After Riot, Pelosi Details Security Review and Warns of 'Prosecution' for Possible 'Accomplices' in Congress
The "security infrastructure" of the U.S. Capitol building will soon be under review
Speaking in a press conference Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the "security infrastructure" of the U.S. Capitol would be under review following last week's deadly pro-Donald Trump riot, which put the lives of lawmakers (including the vice president) at risk.
"We must subject this whole complex to scrutiny in light of what happened and the fact that the inauguration is coming," Pelosi said. "Members are moving forward with strong oversight from committees, of course, to have after-action review. There is strong interest in the Congress in a 9/11-type commission — an outside commission to conduct that after-action review."
Pelosi said the review would be led by retired Lt. General Russel Honoré, who previously led the Defense Department's response to Hurricane Katrina.
Capitol Police announced Friday they had opened an investigation into whether members of Congress inappropriately gave visitors access to the building ahead of the mob violence on Jan. 6, when throngs of Trump supporters overwhelmed law enforcement during a joint session of Congress. Five people died.
In her Friday remarks, Pelosi said, "If in fact it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection — if they aided and abetted the crimes — there may have to be action taken beyond the Congress in terms of prosecution for that."
Some Democrats have accused their Republican colleagues of helping to orchestrate the events, with 34 representatives in the House of Representatives signing a letter to Capitol Police earlier this week in which they asked law enforcement to investigate what they called "suspicious behavior" in the Capitol complex ahead of the events.
"Many of the Members who signed this letter ... witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, January 5," the lawmakers wrote. "The visitors encountered by some of the Members of Congress on this letter appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day ... the ties between these groups inside the Capitol Complex and the attacks on the Capitol need to be investigated."
Speaking on Facebook Live on Tuesday, Rep. Mikie Sherrill said she had witnessed several members of Congress leading groups through the Capitol on Jan. 5, one day before rioting.
The New Jersey congresswoman referred to what she witnessed as "reconnaissance" tours.
One week after the attack at the Capitol, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump, 74, for the second time during his term in office.
The House voted 232-197 in favor of his second impeachment, on one charge of "incitement of insurrection," after he incited the rioting over his baseless claims of election fraud.
Trump had called on a group of his supporters on Jan. 6 to "fight like hell" and march to the Capitol, where the House and Senate had gathered to ratify the Nov. 3 election.
The mob temporarily delayed that process while lawmakers were evacuated as the rioters breached Capitol doors, ransacked offices and assaulted police.
Speaking to members of Congress earlier this week prior to the House vote to impeach Trump, Pelosi said: "We know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection. He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love."