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Our View: Domestic terrorism stalks the US Capitol. So why is Congress still bickering over the investigation?

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Congress is now being held hostage by the domestic extremism that led to the sacking of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6: The House of Representatives canceled its session Thursday amid renewed reports of potential violence.

Thankfully, nothing happened. But you would think this looming tower of domestic terrorism would finally motivate Congress to launch a process for thoroughly understanding this threat and how to deal with it. 

And you would likely be wrong. 

Eluding Democrats and Republicans

Even the sound approach of appointing a 9/11-style commission to conduct a nonpartisan deep dive into the root causes and security failures of that shameful day in January has eluded Democrats and Republicans.

Democrats want to control any congressionally appointed commission, convinced that too many Republicans are too radicalized by Donald Trump and his Big Lie about a stolen election — a key motivating factor behind the Jan. 6 violence — to pick even-handed party elders for a commission evenly politically divided.

And Republicans want a mandate for a commission that’s so broad, it could sweep in the rioting of last summer that involved Black Lives Matter demonstrators and anti-fascist groups that fall under the umbrella title of antifa.

Both have invoked the 9/11 Commission as a template. And both have it wrong.

National Guard troops at the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 2021.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last month that she wanted a bipartisan commission similar to the one that investigated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. An early proposal said she wanted a panel with seven Democrats and four Republicans. She modified that later, saying the makeup remains negotiable.  

Surprise best-seller

The 9/11 Commission, under the chairmanship of former New Jersey Republican Gov. Tom Kean and co-chair Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana, was an acclaimed effort that produced a report that drove major reform of the U.S. intelligence community. The report also became a surprise best-selling book.

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