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Pelosi says Capitol riot commission must have subpoena power

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaking with attendees at a Trump Tax Town Hall hosted by Tax March at Events on Jackson in Phoenix, Arizona, Feb. 20, 2018. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
February 19, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted Thursday that subpoena power should be granted to the commission forming this week to investigate the January 6 violent demonstration on Capitol Hill.  

“You have to have subpoena power,” Pelosi said during a press conference. “There’s really strong support in the country for us to seek the truth, find the truth, but also understand how we have to protect the American people from what might be out there in terms of domestic terrorism and the rest.”

On Monday, Pelosi announced the establishment of the commission in a letter to her colleagues, asserting that “we must get to the truth of how (the Capitol breach) happened.”

“To protect our security, our security, our security, our next step will be to establish an outside, independent 9/11-type Commission to ‘investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the January 6, 2021 domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex… and relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power, including facts and causes relating to the preparedness and response of the United States Capitol Police and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement in the National Capitol Region.”

According to the letter, an initial security review was conducted by Retired General Russel Honoré.

In the letter released on Presidents’ Day, Pelosi said “supplemental appropriation” would be needed to provide Members and the Capitol with security before adding, “As we go forward, we must be worthy of the courage and wisdom of the patriarch of our country, George Washington, and the savior of our country, Abraham Lincoln.”

House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rodney Davis, a Republican from Illinois, told CNN that he had not heard from the speaker or Democrat leadership as of Wednesday.

“If Speaker Pelosi’s vision of a 9/11 Commission is to only stay focused on Republicans, then she is really not interested in a truly 9/11-type commission,” he said.

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told the New York Post that the commission would not be partisan, noting that the commission’s leaders will be appointed by the top four congressional leaders and the president.

“Nobody wants this to be partisan. that’s why the effort here is to follow what was done with the 9/11 commission,” he said, “And that means that the commission leaders are appointed by the four top Congressional leaders and the president.”

“We agree there’s no room for partisanship in this effort,” he added, “But what we can’t have are excuses not to do something rather than reasons.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told CNN that Republicans recommended a fact-finding commission over a month ago.

“It is our responsibility to understand the security and intelligence breakdowns that led to the riot on January 6 so that we can better protect this institution and the men and women working inside it,” McCarthy said.