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Why efforts to establish a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection failed

Efforts to establish a commission to investigate the insurrection on January 6 failed Friday as the GOP delayed a vote on its existence. Only seven Republican Senators were in favor of debating the idea. Lisa Desjardins reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    At the site of a deadly riot, Republican senators block an investigation into the attack on January 6.

    The push to create a commission, like the one established after 9/11, failed today after GOP leadership used special delaying tactics for the first time this year.

    Lisa Desjardins is here to explain what happened.

    Hello, Lisa.

    I know you were following this well into the night as we waited for a vote. Tell us, how close did the Senate come to seeing this commission voted into existence?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    For this divided Senate, this was close. The commission came within three votes of getting the 60 Senate votes in the support that it would need.

    Now, that is adding in some absent senators, because, as you say, it was a late night, and about a dozen senators left Washington before this vote because they thought it was a fait accompli.

    But, all in all, let's look at the Republicans who supported moving on to this bill, kind of overriding that filibuster block. There were six Republican senators. There, you — seven Republican senators, rather. You see them all right there who either voted today in favor of moving forward with the commission or who said they would have voted in favor.

    And I want to stress, of those seven, six of them were also senators who voted to convict President Trump in the last impeachment trial, which was, of course, related to January 6.

    Senator Lisa Murkowski, one of those yes-votes, told reporters last night that, indeed, she did feel that there was a Trump factor. To her words, she said some Republicans simply didn't want to rock the boat.

    Democrats were furious. But, of course, 57 votes, that's a majority of the Senate. What does that mean for the filibuster? Well, there was no effort by Democrats to try and break the filibuster over this issue, while there was outrage.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, Lisa, you have been following not just this, but also the dynamics around what led to January 6 in the first place.

    What are you finding? What do you — what is your reporting telling you?

  • Lisa Desjardins:


    Our team has been carefully watching all around the country to what's happening. And something really caught our attention last night in Dalton, Georgia. As Republican senators here in Washington, most of them, were preparing to block the January 6 independent commission, in Dalton, Georgia, Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, gave remarks to a crowd, sort of an America first pro-Trump rally, about the Second Amendment.

    And I want to play his remarks here.

  • Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.:

    It's not about hunting. It's not about recreation. It's not about sports. The Second Amendment is about maintaining within the citizenry the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government, if that becomes necessary.

    I hope it never does.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    There, you heard it's about maintaining an armed insurrection.

    He said he doesn't hope that it comes to pass. But this is different than traditional conservative thought about protecting liberty, individuals' homes.

    This is an obvious statement about making government itself the enemy. I should note, of course, that Representative Gaetz is under investigation, federal investigation, over accusations involving prostitution and corruption that he denies. But we wanted to highlight this clip, because we — the crowd's reaction, and Representative Gaetz pointedly talking about government as the potential enemy.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Lisa Desjardins reporting on both of these angles of what has been happening at the Capitol.

    Lisa, thank you.

    And we should add that, late today, Gladys Sicknick, who is the mother of fallen Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, spoke to CNN about her reaction to today's vote and her tense meetings with lawmakers.

    Gladys Sicknick, Mother of Brian Sicknick: They knew what they were doing. They knew how to talk to us. And — but we kind of held back. And it's just — it was just — it was tense.

  • Jake Tapper:

    It was just tense because?

  • Gladys Sicknick:

    Because of — because we knew — I think because we knew they weren't sincere. They weren't sincere.

  • Jake Tapper:

    And they didn't want to get to the bottom of what happened?

  • Gladys Sicknick:

    No. No. And I don't understand it.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We will continue our look at Republicans blocking the January 6 commission later in the program.

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