Did members of the House, and other Republican lawmakers, as well as Donald Trump campaign workers, family members and affiliates, play any part in organizing the rally that quickly turned into a riot? Did people in elected office, who swore an oath to protect and defend the United States, have a hand in encouraging people who sought its overthrow?
Brooks continued: “Three results: 1 Total waste of taxpayer money. 2 Boredom for who looks at my records. 3 Russian Collusion Hoax 2.0. Why not subpoena Socialists who support BLM & ANTIFA?”
For one thing, “Socialists who support BLM and ANTIFA” didn’t attack the Capitol and attempt to overthrow the government. If they did, one would imagine that many Republicans would support a thorough investigation, including a look into potential ties between insurrectionists and elected officials.
They justified it with appeals to national security and concerns about terrorism. But now that the national security threat comes from the GOP’s own supporters — and from their party’s figurehead — they would like to be protected by guardrails.
To be clear, the House Select Committee isn’t asking for secretive surveillance, as Republicans and some Democrats did in the years after September 11, 2001; they’re playing by the old rule book, and simply asking that records be preserved, which is not an unusual request for a telecommunications company to receive — and one that is, in this instance, directly relevant to the question of what role Republican lawmakers may have played in the January 6 insurrection.
Republicans know this, but they’re moving the goal posts. “Rifling through the call logs of your colleagues would depart from more than 230 years of Congressional oversight,” Indiana Rep. Jim Banks wrote in a letter to Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson. “This type of authoritarian undertaking has no place in the House of Representatives and the information you seek has no conceivable legislative purpose.”
But that is increasingly how this Republican Party operates: one loose and shifting set of rules for them, and a harsher and stricter set for everyone else.
Gathering call logs is basic fact-finding, which is the purpose of the Select Committee. But basic fact-finding is exactly what many Republicans appear to want to prevent. Despite witnessing up-close an attempt to violently overthrow the government, which included armed rioters hopped up on right-wing lies about voter fraud storming the Capitol building and trashing the place, the GOP overwhelmingly voted against forming the January 6 committee in the first place.
This GOP doesn’t really object to authoritarianism or violations of privacy; it objects to any effort to determine whether any among them engaged in traitorous acts. Why might that be?