House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said former President Donald Trump could be an accessory to murder after this month’s deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol.
In an interview with MSNBC that aired Tuesday night, Pelosi accused Trump of inciting and inspiring the violent insurrection on Jan. 6 that left five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, dead. Another police officer involved in the Capitol’s defense died while off duty in the days following the attack, officials said.
“President’s words are important, they weigh a ton,” Pelosi said of Trump, who repeatedly made false claims about election fraud and urged his followers to “fight” shortly before they attacked. “And if you’re Donald Trump talking to these people, they believe it and they used his words to come here.”
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The California Democrat added that if it were proven that some members of Congress collaborated with the group that stormed the Capitol, they — as well as Trump — would be accessories to crimes committed during the siege.
“When we talk about ‘Did any of our colleagues collaborate?’ Well, that remains to be seen,” she said. “We have to get the evidence of that. And if they did, they would be accessory to the crime. And the crime, in some cases, was murder And this president is an accessory to that crime because he instigated that insurrection that caused those deaths and this destruction.”
Several officials, including Washington Attorney General Karl Racine, have suggested they’re looking into whether to charge Trump for the alleged role he played in inciting violence, Pelosi is the first to suggest that Trump would be an accessory to murder.
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Her comments came hours before Trump’s final day in office and ahead of the inauguration of President Biden on Wednesday. Washington remains on strict lockdown, with more than 20,000 National Guard members deployed, in the wake of the insurrection.
House Democrats, joined by 10 Republicans, voted to impeach Trump last week on a charge of incitement of insurrection. It’s unclear when Pelosi will send the article of impeachment to the Senate to start a trial, but has indicated it will be “soon.”
Top GOP lawmakers have criticized Trump for the insurrection, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying Tuesday that the former president had “provoked” the mob.
“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said. “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.”
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