Democratic Representative Cori Bush of Missouri told The Independent that any Republican member of Congress who helped instigate the January 6 riot on the Capitol should be expelled and if need be, prosecuted.
The progressive lawmaker was one of many Democratic members of Congress in the audience on Thursday for the House select committee investigating the riot’s first prime time hearing in the Cannon House Office Building.
“I was here. I remember what it felt like, to know what it’s like”, Ms Bush told The Independent after the hearing wrapped up. “I need to see what’s going to come out of this. I need to bear witness, myself, because this was a white supremacist-in-chief president that was at the hands of this.”
During her opening remarks, committee vice chairwoman Liz Cheney revealed that multiple Republican members of Congress, including House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, had sought pardons for the actions after supporters of former president Donald Trump breached the Capitol as Congress was about to certify the 2020 presidential election results.
“Not only that, whoever, even representatives, if they were part of this, they need to be held accountable”, Ms Bush said. When asked what being held accountable meant, Ms Bush said it depends on what they did.
“They should be investigated, if they were part of this, they should be expelled because that is section three of the 14th Amendment”, she said in reference to the part of the 14th amendment of the US Constitution which prohibits those who “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same” from holding office. “They should not be in office. And then, depending on what they did, if it has to go further, then they should be prosecuted.”
When asked if that means it meant that they should go to jail, she said if they broke any laws, someone else would go to jail.
“Absolutely”, she said.
Ms Bush – who prior to coming to Congress organised numerous Black Lives Matter protests after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri – also said there was a difference between how police responded to protests for racial justice compared to how the police responded to the raid on the US Capitol.
“Absolutely, there is no way we’d be able to scale a dang wall. We wouldn’t even be able to get to a wall,” she said. “I’ve been to hundreds of protests. I’ve organized so many protests. I can’t count, and there’s no way we would have even gotten that far. We wouldn’t have been scaling a wall. We wouldn’t be knocking down barricades and knocking down police officers and had that type of a response. The response would have been completely different.”
At the same time, Ms Bush was quick to note there were police officers – such as officer Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards who testified during the hearing – who put their lives on the line.
“There are so many Capitol Police officers who put themselves on the line the way everything fell apart but if it was a Black Lives Matter protests, like I said it never would have gotten that far,” she said.