Pelosi seeks criminal charges for lawmakers complicit in Capitol riots
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says members of Congress found to have been complicit in the storming of the Capitol should face prosecution.
Since the riots by US President Donald Trump’s loyalists at the Capitol on January 6, a number of Democrats have voiced suspicions that some Republicans might have helped the protesters logistically in the days leading up to the violence in which five people died.
Pelosi said on Friday the violence perpetrated must be scrutinized and lead to prosecutions of sitting lawmakers.
"We must trust each other, respect the people who sent us here. We must also have the truth, and that will be looked into," she said.
"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,” she added.
She has tasked Russel Honore, a retired general who coordinated Hurricane Katrina, with leading a review of security at the Capitol.
The Democrats claimed either they or their aides had witnessed "an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex" on January 5, a night before the Capitol blockade. They said some of them reappeared during the march on the Capitol the following day.
"Members of the group that attacked the Capitol seemed to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex," the Democrats wrote. "The presence of these groups within the Capitol Complex was indeed suspicious.
"Given the events of January 6, the ties between these groups inside the Capitol Complex and the attacks on the Capitol need to be investigated,” they added.
The top Democrat was speaking two days after the House impeached Trump over a charge of incitement of insurrection that led to the storming of the Capitol.
Pelosi declined to say when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate that will trigger Trump's trial there.
She said justice is called for but at the same time the country is in transition, referring to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden next Wednesday.
Trump had encouraged his loyalists to “be wild” and “fight like hell…to take back our county” before the Congress certify Biden's victory in the November 3, 2020 election.