House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that Congressional members may have to be prosecuted if they helped the Capitol rioters.
“If in fact it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection, if they aided and abetted the crime, there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress in terms of prosecution for that,” Pelosi said during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol Friday.
Pelosi specifically referred to a letter to Capitol Police and the Sergeant at Arms that 34 House Democrats signed, requesting for an investigation whether tour groups led by Republican members into the Capitol on Jan. 5 were associated with the Capitol riot the following day.
“When we’re talking about security, we have to talk about truth and trust. In order to serve here with each other, we must trust that people have respect for their oath of office, respect for this institution,” Pelosi said.
Rioters breached the Capitol building last week during a march that turned into a deadly riot against the Electoral College’s certification of the presidential election results, multiple sources said.
Democratic New Jersey Rep. Mikie Sherrill tweeted Wednesday that her letter requested a probe “into the suspicious behavior and access given to visitors to the Capitol Complex” on Jan. 5. The letter was addressed to Acting House Sergeant At Arms Timothy Blodgett, Acting Senate Sergeant-At-Arms Jennifer A. Hemmingway and Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the United States Capitol Police.
Sherrill tweeted that several who signed the letter “and various members of our staff, witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, January 5.”
“This is unusual for several reasons, including the fact that access to the Capitol Complex has been restricted since public tours ended in March due to the pandemic,” Sherrill tweeted.
“We found these tours so concerning that senior staff questioned [the Sergeant at Arms] on January 5 about what was taking place,” Sherrill tweeted.
The letter did not specify which members of Congress allegedly conducted the tours.
Sherrill earlier said certain people in Congress “had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5, a reconnaissance for the next day” in a Facebook video posted Tuesday. The congresswoman didn’t explain which members of Congress gave the tours or who was in the tour groups.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn last week said the rioters’ effortless access into the Capitol implies a Capitol member was involved in the attack, CBS News reported.
“I do believe that something was going on,” Clyburn told CBS anchor Lana Zak on Jan. 8, according to CBS News. “They knew where to go.”
“I’ve been told … by some other Congress people that their staff are saying that they saw people being allowed into the building through side doors. Who opened those side doors for these protesters, or I call them these mobsters, to come into the building, not through the main entrance where magnetometers are but through side doors. Yes, somebody on the inside of those buildings were complicit in this,” Clyburn said, according to CBS News.
Pelosi’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.