Published February 16, 2021
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) proposed 9/11-style commission to look into the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is an excellent idea — if, that is, it is genuinely bipartisan and looks into all of the factors that contributed to the riot, including decisions that she herself may have made.
The storming of the Capitol was one of the most deplorable and shocking events in U.S. history. Never before had a mob of Americans seized the citadel of American democracy in a fit of fury. The evidence produced at former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial that showed some intended to kill Vice President Mike Pence and Pelosi demonstrated how close the event came to being catastrophically worse. We must get to the bottom of what happened and why.
Pelosi’s proposed commission could accomplish that. The 9/11 Commission that she says this would be modeled on was genuinely bipartisan. Its five Republican and five Democratic members were distinguished former legislators and public officials whose prestige and reputations lent credibility to the investigation. It conducted months of investigations, followed the evidence where it led and produced a massive report detailing what happened and offering recommendations to prevent a similar tragedy. No such effort is immune from criticism, but the 9/11 Commission did an excellent job of putting politics behind it in pursuit of the truth.
Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.