Trump is angry that he has no allies on the Jan. 6 committee to defend him.
He has lashed out at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for boycotting the committee.
But Trump had the chance to back a bipartisan commission, and chose to oppose it.
As the House’s January 6 committee lays out in devastating detail Donald Trump’s effort to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election, the former president is turning his anger on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
But Trump has no one but himself to blame for the situation, one of his Republican critics pointed out, as he was the one who opposed the formation of a bipartisan commission equally split between Republicans and Democrats to investigate the riot.
“Trump opposed the bipartisan commission,” Rep. Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican who voted to impeach Trump over the insurrection, told The New York Times on Wednesday. “Once again, he’s rewriting history.”
Back in early 2021, the House passed a bill to form a January 6 panel modeled on the 9/11 commission, with the Democratic caucus and 35 Republicans voting in favor. But it was blocked by a Republican filibuster in the Senate after Trump, congressional GOP leaders, and the far-right congressional Freedom Caucus opposed it.
But Republican leaders could have used the commission as an effective platform to defend Trump, or at least try and mitigate the damage.
Under commission rules, they would have been free to choose five Republicans to sit on the commission and select a Republican co-chair. Trump allies selected for the panel could’ve sought to undermine arguments by Democrats and Trump’s critics, and subject witnesses to cross examinations.
The Democratic-controlled committee, in its carefully choreographed hearings crafted by TV producers for a prime-time audience, has presented a damaging case for Trump’s guilt unopposed. It has featured shocking testimony by Capitol Police officers injured in the riot, and election officials threatened and intimidated by Trump allies.
Last July, McCarthy said he would not be selecting any Republicans to take part in the investigation after Pelosi barred two of his choices, Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. Jim Banks, over their support for Trump’s bid to overturn his 2020 defeat.
However, committee rules left McCarthy with no option but to comply with Pelosi, and select Republicans approved by her to sit on the panel or pull out of the committee altogether. He chose the latter, and the two Republicans on the current January 6 commission, Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, are vocal opponents of Trump who have been ostracized by much of the GOP.
The timing of the hearings is also damaging to Trump.
If he’d backed a bipartisan commission, it would’ve had to present its findings by the end of 2021. Instead, the House committee has timed the rollout of its hearings to damage Trump ahead of the 2022 midterms, and remind voters of Republican culpability for the riot.