EDITORIAL: Congress had a chance for a bipartisan Jan. 6 investigation. Republicans rejected it.

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Jul. 23—The BDN Editorial Board operates independently from the newsroom, and does not set policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on bangordailynews.com.

It's been nearly seven months since a violent mob overran the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the day Congress was set to certify the results of the November presidential election. Members of the mob threatened to kill Vice President Mike Pence and, apparently, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Five people died and more than 100 police officers were hurt, some beaten by the rioters.

Seven months later, Congress is still struggling to launch an investigation of the events of Jan. 6 and the days leading up to them. Rather than obstructing this work and trying to score political points before the next election, it is time for lawmakers from both parties, but particularly Republicans, to begin this needed and overdue review.

Earlier this week, U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulled his picks for a House committee that is set to investigate the events of Jan. 6. His move came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of his five picks. The two — Reps. Jim Jordan and Jim Banks — voted against certifying the results of the November presidential election and continue to perpetuate the lie that the November election was fraud-ridden and stolen from then-President Donald Trump. In recent days, Jordan said the new panel should investigate Pelosi's role in the security lapses on Jan. 6 and McCarthy suggested that Pelosi may have delayed a National Guard response to the violence. She doesn't control the D.C. National Guard, the president does.

These are the kind of diversions and disruptions that Pelosi was presumably trying to avoid in rejecting Jordan and Banks, who remain steadfast supporters of Trump. The committee will begin its work next week, the House speaker said.

Pelosi has appointed Rep. Liz Cheney to the panel and Cheney said she would remain there. The Wyoming Republicans is one of 10 Republican House members to vote in favor of impeaching former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. She has since been stripped of her leadership position in the House by the Republian caucus. McCarthy is now considering removing Cheney from her seat on the House Armed Services Committee.

"There must be an investigation that is nonpartisan, that is sober, that is serious, that gets to the facts, wherever they may lead," Cheney told reporters outside the Capitol on Wednesday. "And at every opportunity, the minority leader has attempted to prevent the American people from understanding what happened to block this investigation."

Still, McCarthy blamed Pelosi for politicizing the House investigation, which inevitably will be politicized no matter who conducts it and what it finds. He, and other Republican critics of Pelosi's move, continued to call for a fuller (by which they mean examining Black Lives Matter and other incidents not related to the Jan. 6 insurrection) review and said they would start their own.

We'll remind McCarthy that Republicans had an opportunity to support a bipartisan committee modeled on the commission that investigated the events leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but it stalled in Congress when GOP members failed to back it.

In May, only 35 House Republicans and six Senate Republicans — including Sen. Susan Collins — voted in favor of an independent, bipartisan review.

McCarthy's call for such a review is either disingenuous or months too late, likely both.