Sen. Angus King: GOP Too ‘Afraid’ to Approve Jan. 6 Commission

Sen. Angus King: GOP Too 'Afraid' to Approve Jan. 6 Commission angus king speaks in hearing Senator Angus King, I-Me., speaking about the For the People Act at a hearing of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee on May 11, 2021. (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA via AP Images)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Thursday, 27 May 2021 02:45 PM

Senate Republicans who are refusing to vote to establish an independent committee to investigate the Jan. 6 events at the Capitol won't take action because they're "afraid" of what will be revealed, Sen. Angus King said Thursday.

"This is really all about Donald Trump telling them to jump, and they say 'how high,'" the Maine independent said on CNN's "New Day." "Many of the same people who were angry, who were upset, who realized what a serious matter this was when it occurred a couple of months ago are now saying, ‘Well, it wasn’t any big deal, and we don’t really need to know about it, and we’re afraid this will be a political investigation.’"

And, King added, "I kind of laugh at that. When people are moving heaven and hell to block an investigation, you've got to ask what is it they're afraid will be revealed?"

Senate Republicans are poised to quash a resolution to form the commission, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying on the Senate floor Thursday that he doesn't "believe the additional, extraneous commission that Democratic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts, or promote healing. Frankly, I do not believe it is even designed to do that."

King commented Thursday that there were 10 different investigations of the incidents in Benghazi, Libya, with the last one winding up in December 2016, just after the presidential election that year.

"Talk about, you know, using investigations for political purposes," said King. "This proposal that's coming before us today has to report by Dec. 31 of this year. It's not designed to lap over into next year or to be used as a political weapon. It's to try to get to the bottom of the most serious attack on our democracy since the Civil War and to understand what happened and why it happened and where the responsibility lies."

King also discussed the new regulations coming for pipeline operators that will require them to alert the national government in the event of cyberattacks, in the wake of the Continental Pipeline shutdown after its computers were hit with a massive ransomware demand.

"Pipelines are essential, critical infrastructure, and they need to rise to the same level that the electric grid has come up with," said Angus. "In New England, 60% of our electricity comes from gas pipelines; it comes from gas, all of which comes from pipeline. So we can do all we can to protect the grid but if the pipeline goes down, the electricity goes off. "

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