This morning Ted Lieu, Jamie Raskin and David Cicilline introduced an impeachment resolution (which you can read by clicking here.) In a statement, the three said that "Last Wednesday marked one of the darkest days in the history of our country. After months of agitation and propaganda against the results of the 2020 election, the United States Capitol-- the citadel of our democracy-- was attacked as President Trump’s supporters attempted to stage a coup and overturn the results of our free and fair presidential election. We cannot allow this unprecedented provocation to go unanswered. Everyone involved in this assault must be held accountable, beginning with the man most responsible for it-- President Donald Trump. We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies-- foreign and domestic."
Yes, "beginning with." St. Louis freshman Rep. Cori Bush supports the resolution as an original cosponsor-- and now wants to go a step further-- investigating the members of Congress who incited the mob to see if their crimes rise to the level of expulsion.
Congress has excluded 3 congressmen-elect, one of them-- Wisconsin Socialist Victor Berger, for being a peacenik-- twice. Utah's Brigham Henry Roberts was excluded in 1899 for having too many wives and more recently Adam Clayton Powell (D-Harlem) was guilty of what many members are, bribe-takers... but, in his case, a flamboyant black bribe-taker. Dozens of others were reprimanded and censured but only 5 congressmen (all Democrats) were ever expelled by the House. Three were expelled as traitors who had taken up arms against the country (1861), one was convicted of bribery and one, James Traficant (OH), was convicted on 10 counts of corruption, racketeering, tax evasion, obstruction of justice, etc. Traficant then ran while in prison (as an independent) and got 15% of the vote but one of his former aides, Tim Ryan, won the seat. Jay Kim, who set the record in congressional bribe-taking at the time of his conviction, served in Congress with an ankle bracelet so the authorities could keep track of his movements. But he was never expelled. The voters expelled him though. The Senate, on the other hand, has expelled 15 members, all for disloyalty to the country. Greedy land speculator William Blount of Tennessee conspired with the British to seize Louisiana from Spain to drive up the prices of his land and he became the first senator to be expelled (1797). After that, in 1861 and 1862 senators from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky (former Vice President John Breckinridge), Missouri and Indiana were expelled for disloyalty-- each siding with the Confederacy.
Congress has an expulsion manual. Cori Bush's expulsion resolution only names 3 people-- two senators (Cruz and Hawley) + Confederate seditionist Mo Brooks (R-AL). Her resolution, introduced today, is based on members of Congress have violated their oaths to defend and uphold the Constitution from all foreign and domestic enemies. "I believe the Republican members of Congress who have incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election must face consequences," Bush tweeted. "They have broken their sacred Oath of Office."
On Sunday, Washington Post writer Greg Sargent was one of the voices warning that the domestic terrorism we saw play out in DC on Wednesday was just the tip of an iceberg. If Pelosi and Biden and the Democratic establishment continues to fail to take this fascist explosion seriously, they will share responsibility with the Trumpists for what comes next. Sargent wrote that "As we seek to absorb the meaning of a violent insurrectionist mob storming the seat of government on President Trump’s behalf, a kind of split screen is emerging. On one screen, Trump is shriveling into a buffoonish, pathetic figure. His violent and destructive fantasies remain unchecked and dangerous, but news accounts are depicting an increasingly isolated figure whose advisers are deserting him, even as he rages ineffectually over his inability to reverse his election loss. On the other screen, a different picture is emerging: For the loose network of groups and lone actors that carried out Trump’s calls for violent disruption of the lawful conclusion of the election, it’s becoming clear that the siege was a huge and momentous success, a propaganda coup that will energize them for a long time to come. 'Make no mistake: Wednesday was a watershed moment for the far-right extremist movement in this country,' Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, told me. 'By all measurable effects, this was for far-right extremists one of the most successful attacks that they’ve ever launched,' Jared Holt, who tracks far-right groups for the Atlantic Council, added. 'This will be lionized and propagandized on likely for the next decade.'"
It’s not easy to say who exactly stormed the Capitol. The ADL, tracking far-right live streams and scouring as many pictures and videos as possible, tells me the groups include extremist and alt-right organizations such as the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Groyper Army and the Three Percenters, as well as various militia organizations.
Holt, who employs similar techniques and tracked online planning of the siege for months, concurs, telling me that many of the participants were “militia movement groups” and “white supremacist and white nationalist groups” and known individual “conspiracy extremists.”
The connecting thread is the “Stop the Steal” movement, which brought all these groups together in various state capitals in the months-long struggle over the election results, Holt says.
The driving ideology here is more complicated than just, “Democrats stole the election.” As Holt notes, it’s bigger: The idea is that the “election was somehow compromised by nefarious forces,” including everyone from state officials in both parties to the courts and the media, all devoted to denying Trump a win.
Trump spoke directly to these impulses when he told Fox News last fall that Joe Biden was being controlled by “people in dark shadows.” And, as Holt told me, the notion of a compromised election has been “echoed at the highest levels of Republican power.”
But both Holt and the ADL agree that for these groups, what happened on Wednesday was a major, resounding victory.
A propaganda coup
As Holt notes, the Internet chat rooms and message boards and other platforms he tracks have been absolutely lighting up with such chatter. Their understanding of this moment is that they successfully placed the U.S. government under siege.
“These communities are discussing the attack as some sort of validation that it actually is possible for them to exert their power like this and achieve results,” Holt tells me. “They’re talking about this as the first stab in a greater revolution.”
