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House Republicans who helped Capitol Hill rioters could be prosecuted - Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi said there was “strong interest” in Congress for a 9/11-style investigation of the attack on the Capitol.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during a press conference at the US Capitol.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during a press conference at the US Capitol.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

A HANDFUL OF House Republicans loyal to Donald Trump are under scrutiny for their role in potentially coordinating with hardline activists who helped plan the action on Capitol Hill.

“If in fact it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection, if they aided and abetted the crime,” US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress in terms of prosecution.”

The inspectors-general of various federal departments – including Homeland Security, Justice and Defense – also announced their own internal investigations yesterday to assess their preparations and response to the 6 January violence.

They will seek to determine what information was available before the riot, how it was circulated among the various federal law enforcement agencies, and their reactions on the day, they said in statements, adding that they will coordinate their investigations.

Five people died in the violent unrest generated by Trump’s supporters, whom he urged to march on Congress and “fight like hell” to save the country and stop President-elect Joe Biden from taking office on 20 January.

trump-supporters-storm-us-capitol Rioters clash with police while trying to enter the Capitol Hill building. Source: Lev Radin

“We must subject this whole complex to scrutiny in light of what happened, and the fact that the inauguration is coming,” Pelosi told reporters, referring to Biden’s upcoming swearing-in on the steps of Capitol Hill, where rioters fought with police.

Capitol Hill security has come under heavy criticism since the attack, as protesters were able to easily enter the building and create chaos for several hours before being dislodged.

Questions focus on the existence of information that the FBI did not circulate to its partners, and the slowness with which the Pentagon deployed National Guard soldiers.

“To that end, I have asked retired lieutenant general Russel Honore to lead an immediate review of security infrastructure, inter-agency processes, and command and control,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi said that retired general Russel Honore, who coordinated the Hurricane Katrina response, will oversee an immediate security review of the US Capitol riot.

She also said there was “strong interest” in Congress for a 9/11-style investigation of the unprecedented attack on the Capitol, which led to the swift second impeachment Wednesday of President Donald Trump.

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“Justice is called for,” she said.

But Pelosi declined to reveal when she will send the article of impeachment – for “incitement of insurrection” – over to the Senate, a process that would trigger a trial of the president.

“You’ll be the first to know when we announce that we’re going over there,” she told reporters.

She described Honore as “a respected leader with experience dealing with crises,” including the military relief response along the Gulf Coast when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.

The 80-year-old speaker said that while the entire Congress remained passionate in its reaction to the deadly Capitol violence, “we must be very dispassionate in how we make decisions to go forward for security, security, security.”

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AFP

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