A group of Democratic members of Congress planned to call on President Joe Biden to form a presidential commission on the January 6 attack at the US Capitol, but they were discouraged by the White House, a congressional source told CNN on Friday.
The group, made up of a number of House Democrats with national security backgrounds, had prepared an op-ed calling on Biden to form a presidential commission investigating the events that led to the riots, in the tradition of former President Ronald Reagan’s Tower Commission and Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential commission on the attack on Pearl Harbor. The op-ed was drafted following the Senate’s failure to pass legislation establishing a bipartisan commission to investigate the insurrection.
But the move was discouraged by senior members of the President’s homeland security staff, CNN has learned. Last Friday, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to weigh in on the prospect of a presidential commission. Biden has no plans to create one, CNN reported Thursday.
“Congress was attacked on that day, and President Biden firmly agrees with Speaker Pelosi that Congress itself has a unique role and ability to carry out that investigation. Because of that, the President doesn’t plan to appoint his own commission,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN in a statement Thursday.
Any presidential commission tasked with investigating the events on January 6 would have been hamstrung by the lack of subpoena power.
House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries of New York has previously suggested a special counsel to investigate the events of January 6, but there’s been no indication that the Justice Department would take up the matter in that way. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated she’s prepared to initiate a House-led investigation, outlining possible options for an investigation into the insurrection on a recent call with members of the House Democratic Caucus, per multiple sources on the line.
CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.
Kaitlan Collins, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb contributed to this story.