House Democrats are poised to adopt legislation to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Capitol attack, in a move that will force Republicans to either embrace an inquiry that could embarrass Donald Trump – or turn a blind eye to a deadly insurrection.

The proposal, endorsed by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, would establish a 10-member commission evenly split between Democrats and Republicans – and allow the top ranking members from each party to jointly authorize subpoenas, in addition to doing so by majority vote.

Crucially, it would focus narrowly on facts and causes relating to the attack on the Capitol on 6 January by a pro-Trump mob and the interference with the peaceful transition of power. Five people died amid scenes of chaos and violence that shocked the US and the world.

Whether Democrats can seize the moment and push the legislation through Congress remains unclear. The Democratic-led House is likely to swiftly adopt the bill, but it could falter in the 50-50 Senate should Republicans insist on a commission with a mandate to investigate their own political priorities.

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