House

Watchdog asks for investigation into whether Rep. Mo Brooks incited riot with rally speech

The liberal watchdog group Campaign for Accountability on Monday called for the Office of Congressional Ethics to open an investigation into whether Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) incited Wednesday’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol with a speech he made prior to rioters breaching the building.

In a letter, the group cites the conclusion of Brooks’s statement from the House floor Wednesday, which took place shortly before the siege of the Capitol.

“Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” Brooks said, adding, “Our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes and sometimes their lives to give us, their descendants, an America that is the greatest nation in world history.” He then asked the audience if they were “willing to do the same.”

The nonprofit watchdog cites Brooks’s comments in the letter, saying that it was “hardly surprising” that a mob of listeners responded to these comments by storming the Capitol.

“In light of these inflammatory calls for violent action, it is hardly surprising that listeners responded by descending on the U.S. Capitol and began to riot — using force to storm the building and prevent the Congress from carrying out its duty to count the Electoral College votes,” the letter states.

It goes on to accuse Brooks, the first House member to announce his objection to the Electoral College results, of potentially violating laws against incitement to riot, encouraging others to riot and aiding and abetting incitement of a riot.

It also claims that he may have “conspired with others, including President Trump, to use force” to prevent or delay the Electoral College certification.

The Campaign for Accountability further charges that Brooks breached House ethics rules regarding conduct that “reflects creditably on the House.”

“There can be no action that brings greater discredit to the House of Representatives than a member of Congress — who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution — inciting an angry mob to violently protest against the legitimate results of a democratic election,” the watchdog group wrote.

The letter from the group comes as a newspaper publishing in the Alabama district Brooks serves has called for his resignation. 

The Decatur Daily, on Sunday, ran an editorial that called for the lawmaker to resign.

The editorial echoes Missouri and Texas newspapers that have called for the resignations of Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who led the charge for Senate objections to the Electoral College certification.

Since the riots, Brooks has paid tribute to Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was killed in the riot, but has also used his Twitter account to promote unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that the rioters were actually antifa activists.

The Hill has reached out to Brooks’s office for comment.

Tags Alabama Campaign for Accountability Capitol breach Donald Trump Josh Hawley Mo Brooks resignation riot Ted Cruz watchdog

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