House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy sent a quite apparent signal to Democrats — and the country — on Monday: He has zero interest in getting to the bottom of what really happened (and why) when the US Capitol was stormed by rioters convinced by former President Donald Trump that the 2020 election had been stolen from him.
McCarthy made that crystal clear in the five Republican members of Congress he put forth for the House select committee formed to investigate the Capitol insurrection. The five: Republicans Jim Jordan of Ohio, Jim Banks of Indiana, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas.
Of the five, three — Banks, Jordan and Nehls — voted to object to the to the 2020 Electoral College results despite the fact that there is zero evidence of any widespread voter fraud or major irregularities. Both Banks and Jordan also signed on to a Texas lawsuit aimed at invalidating votes in several key swing states, a suit that was summarily rejected by the Supreme Court.
Even without all of that, the choice of Jordan alone makes very clear what McCarthy wants out of the committee. Jordan is extremely close to Trump and has built his reputation on his willingness to be a dogged interrogator of witnesses not to mention his willingness to carry the former President’s water — as he did during Trump’s first impeachment trial.
What Jordan’s presence on the committee ensures then is that it will be a circus. Jordan will try to focus on debunked conspiracy theories about Antifa being involved in the January 6 riots. He will bully witnesses brought by Democrats to testify about their recollection of that day. He will defend Trump despite the former President’s clear involvement in inciting the January 6 crowd and his unwillingness to immediately speak out when it became clear the protests had turned violent.
In short: Jordan will muddy the waters. He will make it impossible for the average American looking to understand the insurrection to do so. He will throw anything and everything at the wall in an attempt to distract people from the underlying facts of that day.
And, not for nothing, those facts are these: A mob overwhelmed police officers and stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the Electoral College. In the process, more than 100 police officers were injured. Five people died as a result of the insurrection. And more than 500 people have now been charged for their roles in the riot that day.
Because of Republican obstruction in the Senate, the country will not get the sort of 360-degree view of what happened on January 6, how we got to that day and what we need to avoid it happening again — the sort of bipartisan report that came after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Because of McCarthy’s selections to this select committee, we will be subject to political posturing and point-scoring rather than any sort of attempt to truly address the failures of that day in the Capitol.