GOP kills US Capitol riot commission bill
- Ten Republicans would have needed to join all 50 Democrats to advance the measure, which had already cleared the US House of Representatives with modest bipartisan support.
US Senate Republicans on Friday blocked creation of an independent commission to investigate the deadly riot by Donald Trump supporters at the Capitol in Washington, a move aimed at preventing a bipartisan probe ahead of 2022 midterm elections
Ten Republicans would have needed to join all 50 Democrats to advance the measure, which had already cleared the US House of Representatives with modest bipartisan support.
But only six Republicans voted in favour, a result that demonstrates the deep divide in Congress and the nation nearly five months after the January 6 assault, and the influence that the former president continues to exert on the Republican Party.
Republican Senators Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins were among those who bucked their leadership to vote in favour of moving to a final vote on the commission, which had the support of President Joe Biden and several former Republican lawmakers.
But powerful Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell argued that the panel would have been a purely partisan exercise that would add nothing to the department of justice and congressional investigations already under way.
Republicans argue that more than 400 people have been arrested for their part in the unrest, and that those court cases will help shed sufficient light on what happened. In the House of Representatives, 35 of the chamber’s 211 Republicans joined Democrats in support of the commission that was to be modelled after the panel convened in the wake of the 9/11 attacks of 2001 and which had strong bipartisan support.
US says goodbye to Open Skies accord with Russia
US announced on Friday it has decided not to return to the Open Skies Treaty saying Russia has violated the accord.
The post-Cold War treaty was meant to build trust by allowing the two powers and their allies to monitor one another’s airspace. Trump left the accord in November citing Russian violations of it.
Russia said US decision not to rejoin the pact is a “political mistake” to bolster security in Europe, ahead of a summit between the two countries’ presidents.