House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded Thursday that the 9/11-style commission being established to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot have subpoena power, amid concerns on the right that the probe could become partisan.
“You have to have subpoena power,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during her weekly news conference when asked if the commission should be able to demand testimony from unwilling witnesses.
“There’s really strong support in the country for us to seek the truth, find the truth, but also understand how we have to protect the American people from what might be out there in terms of domestic terrorism and the rest,” the top ranking House Democrat argued.
Bipartisan calls for a 9/11-style probe intensified in recent weeks, with calls coming to a head from both Democratic and GOP lawmakers.
By Monday, Pelosi had announced the formation of a commission, telling House members in a “Dear Colleague” letter that there were still too many unanswered questions in the wake of former President Trump’s impeachment trial and initial security review by ret. Gen. Russel Honoré.
As of Wednesday, House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) has not heard from Pelosi or anyone else in Democratic leadership, he told CNN.
He had voiced his concern about the lack of outreach to the network.
“If Speaker Pelosi’s vision of a 9/11 Commission is to only stay focused on Republicans, then she is really not interested in a truly 9/11-type commission,” he told the network at the time.
Reached for comment by The Post, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill rejected the idea that the commission would be politically motivated.
“Nobody wants this to be partisan. that’s why the effort here is to follow what was done with the 9/11 commission,” he said, “And that means that the commission leaders are appointed by the four top Congressional leaders and the president.”
“It’s a model that worked before,” he continued, noting that the 9/11-commission had subpoena power.
“We agree there’s no room for partisanship in this effort,” he added, “But what we can’t have are excuses not to do something rather than reasons.”
Davis believes the commission should have a broad scope to assess what decisions were made during and before the deadly riot.
Alongside Reps. John Katko (R-NY) and James Comer (R-Ky.), the second and third-leading Republicans on the Appropriations panel, Davis has proposed a bill that would create a bipartisan commission.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) have also backed a 9/11-style commission, with Cheney saying she backs it having subpoena power.
Cheney has also said it should “be made up of retired officials from both parties.”
Reached for comment by CNN, McCarthy said of the commission, “Republicans put forward a proposal for a fact-finding commission over one month ago. It is our responsibility to understand the security and intelligence breakdowns that led to the riot on January 6 so that we can better protect this institution and the men and women working inside it.”