House Democrats unveil resolution to censure Rep. Mo Brooks over Capitol riots
Two House Democrats on Monday unveiled a resolution that would censure Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) for allegedly inciting the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol last week in an attempt to stop lawmakers from ratifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
The resolution from Democratic Reps. Tom Malinowski (N.J.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) states that Brooks’s address before a rally of President Trump’s supporters in front of the White House “encouraged and incited violence against his fellow Members of Congress, as part of an assault on the United States Capitol.”
During his speech before the rally last Wednesday — hours before the rioters marched from the White House to the Capitol — Brooks said that “today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”
“Because today, Republican senators and congressmen have a simple choice. Today, Republican senators and congressmen will either vote to turn America into a godless, amoral, dictatorial, oppressed and socialist nation on the decline or they will join us or they will fight and vote against voter fraud and election theft and vote for keeping America great,” Brooks said.
Malinowski said in a statement on Monday that Brooks “encouraged the mob” that endangered the lives of lawmakers, Vice President Pence, police officers, staff and others in the Capitol, while Wasserman Schultz said that Brooks helped to “fuel an insurrection against the body he serves in.”
“Censure seems too trifling a punishment in this horrific case, but it’s the minimal level of accountability Congressman Brooks should face from the same Congress he goaded rioters to assault,” Wasserman Schultz added.
Brooks was the first GOP lawmaker to announce in December that he would challenge the Electoral College results when Congress convened in a joint session on Jan. 6 to formally certify Biden’s victory over Trump.
He has been unapologetic about his role in the events leading up to last Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol, but condemned the violence.
“It never occurred to me anyone would engage in violence as a result of my speech or any others. I wanted people to go to protests. I saw what happened was horrible for the American public,” Brooks told a local Alabama TV outlet.
Dozens of other House Republicans quickly joined Brooks in his effort to challenge the election results. But a debate and vote over a given state’s presidential election result is only triggered if at least one lawmaker from both the House and Senate agrees to an objection.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged GOP senators not to join Brooks’s effort. But days before the joint session of Congress, a group of more than a dozen GOP senators led by Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) announced they would back challenges to the election results in key swing states where Biden won.
Several Democrats have called for Hawley and Cruz to resign since the rioting at the Capitol last week.
Five people died from the attack, including a Capitol Police officer. One rioter was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer while coming close to breaching the House chamber where lawmakers, staff and reporters were still inside and had not yet been evacuated.
The mob also vandalized the Capitol and ransacked congressional offices, leaving broken windows and furniture as well as graffiti and garbage in their wake.
It’s not yet clear if Democrats would take up the censure resolution or any other measure to sanction Republicans involved in challenging the election results. Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) has also filed a resolution to investigate and potentially remove Republicans from office who supported contesting battleground states’ electors.
“That’s something we ought to discuss and be thoughtful about,” said House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).
House Democrats are planning to vote Tuesday on a resolution urging Pence and Trump’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows for a president to be removed immediately if the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet agree to it.
If that effort fails, Democrats are expected to vote to impeach Trump on Wednesday for inciting the insurrection at the Capitol.
Trump, like Brooks, also addressed the crowd in front of the White House before supporters walked to the Capitol and began breaking down doors and windows to get inside in an attempt to stall the Electoral College certification.
“You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong,” Trump told the crowd while continuing to promote baseless claims that he lost the election due to voter fraud.
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