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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.
Three Ashli Babbitt shooting witnesses no longer on FBI most wanted list
Three people who witnessed the shooting of Ashli Babbitt in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, no longer have their photos posted on the FBI’s most wanted page, The Epoch Times reports.
The three witnesses, labeled 310, 311 and 312, were scrubbed the evening of April 29, 2021, according to the Epoch Times investigation. The list now skips from 309 to 313.
When suspects are taken into custody, the FBI normally places “ARRESTED” on photos of them at the Jan. 6 riot.
The Department of Justice has not responded to Epoch Times’ request for comment about why the three witnesses were removed.
One of the witnesses removed from the FBI’s list includes a man who tried to give first aid to Babbitt as she was dying on the Capitol floor. Reporter Tayler Hansen said the witness is a photojournalist. Hansen claimed to have stood next to the man in the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“Right as she got shot, he was the only one that reacted, and he immediately reached for his medical bag,” Hansen told The Epoch Times. “He had a med bag on him, and started digging in it.”
Hansen explained: “He was trying to help Ashli throughout the whole thing. He was one of the people the cops told to stop rendering medical aid to her.”
Hansen applauded how the photojournalist handled the situation. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “He knew exactly what to do. He was the first one to react out of everybody,” he told Epoch, adding that the photojournalist covered riots in Portland, Ore., and Kenosha, Wisc.
Hansen also said another man who was removed from the FBI’s most wanted still works as a photographer.
Babbitt’s widow, Aaron, told The Epoch Times that he is questioning the FBI’s actions.
“I’d like an explanation as to why they’ve been removed,” Babbitt told the outlet. “If there’s nothing nefarious, then that shouldn’t be a problem. The silence is, and has been, deafening.”
BREAKING: Capitol Police Officer Who Killed Ashli Babbitt Did Not Cooperate With Internal Affairs or FBI, Was Never Interviewed By Capitol Police Before Being Cleared By DOJ
On January 6 2021, the unarmed US Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt was shot in the neck and killed while she attempted to climb through a window into a hallway in the Capitol Building.
Before she was shot and killed, Ashli Babbitt was standing inside a room in the Capitol that was filled with “protesters” and armed law enforcment officers including heavily armed tactical officers. In the video below, officers can be seen standing in front the windows leading into the hallway were being broken by a few men inside the room. Curiously, instead of trying to stop the window breakers, the police officers who were standing between the protesters and the hallway into the Speakers Chambers where the armed Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd waited, they moved to the side and began to have what appears to be a casual converastion with each other. Ashli Babbitt approached the windows to the room where she was shot after the police officers conveniently moved away from the door, giving Office Byrd a clear shot at the non-violent, unarmed veteran.
So many questions still remain about what happened in that room, not the least of which is why are so many of the men who were in the same room as the now deceased Ashli Babbitt running around free, while Ashli Babbitt was shot dead for the crime of trying to leave that room? The biggest question of course, is why was Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd cleared of all criminal charges for her shooting death?
Now, a new stunning report by Real Clear Investigations on the murder of unarmed US Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt inside the U.S. Capitol by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd reveals that he was never formally interviewed by the D.C. Metropolitan Police before he was cleared of wrongdoing in her death.
Just the News reports – In an interview with the outlet, Babbitt family attorney Terry Roberts said he was surprised at how “skimpy” Byrd’s investigative file is.
“He didn’t provide any statement to [criminal] investigators, and they didn’t push him to make a statement,” Roberts also said.
Roberts’ claims appear to be backed up by MPD documents obtained by Judicial Watch, which confirm that Byrd “declined to provide a statement.”
An MPD spokesperson confirmed that Byrd did not cooperate with internal affairs or FBI agents.
“MPD did not formally interview Lt. Byrd. … He didn’t give a statement while under the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation,” said D.C. MPD communications Director Kristen Metzger said.
Within four months of the shooting, Byrd had been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing by the Justice Department, which opted not to present evidence to a grand jury about one of the most high-profile police shootings in recent memory. Justice declared there was “not enough evidence” to conclude that Byrd violated Babbitt’s civil rights or acted recklessly.
VIDEO: U.S. Capitol police hold J6 press conference Ahead of January 6 riot
Ahead of the first anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot, the U.S. Capitol Police Board is holding a press conference to discuss the measures they are taking to enhance the long-term security of the Capitol grounds.
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