Murkowski supports commission to investigate attack on Capitol

A white woman in a pink coat speaks with a microphone
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Skip Gray/KTOO)

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski told reporters Tuesday that she’ll vote in favor of a House bill to establish a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

Murkowski says she hopes a commission will establish the causes and what motivated the mob to storm the Capitol.

“And to ensure that we don’t see, in the future, a similar attack on our institution and our democracy,” she said.

She is only the second Senate Republican to back the bill, after Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.

At least two other moderate Republicans – Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana – say they like the idea of creating a commission but want to see other changes to the bill.

It would take 10 Senate Republicans to overcome an expected filibuster.

Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said Tuesday he hasn’t yet made a decision on the bill.

“I’m looking at it now,” he said.

The Senate’s Republican minority leader, Mitch McConnell, is denouncing the bill. He claims Democrats want a commission so they can continue to implicate former President Donald Trump. 

“I think this a purely political exercise that adds nothing to the sum total of information,” he told reporters Tuesday.

Murkowski said finding Trump responsible was the point of his second impeachment trial. She was among seven Republicans who voted to convict him of incitement to insurrection. Trump was acquitted. Murkowski said the commission would serve a different purpose.

RELATED: Pretty damning’: 2nd Trump impeachment case is compelling, Murkowski says

“My hope is that what we will have with an independent commission will be a thoughtful and considered and not a partisan approach to this,” she said. “We’ve done that already.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is pushing for a vote on the bill this week. He said the need for a commission to establish the facts is more important than ever.

“In the months since Jan. 6, Washington Republicans have tried to re-write history and recast the attack on Jan. 6 as little more than peaceful protest that got out of hand,” he said.

The House passed the bill last week with 35 Republican votes. Alaska Congressman Don Young voted against the measure.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.

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