(CNN) – Republican Fred Upton on Sunday called an effort by some of his GOP colleagues to downplay the Capitol uprising, claiming that their “false” allegations regarding the deadly attack testify to the need to set up a bipartite commission to investigate the incident.
“This is absolutely wrong. You know, I was there. I watched a number of people come down to the White House and then come back. I have a balcony on my desk. So I saw them come down. I heard the noise – the flash bangs, I felt some of the gas as it moved in my direction, “Michigan congressman Dana Bash told CNN on” the state of the Union ”when asked about comments from several Congressional Republicans last week who tried to rewrite what happened on January 6.
The longtime congressman’s comments come as his party’s division grows between members who offer an inaccurate account of the insurgency and those who have consistently condemned the January 6 violence while blaming the blame on the insurgency. former President Donald Trump and his 2020 election lies for the attack. Upton was among the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the riot.
Among the claims made last week was one from Rep. Andrew Clyde, a Republican from Georgia, who falsely compared the riot to a sightseeing tour, saying during a hearing on the attack that “there was no insurgency and to call it an insurgency, in my opinion, is a bald lie.”
Upton told Bash he was not sure what motivated his colleagues to make such statements, but that the statements were one reason he supported a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack. Lawmakers Friday cleared an obstacle on Friday creating a bipartisan commission after senior Democrats and Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee reached an agreement on how to structure the independent panel.
“Get the facts out, try to assure the American public that this is what happened and let the facts lead us to the conclusion,” Upton said.
After the deal was announced on Friday, it was not clear whether House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy – who has fought with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the House’s proposal. commission – would sign the deal, as he said he was still reviewing it. Upton said in his interview that he hoped the California Republican would support the proposal.
Go further on Sunday, Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, who was ousted from her GOP leadership post last week for challenging Trump’s election lies, told ABC News that McCarthy “absolutely” should testify before the commission if lawmakers establish the investigative body.
“I would anticipate that – I hope he doesn’t need a subpoena, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was subpoenaed,” Cheney said of McCarthy, adding later that attempts to some of his colleagues who downplay the insurgency are “Shameful and despicable.”
President of House Homeland Security Bennie thompson, who helped lead negotiations to reach a deal on the bipartisan commission, told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Sunday that it was important to know what McCarthy knew about Trump’s actions on January 6.
“We need to know all the facts. I hope we shouldn’t have to end up subpoenaing people. We want to get the documents from the House administration. We want to get the documents from the Government Reform and Oversight Committee, the documents from the Defense Ministry, and any witnesses who knew anything in terms of knowing what happened on January 6th. The commission needs to hear them, ”said the Mississippi Democrat.
When asked if this included Trump, Thompson said the commission would also “need to get” information from the former president himself.
“He invited many people who broke into Capitol Hill in Washington that day. He said, “Come to Washington. It’s gonna be wild. So we have to get from him what it meant to “come to Washington, be wild”. “
The proposed commission would include a 10-member panel, half of whom would be appointed by Democratic leaders in Congress, including the president, and the other half by Republicans, including the vice-president. The group will have the power to issue subpoenas if they are signed by both the chair and the vice-chair, according to a summary released by the committee. The commission would be tasked with publishing a final report by the end of this year, which would make it a quick schedule for the expert group to release a final product.