“Aid and comfort” is a mighty loaded term to use when discussing potential criminal liability of members of Congress. Especially when it relates to an incident which may result in some Americans facing sedition charges.
She’s being cagey here, conflating rhetorical support for the “stop the steal” campaign that precipitated the riot at the Capitol with material support for the rioters themselves. Remember that some House Democrats have thrown around sensational accusations lately about House Republicans having conducted “reconnaissance” tours of the building the day before the attack. It’s one thing to say, “This election was rigged!” It’s quite another to say, “Let me show you around so that you know where Pelosi’s office is when you and 5,000 other goons show up tomorrow.”
That’s what Pelosi was being asked about before she launched into her “aid and comfort” spiel. Watch, then read on.
"There's no question there were members in this body who gave aid & comfort to those, with the idea that they were embracing a lie, a lie perpetrated by POTUS, that the election did not have legitimacy" — Pelosi on if she has evidence that GOP members gave insurrectionists tours pic.twitter.com/0DYF0bjdQo
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 21, 2021
There are in fact Republican members of the House who are worried about criminal liability because of their role in the January 6 rally. Rally organizer Ali Alexander said weeks before the event that he and GOP Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, and Mo Brooks “schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting.” Biggs and Gosar were sufficiently concerned about potential legal trouble for their parts in it that they reportedly sought pardons from Trump before he left office — and didn’t get them, probably because Trump feared that would antagonize Senate Republicans as they decide whether to convict him at his impeachment trial.
The question is why Biggs and Gosar are worried. It’s unlikely that anyone will be charged for what was said at the rally itself, and realistically they couldn’t be charged for anything they said in the days or weeks before the rally since case law on incitement requires an “imminent” attack for a speaker to be liable. Are they worried about … conspiracy charges, maybe?
Litman said he expects investigators to sweep through emails and text messages, looking for indications that anyone who works at the Capitol was coordinating with the plotters. Under criminal law principles, even those with minor roles could be held liable for the worst offenses of the rioters.
“Talking it through with them is really conspiracy territory, that means you’re potentially on the hook for everything that’s reasonably foreseeable and, knowing this cast of characters it seems to me that everything from trespassing to use of weapons to incendiary devices is reasonably foreseeable,” Litman said. “If the evidence proves it, they could be on the hook for everything up to seditious conspiracy.”
Were Biggs, Gosar, and Brooks in touch with Alexander in the days or hours before the rally? What did they discuss that might make them eager for a pardon?
The most explosive claims made by Democrats have to do with the “reconnaissance tours” allegedly given by Republicans. Dem Rep. Mikie Sherrill, who first made the accusation, was coy about which Republicans supposedly gave the tours. But in the last few days fingers have been pointed at hardcore MAGA Rep. Lauren Boebert, who was just elected to her first term. Boebert has already been falsely accused of having posed in advance for photos with people who went on to riot at the Capitol. Is she being smeared again?
Now, two Democratic lawmakers say they personally saw one Republican — Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado — with a “large” group in a tunnel connected to the Capitol days before the attempted insurrection that left four rioters and one police officer dead.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) said on Monday that he and Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) had both seen Boebert in the tunnel outside the Cannon House Office Building with a group sometime in the three days before the riots. He said he didn’t know who was in the group or if anyone with Boebert later participated in the attack…
Christopher Schuler, a spokesman for Yarmuth, echoed Cohen’s story, saying Yarmuth was walking through the Cannon Tunnel back to his office on either Jan. 3 or 4 when he spotted Boebert walking “in the direction of the Capitol” surrounded by a group. Schuler added Yarmuth is unsure whether the group of people was actually with Boebert.
Boebert was indignant after Cohen singled her out. “I brought my family to the Capitol on January 2nd for a tour and on the 3rd for pictures to commemorate the day I was sworn in as a Member of the U.S. Congress,” she said in a statement. “Again, the only people I have ever had in the Capitol with me during the 117th Congress are my young children, husband, mom, aunt and uncle.” She also condemned the violence at the Capitol as “indefensible” and said the “criminals” involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It seems perfectly plausible that she’d be showing her family around the Capitol on her first or second day as a congresswoman. If Democrats are drumming up rumors of some sort of “inside job” led by Boebert based on nothing more than this, they’re engaged in one of the nastiest political hits ever executed against a freshman. They may hate her because she’s MAGA but that doesn’t make her an accessory to terrorism, needless to say.
One interesting wrinkle about Boebert, though, is that her chief spokesman resigned shortly after the attack, having spent just a few weeks on the job. Quote:
In his Jan. 15 resignation letter, which was obtained by Newsline, Goldey wrote to Boebert’s chief of staff, Jeff Small, “The past week has been especially difficult in D.C. and across our Country. Scenes from the events of January 6th have replayed in my mind in a way that I had not anticipated. The destruction that took place, which the President of the United States bears responsibility for, has left me dismayed, discouraged, and downright angry.” He continued: “The Congresswoman deserves a team that is aligned with her message and goals. I will not be that person.”
He surely knew that Boebert was a MAGA “stop the steal” diehard before he took the job. Why did he suddenly head for the hills after the attack, especially with Boebert condemning it unequivocally?
I’ll leave you with Pelosi trying to reconcile her interest in impeachment with Biden’s “heal America” message.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on impeaching Trump for incitement of insurrection despite calls for "unity":
“I don’t think it’s very unifying to say ‘oh, let’s just forget it and move on.’ That’s not how you unify." pic.twitter.com/8EYFUeFOYq
— The Recount (@therecount) January 21, 2021