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Queen’s Chatham House Orders Commission To Investigate Attack on U.S. Capitol ‘Imperative’

Feb. 5 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Dr. Leslie Vinjamuri, head of the Chatham House/Royal Institute of International Affairs’ Americas Program and Dean of its Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs, issued a written diktat to Americans yesterday, titled cum kicker: “The Trial of Trump Is Not Enough To Repair Democracy. The gravity of the Capitol attack makes a trial necessary, but a fuller account from a bipartisan commission is essential to repair America’s global reputation.”

Posted to the Chatham House/RIIA website yesterday, Vinjamuri agrees that an impeachment trial could well heighten the divisions and instability in the U.S., but it is “imperative”—used twice—to establish the narrative that Donald Trump led an attempted “coup” against the U.S. government and to punish him for it, and that will only be ensured if the Senate both tries him, and sets up a bipartisan commission modeled on the 9/11 Commission to investigate. (She did not specify that she expects the Commission to be composed of members of the House of Lords.) She writes:

“The trial will be critical not only to consider the legality of Donald Trump’s actions but also to create an official record of the Capitol attacks.... [T]he charge of incitement to insurrection may be not only incomplete, but also incorrect, if those who argue this was actually a coup are right. This would have grave implications in that it would essentially be saying the threat to democracy in America comes from within the political system itself, and maybe even within the Republican Party. The internal war currently raging within the Republican Party serves as a formidable backdrop that makes a commission even more important.”

And because the trial may not result in a conviction—although it is too soon to rule that out, she counsels—“it is imperative [that] the call for a bipartisan commission is heeded and a full plan for its investigation agreed before the Senate trial concludes and a vote takes place.

“A commission providing thorough accounting and creating a careful public record of the events that led up to the 6 January attacks is a crucial step in helping create a national understanding of what happened. The need to counter the disinformation that has surrounded the Capitol attacks, and the events that led to them, is urgent. This then helps begin the process of understanding how to restore democracy in the U.S.”

Underlying her argument is her concern that the U.S. will be unable to pressure Russia or Myanmar, if it does not eliminate Trump and what he represents from its body politic. She concludes:

“America’s moral authority and its credibility in the wider world also depend ... on the power of its example. And so it is imperative [note the “imperative” again—ed.] that America get its own house in order. A domestic reckoning with Donald Trump’s role in the attacks is therefore essential but a trial—while necessary—is not sufficient alone to achieve this.”

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