Think of it like this: The attack on the Capitol captured the news cycle and riveted the country’s attention for a full day, projecting imagery of a country seeming to teeter on the edge of civil collapse.
They succeeded in disrupting the lawful conclusion of the presidential election, even if temporarily. This imagery (and remember that far-right groups have gone international) was broadcast all around the world.
Meanwhile, it’s now emerging that there were major security breakdowns. The FBI and Homeland Security didn’t do a threat assessment, calls to bring in the Maryland National Guard were rebuffed amid chaotic cross-signaling, and the Capitol Police allowed the rioters to capture the seat of government.
This, too, will likely be held up as a propaganda victory, another sign that the ruling elites and their decrepit security forces are collapsing under the weight of their own corruption.
“A lot of these extremist groups have explicitly discussed what the attack on the Capitol represents for their ability to overwhelm law enforcement,” Holt told me, adding that the security failures are seen as “validation of a broader narrative about the government buckling” that will awaken others to its “corruption.”
...[A]s Greenblatt put it to me, these groups “are certainly not going anywhere.”
It’s hard to say what will happen to this movement once Trump exits the scene. But it’s hard to be optimistic.
Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, noted this morning on a radio show that several congressional Republicans went too far in their incitement of the right-wing mob that stormed the Capitol last week. "There's no exemption for being put on the no-fly list. Even a member of Congress that commits a crime... they expel from the body. There are ethics charges that can be brought against those individuals. And people are looking at all this. What Hawley did and what Cruz did was horrible. What-- the new member from Colorado [Lauren Boebert], who basically tweeted directions and everything that was going on-- that's not something you do. Somebody said, 'well she's new.' Well the point is ignorance of the law is no excuse. So if you don't know, you've still done something wrong."
Former Arizona congressional candidate Eva Putzova, head of Catch Fire, noted that "what transpired last week at the Capitol confirmed what most of us, progressives, knew: we have two justice systems, two sets of rules for political engagement, and two realities shaped by corporate social media. I'm very pleased that Rep. Cori Bush is starting her tenure in Congress as expected-- couragesouly, actively, and unafraid-- by holding her colleagues accountable for inciting hate and violence and for attempting to undermine the results of fair and democratic elections."
Texas progressive Julie Oliver took on GOP seditionist Roger Williams last year. Today she told me that "it's important that Democrats are united in not backing down and that we do not allow Republicans to change the subject in an effort to coddle the terrorists. So it is important that House Democrats publicly and vocally support Rep Cori Bush's resolution for the House Ethics Committee to investigate and, if necessary, expel members of Congress-- including Texas colleagues like Roger Williams-- who voted to overturn the legally decided results of the presidential election."
Liam O'Mara is running for Congress against one of the seditionists, Crooked Ken Calvert from Riverside County. He endorsed , noting that "the GOP House members who signed onto seditious efforts to overturn the election [were working towards] creating a dictatorship in the United States. And I am sick and damned tired of watching Republican politicians claim to love the Constitution and uphold the law when, in fact, they are a lawless bunch of corrupt treasonous swine. It is not law these Members support, or our Constitution-- it is power, only power. No fascist or neofascist movement needs majority support, and they don't have it. The GOP knows most disagree with them and they don't care. The fewer people to vote, the better for them. No, these moves, by Calvert and the rest, are based on a repudiation of their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, and turn the US into a Russia-style managed democracy. These treasonous fools voted to throw out legally-cast votes from American citizens, and as such have attempted a soft coup against the legally-constituted authority of this country. As seditious individuals, section three of the Fourteenth Amendment bars them from serving in our government.
No person shall be a ... Representative in Congress, ... who, having previously taken an oath ... to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.
"Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes, Darrell Issa, Ken Calvert-- these members and more have not only 'given aid or comfort' to enemies of the state and traitors to our Constitution, they have by their votes abandoned any pretense of fidelity to their oath. As traitors to this Republic, they should be removed."
Another 2022 congressional candidate, Greenbelt Mayor Colin Byrd, also backs the resolution. This morning he told me he supports "Cori Bush’s expulsion resolution. Folks like Andy Harris incited an insurrection as part of an unprecedented attack on American democracy, and Congress cannot proceed with business as usual given the exceptionally egregious actions of Congressmen like Andy Harris (R-MD), who also voted against $2,000 stimulus checks. They’ve got to go."
Last time I checked, there were 41 members of Congress-- and growing-- co-sponsoring Bush's expulsion resolution:
Alma Adams (D-NC)
Jamaal Bowman (D-NY)
Yvette Clarke (D-NY)
Judy Chu (D-CA)
Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)
Danny Davis (D-IL)
Val Demings (New Dem-FL)
Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)
Veronica Escobar (D-TX)
Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)
Dwight Evans (D-PA)
Chuy Garcia (D-IL)
Jimmy Gomez (D-CA)
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Steven Horsford (New Dem-NV)
Jared Huffman (D-CA)
Hank Johnson (D-GA)
Mondaire Jones (D-NY)
Kai Kahele (D-HI)
Ann Kirkpatrick (New Dem-AZ)
Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Ted Lieu (D-CA)
Jerry McNerney (D-CA)
Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Marie Newman (D-IL)
Ilhan Omar (D-MN)
Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-)
Donald Payne (D-NJ)
Mark Pocan (D-WI)
Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)
Bobby Rush (D-IL)
Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Jackie Speier (D-CA)
Albio Sires (New Dem-NJ)
Mark Takano (D-CA)
Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
Ritchie Torres (D-NY)
Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)
Nikema Williams (GA-05)
Frederica Wilson (D-FL)