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'They continue to live in fear': Sen. Manchin criticizes McConnell, GOP for opposing Jan. 6 commission

The Senate could vote as early as Thursday to open debate on the measure to create the commission, which passed the House last week.
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WASHINGTON — Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Thursday criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican senators who oppose legislation to create a 9/11-style commission that would investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

“There is no excuse for any Republican to vote against this commission since Democrats have agreed to everything they asked for,” he said on Twitter, a rare statement bashing McConnell.

Manchin continued, “Mitch McConnell has made this his political position, thinking it will help his 2022 elections. They do not believe the truth will set you free, so they continue to live in fear.”

The Senate could vote as early as Thursday to begin debate on the measure, which passed the House last week, to create the commission. GOP senators are expected to block debate from moving forward as there don’t seem to be enough Republicans to join Democrats who favor the bill.

McConnell told reporters Tuesday when asked if he would support any changes to the commission, “I think that this is purely political exercise that adds nothing to the subtotal of information. It doesn’t allow anyone to get away with anything. All of these aspects of it are being dealt with it one way or another already.”

The minority leader also accused Democrats of continuing to “litigate the former president into the future.” House GOP leaders voiced their opposition to the bill ahead of their vote on the measure last week.

Republicans who reject the commission have argued that there are already existing investigations into Jan 6, when a mob of hundreds of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol to interrupt the counting of electoral votes that solidified Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election.

So far, only three Senate Republicans, Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have said that they would vote to break a filibuster of the commission bill. Democrats need at least 10 Republicans to join them in order to proceed to a floor debate.

During an event Thursday, former 9/11 commission member Tim Roemer, who served as ambassador to India under President Barack Obama and as a member of Congress, and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, also a former GOP senator, emphasized why the Senate should support the Jan. 6 commission.

“This is not about left or right,” Roemer said. “It's about right and wrong. It was wrong for people to violently attack and assault, our police officers, our legislators and custodians and staff to disrupt a peaceful transfer of power, plain wrong.”