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Democrats want to create committee to investigate possible Michigan ties to Jan 6 insurrection

Interior of the state Capitol's rotunda.
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

What possible connections did Michigan have to the January 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection? That's a question Democratic state lawmakers are hoping to answer. Democratic leadership filed a resolution on Tuesday calling for the creation of a bipartisan joint committee to investigate potential ties in the state to the events of January 6.

The committee would have twelve members, six from the House and six from the Senate, with party leadership selecting three members from each chamber. The committee would be able to administer oaths, issue subpoenas, and examine records related to Michiganders’ roles in the insurrection. 

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) said lawmakers have been having conversations about both the January 6 insurrection and events in Michigan preceding the insurrection. Of special cause for concern was the presence of armed protesters in the state capitol building in Lansing in April 2020.

"You know, I think it’s important that we determine, or help determine if there was a link between what happened here, if April was a dress rehearsal for what happened in January," Ananich said.

House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) agreed with Ananich's assessment, saying that events in Michigan could absolutely have been connected to the insurrection, and that Michigan legislators should take all the steps to investigate those events.

"We have had members of our chambers who brought false electors to the Capitol steps to slow the peaceful transfer of power. And we've had legislators, 15, who joined a lawsuit to overturn the 2020 presidential election. We have seen members of Congress participate with and encourage militia members on their messaging. We know there are a lot of questions that need to be answered when we look at the instigation, the incitement, and the results of an insurrection in our nation's capitol on January 6th. And Michigan plays a role in that. And we need to understand how to prevent that from ever happening again," she said.

Ananich plans to draw on personal experience being on the joint committee to investigate the Flint water crisis. He said that at first, Republican lawmakers didn't want to form a committee on Flint either, but they came to see the value in the work the committee did.

"We can actually sit down in a professional way, bring in witnesses, find out information, and inform the public to make sure we don’t let this happen again. I’ve started off behind before, and figured out a way to convince people, so that’s what I plan on trying to do," Ananich said.

Ananich and Lasinski emphasized that there would be no set outcome for the committee to find, and that it would take bipartisan efforts from lawmakers to decide what questions need to be asked and what actions need to be taken.

Gideon D'Assandro, spokesman for Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth (R-Clare), provided the following statement in response to the resolution:

"The only reason a state legislator would be the one to investigate what happened 3000 miles away at the literal seat of another government is for political grandstanding. It's that or Leader Lasinski trusts Merrick Garland even less than Mitch McConnell did. Either way, the speaker is not interested in this stunt."

Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.
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