WASHINGTON — “A disgraceful dereliction of duty.” “Practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day.”
That’s how Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell back in February described Donald Trump’s actions leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — right after he voted to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial (because the former president was no longer in office).
And that once again looks like the script for McConnell and Senate Republicans when it comes to the Senate now considering a bipartisan independent commission to examine Jan. 6: Are they really going to deny any further investigation into — or accountability of — Trump’s actions?
On a technicality? And via the first Senate filibuster of the Biden Era?
On Wednesday, the House approved the creation of a Jan. 6 commission by a 252-175 vote, with 35 House Republicans joining all Democrats in passing the bill. Those 35 Republicans in support were more than three times the number of House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January (10).
But McConnell says he’s opposed to the commission, arguing that there have already been other investigations into the Jan. 6 attack. (As we noted yesterday, there has yet to be any look into Trump’s actions after he returned to the White House that day.)
And at least one Senate Republican who voted to convict Trump back in February — retiring Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. — is against the commission, per Axios.
Ten Senate Republicans will need to join with all Democratic senators to avoid a GOP filibuster on the measure.
We get McConnell’s strategy: He’s decided to take any political heat now to avoid any future political heat arising from this commission later.
But in the process, he’s letting Trump off the hook, once again allowing the former president to slip accountability (either by exhausting his allies and the opposition, or simply by taking them hostage).
This commission shouldn’t be controversial: The top House Republican on the Homeland Security Committee negotiated it with the top Democrat.
Yet unless something changes, what McConnell and Senate Republicans are doing is capitulating to Trump — different from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s capitulation.
But it’s capitulation none the less.
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Data Download: The numbers you need to know today
The third out of four: Tonight’s Democratic gubernatorial debate in Virginia, hosted by NBC 4 Washington – with one of us serving as one of the moderators.
As early as six weeks into pregnancy: When abortions could be banned under a new Texas law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott.
54: The number of additional migrant children separated from their families whose parents have now been located by lawyers, according to a new court filing.
33,190,985: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 30,250 more than yesterday morning.)
591,878: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 572 more than yesterday morning.)
277,290,173: The number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S.
34.9 percent: The share of Americans who are fully vaccinated.
It’s debate time in Virginia
The five Democrats running for Virginia governor — former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, former state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and state Del. Lee Carter — will participate in their third debate ahead of the June 8 primaries.
Our friends at NBC 4 Washington are hosting the debate, and it’s being moderated by one of us!
The debate airs statewide beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET, but the virtual debate is being pre-taped earlier in the day.
ICYMI: What else is happening in the world
Trump is calling the New York investigation into the Trump Organization a probe “in desperate search of a crime.”
Why exactly is the New York AG teaming up with the Manhattan DA on the Trump case?
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met last night.
It’s not just Maricopa: Trump loyalists around the country are revisiting the 2020 results.
House Democrats are taking their complaints to the White House about an arms sale to Israel.
Trump critic Russell Moore is leaving the Southern Baptist Convention’s leadership.