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Government

Manchin Votes Yes, Capito A No On Independent Commission To Probe Jan. 6 Riots

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Chris Jones
/
100 Days in Appalachia
Armed rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The face off with Capitol police to enter the building during a session of Congress resulted in the deaths of 5 people, including a Capitol Police officer.

West Virginia’s two U.S. Senators parted ways on a vote to establish an independent commission that would have investigated the Jan. 6 riots at the nation’s capital.

Senators voted 54-35 Friday to establish an investigative commission, with the measure falling short of a needed 60 votes.

The proposed panel’s 10 members — which would have been evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans — would have been tasked with examining the events that unfolded on Jan. 6. In Friday’s roll call vote, six Senate Republicans supported the effort.

Hundreds of pro-Trump supporters took over the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress was certifying each state’s presidential election results — spurred on by the former president’s false claims that the election was stolen.

Since then, more than 400 people have been charged for their involvement in the violent insurrection that left five dead, including a police officer.

Most of those charged have been cited for offenses related to unlawful entry, theft and other crimes. Others have been charged with more serious crimes, including weapons charges and assault.

Five West Virginians have been charged with various offenses for their part in the siege, including former state lawmaker Derrick Evans, Hurricane resident and University of Kentucky student Gracyn Courtright, former Parkerburg City Councilman Eric Barber, Morgantown sandwich shop owner George Tanios and Proud Boys member Jeffery Xavier Finley of Martinsburg.

Democrat Joe Manchin voted in favor of establishing the commission, which was described as similar to a congressional investigative effort following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, Manchin condemned fellow senators who stood opposed to the legislation.

“This commission passed the House with a bipartisan vote. The failed vote in the Senate had six brave Republicans, but that was four short of the 10 necessary to advance the legislation,” Manchin said. “Choosing to put politics and political elections above the health of our democracy is unconscionable. And the betrayal of the oath we each take is something they will have to live with.”

Manchin went on to say that Republicans who opposed the independent commission “let political fear prevent them from doing what they know in their hearts to be right.”

Manchin — seen by many as one of the most bipartisan lawmakers in all of congress and a key swing vote for both parties — has also remained supportive of keeping intact the filibuster — a 60-vote threshold that makes it difficult to clear legislation in an evenly divided Senate.

Republican Shelley Moore Capito voted against the independent commission, calling it unnecessary because other congressional panels are already looking into the riots.

During a Thursday call with reporters from West Virginia, Capito announced her opposition to the measure.

“I do believe, unfortunately, the commission has been politicized. The Democrats would pick the staff,” Capito said. “I think that's problematic from my point of view. And I don't know that the investigation would ever end — so I'm going to be a ‘no’ on that.”

Last week, the House of Representatives voted 252-175 to approve the commission. Thirty-five Republicans, including Rep. David McKinley voted in favor. The state’s other two Republican House members — Rep. Alex Mooney and Rep. Carol Miller — opposed the effort.


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