(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A mob of supporters of then-U.S. President Donald Trump climb through a window they broke as they storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Senate began voting on Friday on whether to proceed toward a bipartisan inquiry into the deadly assault on the Capitol by Donald Trump’s supporters, a measure the former president’s fellow Republicans looked poised to block.
The proposal was expected to fall short in a mid-day vote as only a handful of Republicans have said they support it despite a torrent of criticism that they were minimizing the seriousness of the incident.
“What are you afraid of – the truth?” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor.
Democrats and some moderate Republicans had urged Republicans to back the bill creating a commission to probe the events leading up to and on Jan. 6, when hundreds of supporters of Trump, a Republican, stormed the Capitol, fighting with police, urging violence against lawmakers and delaying the formal certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.
The violence left five dead including a Capitol Police officer.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell argued that the commission would duplicate work done by other congressional committees, as well as a sweeping federal investigation that has so far has resulted in the arrests of more than 440 people.
But Republicans are also concerned that the commission, modeled on one that probed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, would focus attention on the violence and on Trump’s persistent false claims about the 2020 election well into next year’s midterm congressional election campaigns.
Just three Senate Republicans have said they will vote to allow floor consideration of the measure, which passed the House of Representatives with the support of all Democrats and one in six Republicans.
“We just can’t pretend that nothing bad happened, or that people just got too excitable. Something bad happened. And it’s important to lay that out,” Senator Lisa Murkowski, one of the three Republican supporters, told reporters late on Thursday.
With the chamber’s 47 other Republicans lining up against it, the measure is expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed for a bill to advance. Democrats back establishment of an investigative panel, and the Senate is divided 50-50 along partisan lines.
U.S. Senate begins vote on Capitol riot probe, Republicans poised to block
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