House

Jayapal asks for ethics investigation into Boebert, Gosar, Brooks

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) on Wednesday called for ethics investigations into GOP Reps. Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.) and Mo Brooks (Ala.) over what she described as their involvement in “instigating and aiding” the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

In letters sent to the House Committee on Ethics and the Office of Congressional Ethics, Jayapal laid out conduct she said helped fuel the insurrection and which she said the bodies should “thoroughly investigate.”

“It is critical for the functioning of Congress — and therefore the functioning of our democracy — that this investigation is conducted,” wrote Jayapal. “I urge the House Committee on Ethics and the Office of Congressional Ethics to thoroughly investigate Representatives Boebert, Brooks, and Gosar’s conduct, and refer any appropriate findings to the Department of Justice.”

In each of the letters, Jayapal listed rhetoric and actions she said contributed to fueling the mob, which ransacked the Capitol in a failed attempt to halt Congress’s certification of the Electoral College results showing Joe Biden defeating Donald Trump in the November presidential election. 

Jayapal noted that Boebert released a video of her walking around federal buildings with a firearm and that the morning of the riot she tweeted that “today is 1776,” referencing the Revolutionary War.

“Five minutes after insurrectionists first breached the Capitol, Representative Boebert tweeted from inside the House chamber, ‘We were locked in the House Chambers’ at 2:17 p.m.,” the Washington Democrat wrote. “She then tweeted a minute later, ‘Speaker has been removed from the chambers.’ She was one of only two Members, the other being Representative Mo Brooks (AL-O5), who tweeted the location of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

Jayapal also alerted the panels to Gosar’s public relationship with Ali Alexander, a far-right provocateur who helped organize the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally that morphed into a mob, and that he tweeted to his followers urging them to “hold the line.”

She also highlighted that Brooks spearheaded the House effort to object to the Electoral College results and told the throng of Trump supporters on Jan. 6 that “today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.” 

“It’s clear — what I believe to be clear violation of our ethical standards and our responsibilities as members of Congress. That is what the House Ethics Committee can look at,” Jaypal told CNN, which was the first to report on her letters. “But I also think that there are other pieces here that are even beyond just service in the House that are federal statutes. And so that’s why we asked for the referrals to the Department of Justice.” 

Gosar and Brooks did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while Boebert swatted away the letters.

“Rep. Jaypal needs to spend more time investigating the insurrection that took place in her own district over the summer and less time trying to connect me to the attack on our Capitol that I have repeatedly condemned,” Boebert said in a statement to The Hill, referencing social justice protests that occurred in Washington state.

All three lawmakers have denied responsibility for fueling the insurrection. Boebert has said that claims of her involvement are “categorically false,” and Brooks has said his rhetoric was aimed at highlighting what he says was voter fraud, not actually provoking physical violence. 

Gosar tweeted during the riot for the insurrectionists to “not get carried away,” though he has couched his language more since, saying on Parler afterwards that “Americans are upset,” according to CNN.

The letters from Jayapal underscore the withering trust on Capitol Hill, particularly in the House, between Democrats and Republicans. Some Democrats have said they’ll refuse to work with Republicans who voted to overturn the election results in January, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) released a sprawling report listing social media posts by Republican lawmakers who voted against certifying the Electoral College tally. 

“Like former President Trump, any elected Member of Congress who aided and abetted the insurrection or incited the attack seriously threatened our democratic government. They would have betrayed their oath of office and would be implicated in the same constitutional provision cited in the Article of Impeachment,” Lofgren wrote. “That provision prohibits any person who has previously taken an oath as a member of Congress to support the Constitution but subsequently engaged in insurrection or rebellion from serving in Congress.”

Tags 2020 2020 election Bernie Sanders Capitol breach capitol hill riot Capitol insurrection Capitol riot Donald Trump Joe Biden Kamala Harris Lauren Boebert Mo Brooks Nancy Pelosi Paul Gosar Pramila Jayapal Zoe Lofgren

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