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WSJ Opinion: Nancy Pelosi's False Truth Commission

Journal Editorial Report: The proposed January 6 investigation is too partisan. Image: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Video Transcript

- Pushback from Republicans this week, over a plan by Nancy Pelosi to form a commission to investigate the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, after the House Speaker floated a draft that had seven members appointed by Democrats, and just four by Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell , slamming the proposal as partisan by design.

MITCH MCCONNELL: An inquiry with a hardwired partisan slant would never be legitimate in the eyes of the American people. An undertaking that is uneven or unjust would not help our country.

- We're back with Dan Henninger, Kim Strassel, and Kyle Peterson. Kyle, I guess first of all, is a January 6th commission like this a good idea?

KYLE PETERSON: Well, I can see the argument for it, if the point is to get the facts out. There are a lot of questions that are still open about-- why the capital was so poorly protected, What the chain of command there was when backup was called, when the National Guard was called in, and how much of this stuff was preplanned. But the question, and I think it's a good question, is-- the Senate is split 50-50, and Democrats have 51% of House seats, so why should this commission be almost 2/3 Democrats?

- Well, on that point, is there enough that you don't know personally, that you'd like to know about what happened that day, along the lines of what Kyle said-- to warrant this kind of a big commission?

KIM STRASSEL: I think that there is. Again, mostly on this question of why was the capital so poorly protected, and what led up to this. Because obviously we're having a now-national discussion, in which Democrats use the word "insurrection" every day. And I think it would be good to have a bipartisan group establish some baseline facts about who was there, and what actually happened. Now, that's not what Nancy Pelosi is proposing. She seems very much more focused on getting a commission that she could use as a further cudgel to beat up on Republicans and conservatives out there in the country.

- Kim, should Donald Trump's role in this be part of such an investigation? Because, I assume, that's exactly what Democrats will want to pursue.

KIM STRASSEL: Look, I don't think that you can do an evaluation like this without talking, for instance, about the president's speech out there, because that gets to the question of whether or not some of this was preplanned. And who was actually at that speech versus who was at the Capitol, that kind of a thing. But again, the way that you make sure that you get the facts and that this entire experiment has not moved over and focused as a quote, "witch-hunt" against the president, is you make sure you have a truly bipartisan commission.

- Dan, what do you think is Nancy Pelosi's calculation here? Because if you're looking to essentially have conspiracy theories put to rest, if you're looking to have some kind of consensus about what actually did happen, it has to be credible. And a 7 to 4 partisan split is just not going to be credible.

DAN HENNINGER: Well, that makes sense to me, Paul. But I don't think it makes sense to Nancy Pelosi at all, I'm sorry to say. The Speaker has been relentlessly, I would say hopelessly, partisan the past four years. She has become obsessional about affiliating and joining Donald Trump to the Republican Party. That is what she lives for.

And she somehow has it in her head that if she can put together a commission, that associates Trump with these right wing militias, like the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and QAnon, that it will somehow send a message out into the country to average voters that they can't possibly associate themselves with Republican candidates in the midterm elections. It is patently political. Mitch McConnell is right about that. You are right, that it would not be credible.

But a lot of what she has done in the last four years hasn't been credible, and this is the course that Nancy Pelosi has set herself on. And there is no reason why Republicans should participate in an exercise like this. Though, I will say that I do think we could use an objective examination into what happened that day. We're not going to get that if Pelosi is leading it.

- Kyle, the precedent that I like, that they could follow is the Rob Silverman report, which looked into the faulty intelligence before the Iraq war. Former Democratic Senator and a Republican-appointed judge led that. They followed the facts, they didn't follow a predetermined theory, and they came out with some very credible conclusions. Is that something-- what do you think?

KYLE PETERSON: Yeah, I think that's true, and the 9/11 commission is another precedent. That's the one that Pelosi keeps raising, that was evenly split. And it was a unanimous report which gave it the credibility that you would want in something like this. The alternative president is the commission after the financial crisis, which was not evenly split, and the result of that was-- you had all the Democrats issued one report, and all the Republicans dissented, and said that the majority's report didn't get the story right. And people shrugged. What's the point of doing a commission and putting out a report like that if you're not going to have a bipartisan agreement on the story.