With this vote, Republicans formalized that they think winning in 2022 is more important than finding out the root causes of an actual insurrection aimed at preventing the peaceful transition of power. And those two things are related: This isn’t some objection to a minor distraction, rather that Republicans know that if the public finds out what happened on and leading up to Jan. 6, it will hurt them in 2022. That now is the question the media needs to focus on with every single Republican who joined the filibuster. If those Republicans think we know everything we need to know about the insurrection, well … what do we know? Or what do they know that we don’t? What was Donald Trump doing as the mob descended on the Capitol? What about those private Capitol tours some Republican House members supposedly gave in the days before Jan. 6? Did any members of Congress or administration officials have contact with people who went on to storm the Capitol?
These are among the many questions Republicans don’t want answered by an independent investigation. But reporters can still ask those questions and put Republicans on the spot. Republicans cannot be allowed to use the filibuster to bury an entire insurrection against the United States of America and not have to answer for it.
Sen. Jon Tester, who believes that “the outcome is going to be far worse” in a future repeat of the attack on the Capitol, nails it: “We’ve got to get to the bottom of this shit,” he said. “Jesus. It’s a nonpartisan investigation of what happened. And if it’s because they’re afraid of Trump then they need to get out of office. It’s bullshit. You make tough decisions in this office or you shouldn’t be here.”
Republicans made a decision, tough or not. That decision is to cover up the insurrection and prevent an independent bipartisan investigation so that they can claim any congressional investigation is a partisan witch hunt by Democrats. And the filibuster is their top tool.
About that filibuster: Let’s be clear, there are Democrats giving Republicans permission to carry out this cover-up. Chief among them is Sen. Joe Manchin, who has been very loud about how much he wants a Jan. 6 commission, how much Democrats have compromised to get Republicans on board, and how disappointed he is that Republicans are acting out of partisan expediency. But he’s been equally loud about his continuing opposition to abolishing or reforming the filibuster … which means that he’s not showing us he’s serious about the commission, either.
“Democrats have basically given everything they’ve asked for, any impediment that would’ve been there, and there is no reason not to now, unless you just don’t want to hear the truth,” Manchin said. But despite that fairly blunt acknowledgement that Republicans don’t want to hear the truth, he is steadfast in his opposition to doing anything about it.
”I don’t think I’ll ever change. I’m not separating our country ok? I don’t know what you all don’t understand about this. You ask the same question every day and it’s wrong. That’s enough,” he told CBS News’ Caitlin Huey-Burns.
No, Joe! You’re not separating our country. Republicans have already done that.
”I’m not ready to destroy our government,” he told another reporter. “I’m not ready to destroy our government, no.”
It’s increasingly pathetic to watch Manchin whine and lament all the terrible things Republicans are doing and then act like it would be outrageous to take away their primary tool for abusing what Manchin himself characterizes as truth. But it’s worse than that. This is a dangerous moment, and it’s incumbent on the people with the power to defang some of the threats to use that power. Republicans are destroying our government, right now. They’re setting the stage to overturn elections in 2022 and 2024 if it suits their interests to do so, and anyone who doesn’t do everything they can to get in the way of that plan is aiding and abetting them in that destruction of our government and our democracy. Right now, that’s Manchin. Being the tool of evil because you thought you were standing up for principle doesn’t make you anything but the tool of evil.