Pelosi: Any GOP lawmakers who ‘aided and abetted’ Capitol rioters should be prosecuted
Several House Democrats have suggested their GOP colleagues may have aided Capitol rioters by providing them with tours of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 5. Pelosi said the role Republican members may have played in the insurrection “will be looked into” to determine whether they respected their oath of office or even broke the law.
“If, in fact, it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection — if they aided and abetted the crime, there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress in terms of prosecution for that,” Pelosi said Friday at a news conference at the Capitol.
Pelosi’s comments came two days after the House voted to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection” after a mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 in a failed attempt to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden‘s Electoral College win.
Five people died, including Capitol Police Office Brian D. Sicknick, 42, who was reportedly hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during a struggle with rioters.
The House voted 232-197 to impeach the president. Ten Republicans joined with Democrats.
Pelosi declined to say when she will send over the article of impeachment to the Senate, which will spark a trial and slow down the Senate’s work of confirming Biden’s Cabinet nominations. But her nine impeachment managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., are preparing now to make the case for Trump’s conviction, she said.
“Right now, our managers are solemnly and prayerfully preparing for the trial, which they will take to the Senate,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi said the House is conducting oversight of the attack in committees and said there is “strong interest” in forming a 9/11-style independent commission. In the meantime, Pelosi has asked retired Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré to lead an immediate review of Capitol security.
The attack at the Capitol included rioters waving a Confederate flag and wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt. Pelosi said the “disgusting” image of the Nazi glorification was particularly galling and dehumanizing.
Pelosi called the insurrection a “White supremacist raid on this Capitol” that requires an “after-action review to assign responsibility to those who are part of organizing it and incentivizing it.”
She said Congress is always prepared to protect the United States from all enemies that are foreign, but this attack reminds everyone that the Constitution requires protection from domestic enemies as well.
“We really lost our innocence in this,” Pelosi said.
There’s growing interest among Democrats to penalize their GOP colleagues who either led the effort on Jan. 6 to try to decertify Biden’s win or those who may have helped rioter organizers.
Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., has introduced a resolution to expel members of Congress who sought to overturn the election results and incited the violence at the Capitol. “I firmly believe that these members are in breach of their sworn oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Bush said. “They must be held accountable.”
More than 30 House Democrats signed a letter suggesting several Republican colleagues may have aided Capitol rioters by providing them with tours of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 5 but have yet to flesh out their accusations, following inquiries from Fox News.
House Democrats on Wednesday requested an immediate probe into “suspicious behavior” and access that they claimed was given to visitors at the U.S. Capitol a day before the riot. Thirty-four lawmakers led by Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J. — who first went public with the “reconnaissance” tour claims — urged the Capitol Police and the acting House and Senate sergeants-at-arms to look into the matter in a letter.
“I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him, those members of Congress who had groups coming through the capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 for reconnaissance for the next day. Those members of Congress who incited the violent crowd. Those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy, I’m going see that they’re held accountable,” Sherrill said on Tuesday.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Evie Fordham contributed to this report.