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Two Democrats and nine Republicans missed the Friday vote

Eleven senators missed the high-stakes Senate procedural vote Friday on legislation to form a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission to investigate the Capitol attack.

The vote was initially anticipated for Thursday, but when it got bumped to the Friday before the long Memorial Day weekend, several senators opted to maintain their travel plans and left Washington before casting their vote. Some senators said they had longstanding family obligations or other work commitments outside of D.C., while others did not provide an immediate explanation to Fox News.

Two Democrats – Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona – missed the Friday vote that started around 11:30 a.m. And nine Republicans were also absent from the chamber: Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Mike Braun of Indiana, Richard Burr of North Carolina, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, James Risch of Idaho, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Murray said she had to fly home for a “personal family matter.” But Sinema, a moderate Democrat who has supported maintaining the legislative filibuster, caught plenty of heat from the left for not showing up for the vote, especially after calling the Jan. 6 commission “critical” and imploring her GOP colleagues to support it.

“Sinema is a coward’s coward,” tweeted supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

A spokesperson for Sinema did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment and she did not offer an explanation for Sinema’s absence to the senator’s home state paper either, the Arizona Republic.

The final tally Friday was 54 senators supporting moving forward with the Jan. 6 commission bill and 35 senators opposed to the procedural vote. But the legislation needed 60 votes to overcome the GOP filibuster and fell short of that threshold. Friday marked the first successful GOP filibuster during the Biden presidency.

Six Republicans joined with all the Democrats present to move forward with debating the bill: Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Rob Portman of Ohio.

Toomey had to miss a vote on the Jan. 6 commission on May 28, 2021, due to a family commitment, his spokesperson said. (Sarah Silbiger/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., questions Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a Congressional Oversight Commission hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday Dec. 10, 2020. Toomey had to miss a vote on the Jan. 6 commission on May 28, 2021, due to a family commitment, his spokesperson said.

Toomey would have been a seventh GOP “yes” vote to proceed on the Jan. 6 commission legislation had he been present, but he had a family commitment Friday he had to attend, according to his spokesperson. Toomey was also supportive of an amendment that Collins was to offer that addressed GOP concerns on staffing and the duration of the commission.

Three more GOP senators would have needed to buck their leadership to break the filibuster. Based on the previous statements of the other absent Republicans, their presence would not have changed the final outcome of effectively killing the Jan. 6 independent panel – at least for now.

Shelby’s office said the senator had to return to Alabama for a family engagement. Risch also returned to his home state of Idaho to attend the high school graduation for his two granddaughters. Both senators opposed the Jan. 6 commission, according to their offices.

Blackburn, R-Tenn., would have also been a “no” vote had she been in attendance believing there’s already enough ongoing investigations into the attack.

“The FBI has arrested almost 500 people in connection to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach and multiple congressional committees are also investigating,” a Blackburn spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News. “Those investigations and prosecutions are ongoing and do not require any interference.”

Blunt skipped the Senate vote so he could maintain a commitment to attend a reopening ceremony in Missouri for Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

Rounds, R-S.D., missed the vote Friday for preplanned work travel overseas.

Senate GOP members held a policy luncheon to discuss the Republican agenda. Rounds had to miss a vote on the Jan. 6 commission on May 28, 2021, due to work travel overseas, his spokesperson said. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

“Senator Rounds is currently fulfilling his responsibilities critical to his role on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees by meeting with strategic partners and military leaders in war zones overseas,” said Dezmond Ward, Rounds communications director, who noted the senator opposed the Jan. 6 commission.

Under the proposal that already passed the House, the Jan. 6 panel would have been a 10-person bipartisan commission. Half of the commissioners would be appointed by Democrats and the other half would be appointed by Republicans. The commission would have subpoena power to carry out the investigation, but only if there is bipartisan support to issue them.

The commission would have to issue a final report by Dec. 31, 2021.


Democrats argued the nonpartisan investigation – modeled after the bipartisan 9/11 commission – was needed to get to the root of the Jan. 6 attack and to make policy recommendations on how to prevent such violence in the future. Republicans, however, privately expressed political concerns that rehashing the attack would undermine their messaging in their effort to win back Congress in 2022.

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Capitol Riot

Six Capitol Police Face Disciplinary Charges After Internal Investigation About January 6

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While the killer of Ashli Babbitt was completely exonerated for shooting the unarmed Trump supporter, six Capitol Police are facing charges over things like letting Trump supporters into the Capitol.

There are reports of officers pulling down barricades outside the Capitol building as the crowd approached, and others taking selfies with members of the crowd.

The United States Capitol Police reviewed footage from Jan 6 and determined six officers violated department protocols.

Yogananda Pittman, Assistant Chief of the United States Capitol Police (USCP) and former acting Chief of the USCP in the aftermath of Jan 6, said the following in a statement on January 11: “Our Office of Professional Responsibility will investigate these behaviors for disciplinary action, up to, and including termination.”

In the USCP’s update on their internal investigations, they stated that no wrongdoing was found in 20 0f the 26 complaints. However, in the other six, violations did occur, and therefore disciplinary action is recommended.

