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House GOP bristles as a Jan. 6 investigation lands in its lap

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In the days after the deadly Capitol attack on Jan. 6, tension among House Republicans was so high that one of them privately suggested some GOP colleagues be punished for their roles in encouraging the riot.

This GOP lawmaker drafted a list of about half a dozen fellow Republicans who had cheered on the pro-Donald Trump rally that turned violent that day, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the maneuver. The sources said Reps. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) were on the list but declined to identify its author — a sign that the scars from the insurrection remain deeply painful for members of both parties.

But the fact that the list even made the rounds, in hindsight, shows how sharply the political winds have turned for Republicans reckoning with Trump's legacy and future. Only 10 House Republicans voted to impeach the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 riot, and most have said little since on the matter. There is close to zero appetite within their party now to break with Trump.

And Trump is once again the GOP's undisputed kingmaker, holding rallies and flexing his grassroots fundraising might as he seeks to influence Republican primary campaigns. House Democrats are likely to take full advantage of that political reality as they move ahead with a select committee to examine the siege on Congress.

Which leaves Republicans with a big challenge: how to discredit and distance themselves from that investigation — which moderates and conservatives alike are criticizing as a partisan setup — and retake the House in 2022, a tantalizingly close possibility that would doom President Joe Biden's domestic agenda.

“Unfortunately, right now, it seems like we're incapable of having the serious or the real conversations about these things because everybody's trying to utilize it for electoral gain one way or the other,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said in an interview.

Trump allies, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are already........

© Politico

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