The role of congressmen, possibly playing a role in facilitating the devastating attack, received a lot of attention this week after Democrats accused Republican colleagues. Some facilitated a trip to government agencies on Jan. 5 – a day before protesters joined in the attacks on terrorist lawmakers. Parliamentary office and resulted in the deaths of up to five
Representative Mikie Sherrill (DN.J.) sent an official letter on Wednesday asking the police, Congress, and congressional officials to review the tour, which she said was unusual in a Facebook video. “The next day’s patrol”
“The tour, which took place on Tuesday, January 5, is very clear and about the departure from stages as of March 2020, which limits the number of visitors to the Capitol,” wrote Sherrill and his 33 colleagues. The visit that some members of Congress found in the letter appear to be related to the next day̵7;s White House rally. “
Cherrill suggested the access raised the possibility that visitors were casing the building for the next day’s attack.
“The members of the group that attacked the Capitol appeared to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex,” she wrote. “Based on the events of Jan. 6, the relationship between these groups within the Capitol Complex and the attacks on the Capitol needed to be realized. Get verified “
Justice Department officials said they were looking for “all actors” involved in the congressional uprising. The FBI also urged the public to release evidence about those who “incited” violence.
Asked if the investigation included potentially complicated lawmakers, a Justice Department spokesperson referred questions to the FBI, who did not respond to a request for comment.
The chief organizer of Stop the Steal, one of the groups behind the Jan. 6 protests that ended in a violent attack on government agencies, claimed to work with several Republicans in the House of Commons. To organize an event But it remains to be seen whether any coordination before last week’s rally will extend into collusion in the attack on Congress.
Democrats have added a number of potential ways to punish GOP lawmakers who may have taken part in inciting or directing riots, from congressional investigations to criminal sanctions.
“I hope we can understand whether there are internal jobs, whether they are members or teams, or anyone working in government agencies, which helps these attackers better navigate to government agencies. It will be investigated, ”Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) Said on Wednesday MSNBC Swalwell called GOP lawmakers exclusively on Twitter, such as Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Col.), As it appeared to reveal the move. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the attack.
“To put the Ethics Committee to hell, these people will face criminal charges,” said Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (DN.Y.) on the same network.
The issue also emerged during a historic litigation debate in the home, where Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) Said some of his colleagues “could have been an accomplice.”
An attorney with experience in complicated criminal prosecution said anyone helping rioters explore City Hall could face serious charges.
“It’s deadly,” said former federal prosecutor Harry Litman. “It’s like having the troops move towards the enemy.”
Litman said he expects investigators to purge emails and texts, looking for any indication that anyone working at the Capitol is coordinating with the planners. Under criminal law, even those with minor roles could be held liable for the worst offenses of rioters.
“Talking to them is really a conspiracy area, that means you could be hooked up for anything reasonably forward-looking, and as I know this character, it looks like everything from the invasion to the use of weapons. So far the incendiary device can be reasonably predictable, ”said Litman.“ If the evidence is proof, then they could interfere with a conspiracy. ”
Machen said more evidence was needed to develop. But there are hints of possible cases of rescuing and supporting the rioters.
“If Congress is leading the rebels around the Capitol a day before the attack, and there is compelling evidence of conspiracy to breach if the members of Congress are helping and supporting people trying to attack the agency Of the state and interfering with endorsement of the election It’s as close to the heart of a joint sedition charge as you hope to find, ”said the former US lawyer.
Some lawyers said controversial remarks by President Donald Trump, Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani and Representative Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) To the crowd that Participating in a brief rebellion for a short time later may be covered by the First Amendment. Hot speeches are not uncommon in political events, and making speakers accountable for all actions of audience members can calm a public discussion.
But the former prosecutor said any criminal case against Trump or lawmakers would not be based solely on a speech. Rather, it is other public and private communications, e-mails and messages exchanged with organizers and supporters on the days leading up to the rally and on the day. Shocking attacks The researchers will be looking for discussions about central building mayhem and for any indication that each member is specifically targeted.
Several veteran lawyers have noted that Washington political actors will be prosecuted and that local juries are unlikely to sympathize with the claim that the speaker is flirty and does not commit a crime.
“I guess the jury won’t find it very reliable. And these cases are going to be tried in DC and the jury will not buy them, ”Zeidenberg said.
The Congress’ investigation faces special challenges. Lawmakers can attempt to use constitutional speeches or debates that provide limited immunity to members of the House of Commons and senators to prevent investigators from accessing communications related to their official duties.
In 2007, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals strongly criticized prosecutors for conducting a search for Agent William Jefferson’s office (D-La.) As part of a corruption investigation. The judge said members of Congress had the right to give advance notice of such searches and review materials that investigators wanted to seize.
However, Zeidenberg said he was confident those obstacles could be overcome. “There was no comprehensive sentence, speech or discussion that contained elements of breaking into government,” he said.
With the number of individuals facing charges now above 70 and still climbing, investigators may not need to be communicated by lawmakers or their offices in the first instance. But it can be obtained from the email account and the device of the riot suspect.
“The first people to work together get the best treatment,” said Joyce Vance, a former US lawyer in Alabama. “Once they’ve identified the people who got in, they wanted to change what they were. They have it either because they have nothing to hide or because they want a deal so it shouldn’t be difficult to get those communications. ”
Some lawyers said the key question may not be whether the jury will decide the punishment. But Justice Department officials, including Biden’s nominee Merrick Garland or not, decided that evidence of the collaboration was strong enough to overcome concerns about intrusion in the usual strong protections for speaking. Independently.
“It’s a big buffer for political speech and that’s going to be a big part of what Garland has to look at. But this is like something I have never seen from political leaders, ”said Lithman of Trump’s speech at the rally.“ It was a stronger case than the classic court-down case in equation’s political speech. The ”
In a speech before the attack, Trump urged his followers to “fight like hell.” However, Vance said a bill from the president or former president based on his views at the rally would be a challenge.
“They are sensitive, stand alone to the interpretation of them as hyperbolic,” she said. “It’s the course of action you need enough to prove the intent of sedition. … This is difficult, and I’m not sure it is a realistic expectation that the President of the United States will be indicted for sedition without an actual smoking gun. ”