In the same breath the Republicans called for the nation to move on, they also complained bitterly about the unraveling of Trump’s signature policies under the new administration.
WASHINGTON (CN) — The House has yet to send the article of impeachment against the 45th president to the Senate, now also controlled by Democrats, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it only a matter of time Thursday.
Pelosi said it was Congress’ responsibility to protect the Constitution after former President Trump committed an impeachable act, the incitement of an insurrection, when he urged supporters to “fight like hell” on Jan. 6, hours before they laid siege to the U.S. Capitol.
“I don’t think it’s very unifying to say, ‘oh let’s just forget it,’ and move on,” Pelosi said. “That’s not how you unify. Joe Biden said it beautifully, ‘if you’re going to unite, you must remember.’”
No longer in control of the White House or the Senate, Republican leadership have warned that continued focus on Trump will only further sow division in a nation whose deep fractures were laid bare in the last election.
Offering little more than lip service when it comes to such unity, however, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy held a press conference directly following Pelosi’s on Thursday where he slammed the many executive actions that President Joe Biden signed in the hours after his inauguration.
McCarthy said Americans must ask “if the plans from the Biden administration are helping the American people when they need it most.”
“That’s why I was disappointed to see within hours of assuming office the new administration was more interested in helping illegal immigrants than helping our own citizens,” McCarthy said. “More interested in virtue signals to the climate activists than supporting the union workers who are building the Keystone pipeline.”
As for whether Trump had any role in inciting the January 6 assault on the Capitol, McCarthy and Pelosi disagree on the supporting evidence.
“I don’t believe he provoked it, if you listen to what he said at the rally,” he said.
McCarthy did seem to agree with his California counterpart though about the need to prosecute any member of Congress who participated in the riot.
“I do not know of any member who has done that,” McCarthy said. “And this is why I called for, last week after this happened, a bipartisan commission. We should get to the bottom of it. There’s so many questions that need to be answered.”
Multiple civilians and even one West Virginia delegate who joined the Capitol riot have been charged with conspiracy, sedition and other crimes in federal court.
Just this morning in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a federal judge agreed to the release pending trial of 22-year-old Riley Williams, who is accused of stealing Pelosi’s laptop from her office with plans to sell it to Russian intelligence.
Pelosi this morning called the physical damage of the insurrection less important than the emotional distress it wrought on Capitol staff and others.
“When the press came and saw my office and the rest and asked about things that were stolen, glass that was broken, just violation of the property there, I really said that’s important I respect the speaker’s office and the accoutrement of history that is there, but I’m more concerned with the damage they did to our staff, to our colleagues in the Congress … in the Capitol of the United States,” she said. “That is damage that we have to address.”
Pelosi said there was “no question” there were members of Congress who gave aid and comfort to Capitol protesters through supporting Trump’s claims of election fraud. Evidence of whether lawmakers were more involved in aiding Capitol rioters — two lawmakers claim to have seen Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert with a large group a day before the attack —remains to be seen, she said.
“In that regard, I’m very pleased that we will have an after-action review, that we’ll review many aspects of what happened,” Pelosi said. “If people did aid and abet, there will be more than just comments from their colleagues here, there will be prosecution if they aided and abetted an insurrection in which people died.”