President Biden supports 9/11-style commission to investigate Jan. 6 attack on Capitol

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden backs House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's plans for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the White House said Tuesday.

"It's certainly one the president would support," press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing. "He backs efforts to shed additional light on the facts to ensure something like that never happens again."

Pelosi on Monday called for the creation of a special panel to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol a day after several lawmakers called for a bipartisan commission and report similar to the one drafted in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 

More:Pelosi says 9/11-style commission to investigate Capitol riots is 'next step' after Trump impeachment trial

Psaki said the president would defer to Congress to decide the tenets of the investigation, adding that the White House has a "role to play" with separate investigations from the Justice Department into the attack.

"He supports efforts to move forward with it, the desire to have one, certainly understanding and knowing how much the events on the 6th impacted members sitting on the Hill," she said.

President Joe Biden speaks at the Pentagon, on Feb. 10, 2021.

Pelosi's push for the panel came two days after the U.S. Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial for charges of insurrection in the Jan. 6 attack. A 57-43 majority of the Senate voted to convict Trump but fell short of the two-thirds majority required for conviction.

The siege, led by a mob of Trump supporters allegedly encouraged by the president, sought to stop the Senate count of electoral votes that confirmed Biden's victory. The assault left five dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer. 

More:Senate acquits Trump in historic second impeachment trial over Capitol riot

More:Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick lies in honor at the Capitol; Biden pays respects

Rioters included organizers with the Proud Boys, an extremist group with ties to white nationalism, and other far-right organizations. Pelosi was personally targeted in the assault with her office being ransacked and some protestors seeking her out by name.

Psaki said Biden has "made clear" his views on the attack including responsibility for it.

"While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute," Biden said in a statement following Trump's acquittal in the Senate. "Even those opposed to the conviction, like Senate Minority Leader McConnell, believe Donald Trump was guilty of a 'disgraceful dereliction of duty' and 'practically and morally responsible for provoking' the violence unleashed on the Capitol."

Psaki said the Justice Department would make the call on whether to prosecute Trump criminally when asked whether the president supports that.

“We’re doing something new here,” Psaki said, “and there’s going to be an independent Justice Department to determine what any path forward in any investigation would look like. I’m not going to speculate on criminal prosecution from the White House podium.”

More:Biden takes steps to confront domestic violent extremism following Capitol riot

Psaki said the president also hopes to also work with Congress to identify measures the federal government can take to prevent future violence resembling the events on Jan. 6. Last month Biden directed the intelligence community to assess the threat of domestic violent extremism in the U.S. and explore new policies to confront extremist networks.

Several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed support for a panel to review the Capitol attack including Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., both of whom voted to convict Trump, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a Trump ally who voted to acquit.

Staff reporter Ledyard King contributed to this report. Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.