WASHINGTON – Calling the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 "a day of darkness," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday she will create a select committee to investigate the riot.
“It is imperative we seek the truth about what happened," Pelosi said. She decided to create the select committee “with great solemnity and sadness” because she would have preferred a bipartisan committee, she said.
The House passed a bill creating such a committee but it was blocked by Senate Republicans last month in a move Pelosi described Thursday as "cowardly."
"It’s clear Republicans are afraid of the truth," she said.
A mob of then-President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol as members of Congress gathered to confirm the Electoral College count affirming Joe Biden's election victory in the presidential election. The violence sent Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress, including Pelosi, into hiding.
“It would have been preferable to have an outside commission … but I had no (intention) of walking away from our responsibility,” Pelosi said.
The select committee “will investigate and report on the facts and the causes of the attack and report recommendations for the prevention” of another attack, Pelosi said.
Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have consistently called the creation of a committee specially focused on the Jan. 6 insurrection unnecessary and political.
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., on Thursday called the move to create a select committee "raw gut politics."
"We've got all kinds of investigations going on," he said. "The FBI is investigating thoroughly. They're prosecuting people."
As Pelosi was announcing the creation of a House panel to investigate the Jan. 6 riots, the sprawling federal criminal investigation reached another milestone.
“We have now crossed the threshold of 500 arrests, including the 100th arrest of a defendant on charges of assaulting a federal law enforcement officer," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement, adding that an Illinois man was arrested Thursday for allegedly assaulting a news photographer and destroying other media equipment.
The charges leveled against Shane Jason Woods, 43, marked the first in connection with an assault on a member of the news media.
The House impeached Trump on Jan. 13 on charges of inciting the insurrection; the Senate, led by Republicans, voted to acquit him.
Details such as who will be named to the committee and the scope of its powers will be announced later. Pelosi did not say whether it would have subpoena power but select committees in the past have often wielded such authority.
As for a deadline for the committee to report its findings, Pelosi would only say "as long as it takes."
Contributing: Kevin Johnson
This is a developing news story and will be updated.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jan. 6 attack to get select committee to investigate, Pelosi announces