House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, Jan. 19, said President Trump could be an accessory to murder after the U.S. Capitol breach.
“Presidents’ words are important. They weigh a ton,” Pelosi referred to the president’s speech that he gave to his supporters on Jan. 6 before a group of rioters stormed the Capitol building that led to 5 deaths. “And they used his words to come here.”
In lightning-quick proceedings, House Democrats, joined by 10 Republicans, voted to impeach President Trump last week for “incitement of insurrection.” In the speech that day, President Trump told his supporters to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard” at the Capital.
Pelosi said that if there were evidence of collusion between some Congress members with members of the group that attacked the Capitol, they and the president would be accessories to the crimes committed during the riot.
“And the crime, in some cases, was murder,” Pelosi said. “And this president is an accessory to that crime because he instigated that insurrection that caused those deaths and this destruction.”
Black Lives Matter activist and Antifa member John Sullivan was arrested last week for participating “knowingly and willfully” in illegal conduct when he breached the Capitol on Jan. 6. According to an affidavit, Sullivan incited violence amongst the rioters to cause destruction.
Pelosi has not yet transmitted the article of impeachment to the Senate. It is unclear precisely when an impeachment trial in the upper chamber will begin. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday squarely laid the blame on President Trump.
“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government, which they did not like. But we pressed on.”
Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz, who defended President Trump at his first Senate impeachment trial, said that the House violated the Constitution while impeaching the president and called the vote “political theater.” He said he believes there will be “no trial or a one-day trial without any real role for a lawyer” in the Senate and predicted that the impeachment would die in the upper chamber.
President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani previously said he would be part of the president’s defense team for the Senate’s upcoming impeachment trial. On Monday, he said he would not join the team.
“Due to the fact that I may be a witness, the rules of legal ethics would prohibit me from representing the President as trial counsel in the impeachment trial,” Giuliani said in a statement to The Hill.
President Trump is expected to participate in a farewell ceremony on Wednesday morning at Joint Base Andrews just outside the nation’s capital. He will then make his departure aboard Air Force One for Florida.