Republicans believe that the U.S. House of Representatives majority is likely to hold, and they should immediately dissolve the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. However, this is a bad choice to make because the work of the committee is insufficient and should be allowed to go on since the American people want and need to be told the whole truth.
The committee has yet to hear from the speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who was in charge of security at the Capitol the day. She should be required to testify and asked to surrender all her documents, text messages, and phone records that relate to the Capitol protests. She surely will be willing to cooperate, as she is deeply committed to the truth and to protecting our democracy.
The committee is also advised to call Vice-President Kamala Harris for her unique view on violence in politics. She attended the Black Lives Matter event outside the White House in May 2020, just hours after rioters wounded dozens of federal police officers and forced the removal of the president to a bunker. She also called on the public to post bail for rioters in Minneapolis who, in some cases, later committed violent criminal acts.
The committee should also call Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) to discuss his knowledge of conspiracy theories and efforts to thwart elections. Schiff fabricated the “Russia collusion” theory that turned out to be false and then collaborated with a “whistleblower”—who was kept secret in order to orchestrate the impeachment process of a legitimately elected president. Schiff also sifted through the phone records of private and innocent citizens; he should be eager to provide an explanation.
There is no reason the committee shouldn’t be renewed. However, four of the current nine members have resigned from Congress: Rep Liz Cheney (R-WY) has lost her primary, Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) was removed from his district, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) was voted out, and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) is retiring. The enabling resolution, however, is in still in effect and permits the Speaker to nominate 13 members, with eight of them coming from the majority.
The incoming Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) could follow the same path as Pelosi did and select the five minority members. He could nominate Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), who Pelosi did not want, as chair and vice-chair, respectively. They could then vote for the issuance of subpoenas that could be enforced by findings of contempt of Congress as well as referrals to the Department of Justice for prosecution.
The only method Democrats might try to shut the committee down prior to the next Congress could be to issue the “final report,” which will trigger a countdown of 30 days to the end of the proceedings. But how could they issue a report without Pelosi's testimony and still consider it to be “final”? The new Congress could decide to refuse to approve the report, or pass a new enabling resolution, based on the same terms as the previous one. In the end, the future of our democracy could be dependent on the outcome.
Democrats should be confronted with exactly the same conditions that they imposed on their political adversaries. Let them determine whether they are able to withstand the conditions they claimed were fair, such as the closed-door hearings, the lack of equal representation, the invasive search of private information, the selective disclosure of information, and the biased public hearings. Take it step by step until justice is achieved and lessons have been learned.