Democrats’ Jan. 6 commission is just a partisan ploy

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Granted: The Jan. 6 Capitol riot was a disgrace. That members of a mob forced their way into Congress on the day the Electoral College vote was being certified was despicable. Those who took part or encouraged the march on the Capitol — including former President Donald Trump — deserve the criticism they received; those who broke the law deserve punishment.

Yet the Democrats’ drive for a Jan. 6 commission patterned after the one that investigated the 9/11 attacks isn’t the high-minded probe aimed at defending democracy that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims. That’s especially true considering that the House still refuses to launch a commission or even a full-scale probe into the origins of a pandemic that threatened the lives of all Americans.

No, the Jan. 6 commission is just a way for Democrats to keep smearing Republicans as responsible for the “insurrection,” as the riot has been misleadingly labeled.

That some in the GOP have gone along with this travesty — 35 Republicans joined all House Democrats in approving such a commission — out of a misguided belief that it will allow them to avoid being tagged as “insurrectionists” isn’t surprising: They think playing nice with ruthless opponents determined to play hardball is smart politics.

There’s no mystery about what happened on Jan. 6: The pro-Trump rally in Washington that day was a protest against a 2020 presidential election the then-president claimed was “stolen.” The GOP had plenty to complain about, given the way the mainstream press and Big Tech companies had distorted coverage of the campaign — including suppressing The Post’s scoop about potential Biden-family corruption — and the last-minute changing of election rules.

But Trump still lost, and the idea that a congressional vote by former Vice President Mike Pence could stop Biden from taking office was utterly crazy.

Some of those who attended that rally broke away and went to the Capitol. They forced their way into the building, sending Pence and other members of Congress scurrying for shelter. Images of this riot, including some violent confrontations with police and the presence of extremist and/or racist symbols, made the illegitimate nature of what happened painfully clear.

Some 140 officers were injured that day — though compare that with 2,000 during the “mostly peaceful” Black Lives Matter riots, some of which were the result of organized violence by Antifa. And the subsequent death of a Capitol Police officer from natural causes a day later was wrongly attributed to mob violence, a lie the White House continues to spread.

Meanwhile, the government’s stonewalling about the gunning down of one of the protesters, Ashli Babbitt — which would have been deemed a police murder had the victim been a BLM demonstrator — continues. Does anyone think Pelosi’s Jan. 6 commission will explore how exactly she was killed or how the probe of her death was conducted? Ha!

Yet as appalling as the images of these trespassers wandering around the Capitol were, the effort to treat it as an organized insurrection akin to the Confederacy firing on Fort Sumter or a plot to destroy democracy is merely a partisan talking point.

Let’s be honest: It was a riot, not an insurrection. And the point of a commission wouldn’t be fact-finding so much as a way to let Democrats keep milking Jan. 6 for political advantage — and distract from their responsibility for a range of disasters, such as on the border, regarding the economy and in other areas.

Yet as they talk about Jan. 6 — and maintain an armed camp around the Capitol — Dems remain remarkably incurious about what triggered a pandemic that claimed more than 600,000 American lives, prompted lockdowns that tanked the economy and rang up trillions in costs, which the nation will be repaying long into the future.

That Congress seems reluctant to explore the origins of the coronavirus — despite pleas from nonpartisan scientists specifically to examine the role Chinese labs might have played in creating or spreading it — is nothing short of scandalous. Finding out the truth about COVID’s origins could help save lives, yet Dems prefer to focus on Jan. 6.

America needs to get to the bottom of what caused this massive, once-in-a-century public-health catastrophe. If Democrats won’t probe even that, they certainly shouldn’t be wasting time and money on a partisan effort to keep talking about an “insurrection.”

Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS.org.

Twitter: @jonathans_tobin.

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