Not long after President Donald Trump wrapped up a lie-riddled speech falsely claiming that the 2020 election was stolen from him, hundreds of his supporters broke through police barriers on Wednesday and stormed the U.S. Capitol with members of Congress still inside, forcing a lockdown. The unprecedented armed insurrection—which took place during as lawmakers were counting on Joe Biden’s Electoral College votes—led to immediate and extraordinary backlash against the president and his acolytes in Congress, with the legal community categorizing the day’s events as “sedition” and calling for Trump to be impeached, removed from office, and in some cases prosecuted just two weeks before his tenure ends.
“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical Democrats,” Trump told the crowd gathered for the Save America March outside the White House. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It will never happen. You don’t concede when there’s death involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.”
During his near hour-long speech, the president also directed the attendees to march to the Capitol to “give our Republicans the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
Things swiftly spun out of control from there, with lawmakers who weren’t able to heed the evacuation order barricading themselves in offices and meeting rooms while MAGA-clad insurrectionists took over the U.S. Capitol. Trump then watched television coverage of the ongoing assault on American democracy while declining to tell his supporters to go home for more than an hour despite being implored to do so by his aides.
When he finally did release a recorded statement he referred to those who invaded the Capitol as “special people.”
Appearing on Fox News, conservative lawyer and senior fellow at National Review Andrew McCarthy said that when he was an assistant U.S. attorney, he prosecuted terrorists for the same thing Trump supporters were doing at the Capitol Building.
“The President incited this,” he said.
Attorneys and law professors—many of whom had refused to use the term “sedition” to describe the president’s conduct for weeks—broke from that stance Wednesday.
“The House went into recess subject to Clause 12(b) of Rule 1. Here is that rule for you: When ‘protestors’ break into the legislature to attempt to compel the Congress to accept their chosen candidate, that is a coup attempt. That’s what we’d call it anywhere else in the world,” wrote attorney and legal commentator Mike Dunford, adding, “Yes. This is sedition.”
Former Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman—a longtime counterterrorism expert—described Wednesday as an attempted coup.
“What would we say if another country was doing this right now? We would call it a coup attempt,” he said.
Despite Joe Biden’s impending inauguration on Jan. 20, attorneys also said lawmakers have no choice but to impeach and remove Trump from office immediately.
“Trump completely botched his public statement by opening with this same utter bs garbage about the election being stolen. Way more harm than good. I’ll say it again: impeach and remove him, tonight.,” CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig wrote.
“I’ve been reluctant to use the word ‘sedition.’ But here’s the precise definition under federal criminal law: To ‘conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States… or to oppose by force the authority thereof.’”
D.C.-based attorneys and Trump critics George Conway and Bradley Moss shared similar sentiments.
“When the Capitol is cleared and secured, and the joint session of Congress and the electoral vote count is completed, the House and the Senate should proceed immediately to the impeachment and removal of [Trump],” Conway wrote.
“Impeach him again, and indict him for conspiracy to incite a riot and sedition,” wrote Moss.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said Wednesday night that she is “drawing up Articles of Impeachment.”
Even the National Association of Manufacturers asked VP Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment.
[Image via Twitter screengrab]
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