Over many years and in many contexts I have argued that in cases of great public corruption and wrongdoing we place far too much emphasis and priority on criminal investigations and too little on public investigations and accountings. Both kinds of inquiry have their place. Generally both can ride in their own lane and not interfere with each other. But to the extent they bump up against each other we should prioritize the public investigations.
Take the Mueller probe. Our public interest in this or that person serving a few months or years in prison is far less than our public interest in finding out what happened and who is responsible for it. Criminal investigations are, rightly, highly secretive. Their mandate is rightly limited. That leaves the public interest too often out in the cold.
As I said, this is a longstanding belief of one and one that applies in numerous cases. But it has a particular relevance to the controversy over a Jan 6th Insurrection. Republicans are using every argument they know to deny, diminish and ‘move on’ from what happened on January 6th. Because they did it. Opposing a commission is just one part of that.
But there’s more to it than that.