Lankford Says He Opposes Independent, Bipartisan Jan. 6 Commission Proposal Passed By House
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said Wednesday evening that he will vote against the House-backed formation of an independent, bipartisan commission to examine the Jan. 6 pro-Trump insurrection.
In a Facebook Live video, Lankford said the proposal passed with bipartisan support in the House is too "political."
"I think it's a bad idea," Lankford said. "The commission they say is going to end by December -- there's absolutely no way that commission would end by December. It would go on for years and years and they would stretch it out for political reasons."
"When people talk to me about the commission, they say things to me like, 'I want to know what [Trump White House Chief of Staff] Mark Meadows was doing in the White House that day.' Okay -- why are we doing a multi-million dollar to try to be able to answer that question? What you're supposed to do in a commission is to be able to ask the questions: what can we learn from the day? How can we get better?" Lankford said.
The commission proposal gives equal power to each party and is modeled on the bipartisan commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. 35 House Republicans -- including freshman Rep. Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma -- bucked House GOP leadership to support the commission. Bice later said she did so not to get answers regarding Trump's involvement but rather to answer questions she has about the treatment of accused insurrectionists by law enforcement.
Going into the Jan. 6 Electoral College certification proceedings, Lankford had announced his intention to vote to reject the legitimate results of the 2020 election, in which now-President Joe Biden defeated the incumbent Trump, due to baseless claims of systemic fraud. Okla. Sen. Jim Inhofe, Lankford's senior Republican colleague, rejected to go along with him, saying to reject state-certified Electoral College results flagrantly violates the U.S. Constitution. Lankford withdrew his plans to object following the deadly attack by Trump supporters who said they planned to execute officials including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-Vice President Mike Pence.
An Inhofe spokesperson on Thursday morning declined comment on whether he would vote for or against the commission, saying he would issue a statement following the vote.
The commission is supported by Gladys Sicknick, the mother of Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick, who died after being assaulted during the pro-Trump mob as they attempted to overturn the election results.
On Feb. 3, Lankford posted a photo to social media of him visiting Sicknick's remains in the Capitol Rotunda.
"We will never forget his last full measure of devotion to protect the building where he served. I am eternally grateful for his service to our country. His family, loved ones & the US Capitol Police community are in my prayers," Lankford wrote.