Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

GOP’s Attempt to Block Jan. 6 Insurrection Commission Has Everything to Do With Midterm Elections

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Image credit: Blink O'Fanaye/Flickr

Olivier Knox of The Washington Post and Michigan political strategist Jeff Timmer say Republicans don’t want voters to be thinking about their complicity in the events of Jan. 6.

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GOP lawmakers are continuing their efforts to try to block the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection. House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has made numerous objections to the probe, and Senate Republicans are expected to filibuster a bipartisan bill, which would create the commission

A defendant in a trial would want the jury to be focused on anything other than their guilt, and that is what’s going on here.” — Jeff Timmer, The Lincoln Project

Many Democrats and Republicans alike say it’s because the GOP doesn’t want to be found complicit in inciting the violence, especially during the midterm elections. 

Listen: Why the GOP wants to block the commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection.


Olivier Knox is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post and anchor of the Daily 202. He says the GOP blocking this commission is, “less of a procedural argument and more of a political argument now … It’s fairly clear that Mitch McConnell is worried about the Trump brand and, in turn, the Republicans.” Knox says Republicans don’t want voters to be thinking about their complicity in the events of Jan. 6. “They want the midterms to be traditionally what they are, which is a referendum on the current president.”

Knox says Republicans will probably be able to block the commission. And he says broader concerns about minority rule haven’t stopped the GOP from exercising their powers to the fullest extent. “I don’t know if there’s anything in our political system that will check the Republican Party just because it’s not winning the popular vote.” He says this is because “They benefit from a lot of structural advantages. Unless they change rather radically, it’s working out [for them].”

Jeff Timmer is a former Michigan GOP state executive director and is now a senior adviser of the Lincoln Project. He says there are no reasons for Republicans to block the Jan. 6 commission, other than their own fears. “We need to stop talking about these objections as if they are legitimate,” he says. ”They know that if this is what voters are thinking about next November, they’re in real trouble.” Timmer says the GOP is grasping at straws to try to find logical arguments against the commission. “A defendant in a trial would want the jury to be focused on anything other than their guilt, and that is what’s going on here.” 

Timmer says the reality of the party is more severe than people realize. He says people like those who participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection are “not fringe. They’re not extremists. They’re well within the mainstream of today’s Republican Party.” He says the Republican Party as it exists right now is still very loyal to Donald Trump. “The number of Republicans who are willing to stand up to [Trump] are few and far between.”

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Nora Rhein, Detroit Today Intern

Nora Rhein works with the production team on “Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson” on 101.9 WDET. She’s very proud to be a public radio nerd.

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