These violations include unbecoming conduct, failure to comply with directives, improper remarks, and “improper dissemination of information.”

“The Department is committed to accountability when officers fail to meet the standards governed by USCP policies and the Congressional Community’s expectations,” the statement continued.

In typical elitist, bureaucratic, and anti-Trump fashion, the statement ended by saying, “the bravery and courage exhibited by the vast majority of our employees was inspiring.”

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Capitol Building

Warrant: Nashville man arrested after telling MNPD he entered U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6

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A Nashville man this week was charged in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot after admitting to the Metro Nashville Police Department he entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, an FBI warrant shows.

Christopher Michael Cunningham faces charges including knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; violent entry and disorderly conduct in capitol building or grounds; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.

Investigators sifted through Cunningham’s social media after witnesses alerted the FBI to posts by an account in his name made on Jan. 6, U.S. District Court documents show. 

Footage taken inside the Capitol on the day shows an individual later identified as Cunningham traveling through the building holding up a cell phone, court documents indicate. 

The criminal complaint includes screenshots of the individual apparently taking a selfie inside the building.

In addition, court documents continue, on Feb. 23, Cunningham called the Metro Nashville Police Department to report that a pressure washer was stolen from his front porch.

The interaction between Cunningham and the police officer was audio and video recorded on the officer’s body-worn camera, which the FBI reviewed.

“During the interaction with the MNPD officer, Cunningham identified himself and stated that he entered the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021,” the complaint continues.

Court records show Cunningham was free on bond Thursday.

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Capitol Riot

US Air Force Vet and Vietnam Prisoner of War Writes Powerful Letter of Encouragement To Jan 6th Political Prisoners

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Very few lawmakers have had the courage to stand up and call out the treatment of the political prisoners that are being held in various facilities since the January 6th incident at our nation’s Capitol. One brave Vietnam Veteran and former Prisoner of War, however, is speaking out on their behalf, and he’s pleading with lawmakers to stop allowing these men and women to be treated as though they are prisoners in a communist country.

Captain Wayne Smith, a United States Air Force Veteran and Vietnam POW, wrote a letter to Members of Congress on August 4, 2021, about the political prisoners that are being detained for their alleged “crimes” on January 6th.

Dear Members of Congress,

I am writing to you with a heavy heart regarding the “political prisoners” held at the DC Detention Facility.

As a former Vietnam Prisoner of War, who spent 5 yrs./2mos. at the Hanoi Hilton, I can possibly understand some of the treatments we endured on foreign soil; yet under no circumstances can I understand the alleged treatment our American citizens are enduring on American soil in the very heart of our country’s Republic.

After our Representatives and Senators were tricked into leaving the prison facility under the guise of meeting with the Superintendent, why is every Republican Representative and Senator not denouncing this on the steps of Congress? While there are two specifically who want to make Jan. 6 about Trump, those who have kept up know this is about another agenda, not so much unlike Governor Whitmer’s alleged kidnapping.

Below is a note I wrote to one of the prisoners after my wife received an email requesting a favor for her significant other, who is in dire need of medical treatment and ready to give up. We’ve heard this story many times over: unhealthy food, no exercise options, medical treatment denied, regular beatings, and the worst kind of torture, solitary confinement.

I can understand if we were in Cuba or another Communist country-but in Washington, DC? So how bad are prisoners treated in Communist countries? Just ask Cuban Political Prisoner and Broward County resident, Frank de Varona, who at age 17 fought in the Bay of Pigs, was captured, and then escaped to the USA where he went on to become a successful author, speaker, and educator.

I do wonder who these guards at this DC facility are, as I find it hard to think that an American-trained law enforcement officer could be so cruel toward another American or disrespectful to our elected officials.

Here’s the note I wrote to one of the political prisoners who is ready to give up. I’m not sure what good it will do but I hope it gives him some comfort. I implore you to investigate this sooner rather than later to ensure these American citizens that hope is not lost, that they are not forgotten and that our Constitutional Republic is still intact. They deserve nothing less. GBU and GBA

August 3, 2021

Never in a million years did I think I’d be writing this type of letter in the United States of America. I know a little about how you must be feeling and now I understand the hopelessness of those back home not being able to help their loved ones.

The only way my cellmates and I made it out of Hanoi Hilton was due to our faith in God and each other. We were determined to “Return with Honor” because of our love for our country and our flag. While we were on foreign soil and you all are on American soil, the sentiment still holds true.

As a Veteran, you know what it is like to fight – only now this fight is for your spirit – your sanity – your dignity.

I heard that at 9 pm each night, the “DC Political Prisoners” would begin singing the National Anthem. Oh, how I hope this is true.
There is finally a push to wake people up to the horrendous treatment you all are going through. I am at a loss for words to think that this is going on in my homeland – my country.

Keep the faith and don’t let them rob you of your spirit. A lot of people are pulling for you and working to right this wrong. GBU

Wayne O. Smith, USAF Veteran
Vietnam Prisoner of War – 5 years/2 months

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