What past hearings can tell us about the road ahead for the Jan. 6 committee
It’s been 50 years since the Watergate break-in precipitated the greatest political scandal of its time.
Now, the nation awaits hearings for another major event: the Jan. 6 insurrection.
What can we learn from Watergate?
From NPR‘s Ron Elving:
The current goals of the Jan. 6 committee (called by some the 1-6 committee and by others the J-6) are clearly quite different. The committee is not as evenly balanced between the parties and the regions of the country as the Watergate panel was, largely because it was not established in a spirit of cooperation between the parties.
The idea of an independent investigating body like the one that followed the terrorist attacks of 2001 had strong public backing and bipartisan support in the House. But it was scuttled by a Republican filibuster in the Senate. Mitch McConnell, the GOP’s Senate leader, called such a commission a “purely political exercise” that would neither learn anything new nor “promote healing” — adding: “Frankly, I do not believe it is even designed to.”
The House then went forward with a special committee of its own that initially was to have Republican members appointed by GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy. But McCarthy named prospective members who were themselves expected to be among those investigated for their roles in the Jan. 6 events.
We look to the past to gain insight into what’s ahead.
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