Sens. Graham, Johnson Call for Independent Commission to Probe Capitol Riot

Sens. Graham, Johnson Call for Independent Commission to Probe Capitol Riot protesters hold trump 2020 signs with tear gas in the air. A group of protesters suffer the effects of tear gas dispersed by police after storming the grounds of the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 13 January 2021 09:33 PM

Two prominent Republican senators have called for Congress to appoint an independent commission to investigate the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., called for a panel to look into the "massive security failures" at the Capitol on Jan. 6, per The Hill.

"Congress should not be allowed to investigate itself when it comes to the massive security failures of January 6," the senators wrote in a Wednesday statement. "We are calling for an independent commission to be appointed to investigate the security failures that allowed the Capitol to be breached on January 6th resulting in five deaths."

The commission, according to the senators, should consist of "nationally recognized, non-partisan security experts," and established in the "spirit of other bipartisan commissions."

Without an independent commission, Graham and Johnson said the investigation would "fall into the familiar territory of partisan squabbles ultimately resolving nothing."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., briefly called for a "fact-finding" commission to investigate the attack while the House was debating an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump for inciting the riot.

McCarthy previously suggested a bipartisan commission in a letter to his Republican colleagues.

Graham and Johnson said Congress owed it to the country to investigate the security failures.

"The U.S. Capitol is the people's house and it belongs to the American people," the senators said. "We owe it to them to get to the bottom of this security failure which was a national embarrassment. A commission is the best opportunity for us to get the answers the American people deserve."

Law enforcement and federal authorities have been criticized for allowing the insurrection to occur. A Capitol Police officer and a woman shot trying to storm the Speaker's Lobby outside the House chamber were among the people who died.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., vowed the day after the riot there would be a "painstaking investigation and thorough review" of the Capitol’s security protocol.