Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Friday issued the following statement on the Senate’s consideration of a proposal to establish a separate commission to examine the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol:
“While the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is already the subject of much scrutiny both on Capitol Hill and by federal law enforcement, Congress has paid little attention to the rash of riots outside of Washington over the past year. What message does Congress send to the American people when we have a commission for riots in Washington but ignore the ones across the rest of the country?
“A narrow commission focused only on the Capitol riot not only ignores the broader picture, but it would also be on top of various congressional and criminal investigations already underway, taking more time and costing more tax dollars. If we truly want to get to the bottom of anti-government violence, intellectual honesty demands that we take a broader look at destruction and violence that occurred in nearly every major city over the last year.”
Capitol Attack Investigations Underway
Grassley condemned the attack on the Capitol and was part of a major bipartisan multi-committee effort to investigate the government breakdowns that occurred on January 6. He and Judiciary Committee chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) pushed the FBI for answers surrounding the attacks and questioned Director Wray about it at a March hearing on domestic extremism. A separate investigation conducted by the Senate Rules Committee and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is expected to yield a report in June.
Nationwide Political Violence
Civil unrest last summer took a serious toll: more than 900 law enforcement officers were injured responding to violent riots, including 277 federal officer injuries defending a courthouse in Portland, Ore., and 60 Secret Service officers defending the White House. At least 14,000 people were arrested in riots that occurred in 49 cities across the country over the summer. At least 25 people were killed in those riots. Damage sustained to businesses and other personal property could exceed $2 billion. As a result of last summer’s violence perpetrated largely by anti-government or anti-law enforcement extremists, the FBI opened more than 300 domestic terrorism cases.
Grassley has repeatedly called on Congress to call out all forms of political violence. He invited Durbin to broaden the scope of a hearing on domestic extremism to include last year’s riots and pushed federal law enforcement to provide data on violence perpetrated by groups from across the political spectrum.