Jan. 6 panel boomerang: Final hearing undercuts two key Democrat talking points
Video played during the final committee hearing showed Pelosi firmly in charge of a security apparatus she claimed didn't report to her.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
When House Democrats' Jan. 6 committee convened its investigative hearings, members proclaimed there was no need to investigate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's role because she wasn't involved in Capitol security and their end goal was to find the truth no matter where it led.
"We must confront the truth with candor, resolve, and determination," Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, declared on opening day of the public hearings.
Some Republicans, such as House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) and Rep. Rodney Davis (Ill.), House Administration Committee ranking member, have argued that Pelosi could have ordered enhanced security for the Capitol complex ahead of the planned Jan. 6, 2021 "Stop the Steal" rally but did not.
"On January 6th, the Speaker, a target of an assassination attempt that day, was no more in charge of Capitol security than Mitch McConnell was," a spokesperson for Pelosi told FactCheck.org. "This is a clear attempt to whitewash what happened on January 6th and divert blame. The Speaker believes security officials should make security decisions."
On Thursday, with what the committee proclaimed was their final public hearing, they managed to undercut both those talking points.
First, they belatedly decided to subpoena the central character in their Jan. 6 narrative, Donald Trump, an act that comes as the committee plans no further hearings and will sunset after the Christmas holidays. The compressed timeline makes it difficult to get the former president's full side of his story should he decide to testify.
Trump seized in the delay in a statement Thursday night.
“Why didn’t the Unselect Committee ask me to testify months ago? Why did they wait until the very end, the final moments of their last meeting?,” he asked. “Because the Committee is a total “BUST” that has only served to further divide our Country which, by the way, is doing very badly - A laughing stock all over the World?”
Second, the committee showed compelling video of Pelosi commanding the security apparatus of the U.S. Capitol complex as it was under siege by rioters, directing resources, calling the Pentagon and soliciting police from neighboring Virginia. The footage clearly contradicts Pelosi's earlier claim that she has nothing to do with Capitol security.
"I have no power over the Capitol Police," she said in February 2022. "Does anybody not know that?"
Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, wrote on Twitter that he thinks the video of Pelosi that was shown at Thursday's hearing amounted to a "scam."
Politifact, the fact-checking website, concluded that Pelosi does in fact have some shared responsibility for security with the Senate majority leader, because they each supervise their respective sergeant-at-arms.
"Capitol security is provided by the sergeants-at-arms, who are the chief law enforcement officers for the House and Senate, in coordination with the Capitol Police, a federal law enforcement agency," Politifact reported. "The House sergeant-at-arms reports to the speaker of the House, or Pelosi at the time of the attack. The Senate sergeant-at-arms reports to the Senate majority leader; in the days leading up to and including Jan. 6, that was Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell."
Best selling author and television host Bill O’Reilly said the committee’s work has been so partisan that it won’t have impact on Americans today or history in the future.
Here’s a quote from Bill O’Reilly from my TV show on the legacy of the January 6 committee
“As far as history is concerned, it's nothing. Nobody will remember it,” O’Reilly told Just the News. “It was obviously put into place to try to come up with something to embarrass Donald Trump or ruin Donald Trump. It has failed.”