New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday called for a full investigation into the riots that ravaged Capitol Hill on Wednesday, urging federal officials to hold anyone in the White House or Congress responsible who may have played a role in encouraging violence.
James is also asking acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to probe the legal culpability of President Trump, his family members and associates, in peddling what she termed “wild conspiracy theories that led to these acts of terror and sedition.”
“The president swore an oath to protect this nation against all enemies, foreign or domestic, but this week he led an attack on the greatest symbol of our democratic republic,” James said in a statement. “Not since foreign invaders attacked the Capitol more than 200 years ago has Washington, DC been attacked.”
James pointed to Trump’s words to supporters that they would never “take back our country with weakness” as inflammatory, and seeming to invite insurrection.
Further, James said the government needs to identify and investigate each participant in the riot who can be prosecuted for “a violent incursion onto government property with the express intention of hindering the certification of a lawful election.”
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Trump released a second video message on Twitter on Thursday in which he condemned the rioters and promised that participants who “broke the law” would “pay.”
He also acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden would take over the presidency later this month, after weeks of repeating unproven claims that he has been fraudulently cheated out of victory. With an eye toward the future, Trump called for calm and a peaceful transition of power.
But for many lawmakers, and members of his administration, the message is too little too late. Trump’s refusal to condemn the violence on Wednesday led some to resign from their administrative posts, while longtime Republican allies, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., repudiated his rhetoric.
There are calls to invoke the 25th Amendment or to impeach Trump in order to remove himfrom office less than two weeks before Biden’s inauguration day.
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