Senate Republicans are making a concerted effort to quash the creation of a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Capitol attack, deeply endangering the bill’s passage amid fears about what a high-profile inquiry into the events of 6 January might uncover.

The Republican Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, has said he opposes the commission bill in its current form and several Republicans who have previously expressed support said they could no longer back it.

McConnell’s opposition brings into sharp relief the treacherous path ahead for the legislation , which Senate Democrats could introduce as soon as this week, according to a source briefed on the matter.

The reasons publicly offered by Republicans for rejecting the creation of a commission are myriad: it might impede existing congressional and justice department investigations into 6 January. It might become politicized. It might make pro-Trump rioters “look bad”.

But in the end, the stance reflects the fear from McConnell and top Senate Republicans that extending their support to an inquiry likely to find Donald Trump at fault for inciting the Capitol attack could be used as a cudgel against Republicans ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

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