(CNN)Rep. James Comer has a brilliant idea of how to get to the bottom of what happened before, during and after the US Capitol riot on January 6 — and how to prevent it from happening again.
“The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to have an independent commission that we know who’s going to be on it,” he told CNN’s Pam Brown in an interview on Wednesday. “It doesn’t need to be political people.”Really … that is intriguing! It sounds a lot like the independent commission that Comer, a Kentucky House Republican, voted against in the House. And that Senate Republicans — led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — blocked in the Senate. In fact, it’s not a lot like that proposal. It is that proposal.Go to the language of the legislation, which passed the House in May with 35 Republican votes (as well as every Democratic vote). It makes clear that the commission would have 10 members, with Democratic leaders in Congress appointing five people and Republican leaders appointing five. The commission would be helmed by two co-chairs — one each selected by the speaker of the House and the House minority leader.Read MoreAs for who these members would be? Well, the legislation is pretty specific about that too. (Bolding is mine.)”An individual appointed to the Commission may not be an officer or employee of any instrumentality of government,” reads the texts of the bill. “It is the sense of Congress that individuals appointed to the Commission should be prominent United States citizens, with national recognition.”
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It’s right there in the bill! No sitting members of Congress!The 1/6 commission proposal was expressly modeled on the independent panel Congress created to study the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. That group was chaired by two former elected officials — former New Jersey governor Tom Kean and former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton — but had a wide variety of other members including Fred Fielding, a former White House counsel, and former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman.Comer is, not to put too fine a point on this, totally and completely wrong. He voted against a piece of legislation that would have done exactly what he said he wanted on Wednesday!What then explains Comer’s statement? There are two options:1) He simply didn’t know what was in the bill he voted against.2) He is taking us all for fools — assuming we can’t or won’t go back and check the record of his vote.Neither one is a great look, although I suppose the first option is marginally better; Comer was misinformed rather than malicious.The end result, however, is the same. Comer voted against a measure that would have done exactly what he is now saying he thinks would have been the best way to address the riots of January at the Capitol.It’s staggeringly bad.