt

Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images

After former President Donald Trump's speedy — and painfully inevitable — acquittal to conclude his second impeachment trial, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed to create a congressional commission to "investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the Jan. 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex." The commission, similar to one empaneled to investigate the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, would require approval from both chambers of Congress, and would be comprised of non-elected appointees named by congressional leaders and President Biden, per an initial draft of the committee structure obtained by CNN.

That arrangement, which would give the Democrats (you know, the party that has the majority in the House and the Senate and currently occupies the White House) a majority of the appointments, has predictably run in to opposition from congressional Republicans, who appear to be working to weaken the commission in as many ways as possible.

"A commission should follow the guidance of [9/11 commissioners] Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton to be 'both independent and bipartisan,'" House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement earlier this month, adding that "to preserve that integrity it must be evenly split between both parties."

But conservative efforts to scuttle the commission's effectiveness aren't limited to quibbling about who gets to be a part of the investigation. As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear this week when he rejected the Democratic proposal, he'd like to turn the entire commission into a lukewarm exercise in "both sides"-ism.

"If Congress is going to attempt some broader analysis of toxic political violence across this country then in that case, we cannot have artificial cherry-picking of which terrible behavior does and does not deserve scrutiny," McConnell said in the Senate on Wednesday. As Politico noted in its coverage of McConnell's statements, this is transparently an effort to fold in GOP criticism of the social justice protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year. Politico called this "throwing cold water" on the Democratic plan, but actually it's worse than that: It's holding it hostage in order to water it down into an overly broad example of false equivalency.

If Democrats want to have a commission to study the pre-planned insurrection fueled by the president of the United States himself, then McConnell is going to do his damndest to make sure they also investigate ... racial justice protests that sprung up after police killed an unarmed Black man who may have tried to pass a fake $20 bill? And with only so much time and effort and energy to go around, well, if the research into the Jan. 6 insurrection isn't quite as thorough or deeply parsed as it could have been ... oh well!

I leave it to you, reader, to answer for yourself why you think congressional GOP leadership wouldn't be thrilled at the prospect of an outside, independent commission looking into the GOP-led insurrection to help overturn the 2020 election in favor of the GOP. I have some theories, but I'd hate to bias your reasoning.