Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed bipartisan efforts to set up an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, setting up a showdown with Democrats that could reverberate in the 2022 campaigns for Congress.

McConnell accused Democrats of trying to drag out a debate about former President Donald Trump’s role in the siege staged by his supporters as they try to hold control of the House and Senate in next year’s election.

“They would like to continue to litigate the former president into the future,” the Kentucky Republican said Tuesday. “We think the American people, going forward, and in the fall of ‘22, ought to focus on what this administration is doing to the country, and what the clear choice is that we have made to oppose most of these initiatives.”

McConnell’s dismissal of the commission as “a purely political exercise” came as a group of Republicans, led by Susan Collins of Maine, were trying to tweak the House-passed version of a bill to establish the inquiry to gain GOP support. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday night set up a procedural vote that could take place as soon as this week.

“We have to get it passed,” he said on the Senate floor. “Each member of the Senate is going to have to stand up and decide: Are you on the side of truth and accountability, or are you on the side of Donald Trump and the big lie?”

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