National Security

Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled

Democratic lawmakers are renewing calls to expel any member of Congress implicated in the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol following reporting that witnesses recently informed congressional investigators of their coordination with lawmakers.

A Sunday story from Rolling Stone didn't directly tie lawmakers to the violent assault, but two sources who spoke to the outlet instead detailed multiple meetings with members of Congress to coordinate contesting the election results and plan the rallies that preceded the attack.

The sources reportedly have met with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

They outlined "dozens" of planning briefings, adding that those who either participated or sent top staffers include GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Madison Cawthorn (N.C.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Louie Gohmert (Texas.).

The sources also told the magazine that Mark Meadows, former President Trump's chief of staff, played a significant role in discussions regarding the protests ahead of Jan. 6.

Many of the GOP lawmakers listed in the piece have denied involvement, but the report led to a flood of calls from their Democratic colleagues to remove from office anyone found to be involved in the attack.

"Any member of Congress who helped plot a terrorist attack on our nation's Capitol must be expelled," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wrote on Twitter. 

"This was a terror attack. 138 injured, almost 10 dead. Those responsible remain a danger to our democracy, our country, and human life in the vicinity of our Capitol and beyond," she added.

Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) suggested GOP members' involvement would violate their oath of office.

"Every member of Congress takes an oath to defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Any member who helped plan or was complicit in the Jan. 6 insurrection violated that oath, and should be immediately removed from office," she wrote.

Others recently subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee previously implicated lawmakers in the planning.

Ali Alexander, a Stop the Steal founder who secured a permit to protest on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, is one of the rally planners who has been the most vocal about his alleged coordination with lawmakers, posting live streams saying he had discussions with Brooks, Biggs and Gosar.

"I was the one that came up with the Jan. 6 idea," he said in a video.

"We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting," he added.

But the two sources told Rolling Stone that Gosar in particular dangled the prospect of pardons for those involved in the planning.

"No one should be above the law, including Members of Congress and former White House Staff," Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted. "And if pardons were indeed discussed in advance, why would that be? Because folks knew crimes were about to be committed."

Some see the article as an indication lawmakers did more than just spur the attack through rhetoric.

"A cabal of Republicans not only incited but also aided and abetted the insurrection against the US Capitol during the electoral college vote count. There's no place for insurrectionists in the US Congress. Expel any and all accomplices," Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) wrote on Twitter.

The Jan. 6 committee has issued a subpoena to Meadows, who they say has been "engaging" with the committee.

While it has not yet issued any subpoenas to members of Congress, it has asked social media and communications companies to preserve a number of records, including those that may belong to lawmakers.

Some have already sought to establish pathways to removal for those who are ultimately implicated. 

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) previously introduced a resolution calling for the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether "actions taken by Members of the 117th Congress seeking to overturn the 2020 Presidential election violated their oath of office."

"My resolution to investigate and expel the Members of Congress who helped incite the deadly insurrection on our Capitol is just waiting for a vote," she wrote Monday. 

"It's inexcusable to wait any longer," she said.

It would take a two-thirds vote to remove any lawmaker from office, a difficult prospect with Democrats holding just eight more seats than Republicans. 

"I'm disgusted that I have to call some of these people colleagues," Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) wrote. 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) recounted her experience that day when making a similar call.

"On January 6th, I didn't know if I would make it out alive. Anyone and everyone involved in the planning and execution of the deadliest attack on our Capitol since the War of 1812 must be held fully accountable - full stop," she tweeted.

Greene in a statement said she and her staff were solely focused on objecting to the certification of the Electoral College vote and "had nothing to do with the planning of any protest."

A spokesman for Biggs similarly said he "has addressed the events of Jan. 6th several times and has made his lack of involvement abundantly clear."

Gohmert also denied involvement, releasing a statement that falsely accused the FBI of being involved in coordinating the Jan. 6 attack. 

"No one in my office, including me, participated in the planning of the rally or in any criminal activity on Jan. 6," he wrote. 

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