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Pelosi: Any lawmakers who ‘aided and abetted’ Capitol rioters should be prosecuted

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday said lawmakers might face criminal prosecution if they helped the violent rioters in their deadly January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, Fox News reported.

Pelosi’s remarks come as numerous House Democrats have accused some Republican lawmakers of possibly assisting Capitol rioters, in particular by possibly arranging them tours of the Capitol on January 5. She said the role GOP members might have played in the riot “will be looked into” to figure out if they upheld their oath of office or possibly broke the law.

“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 at a Friday press conference at the Capitol.

On Wednesday, the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection” exactly a week after a mob violently stormed the Capitol attempting to prevent the certification the states’ Electoral College votes and President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory, resulting in five deaths. On top of that, in court documents filed Thursday, federal prosecutors said that there was “strong evidence” that the rioters sought to “capture and assassinate” elected officials that day.

The 232-197 vote saw 10 Republicans cross the aisle to impeach the president, making it the most bipartisan impeachment vote in U.S. history.

RELATED: Rep. Liz Cheney criticized by Wyoming GOP for voting ‘yes’ on impeachment

At the Friday presser, Pelosi declined to comment on when she plans to send the article of impeachment to the U.S. Senate, which will commence a trial. Her nine impeachment managers, however, are currently preparing their case arguing for Trump’s conviction, she mentioned.

“Right now, our managers are solemnly and prayerfully preparing for the trial, which they will take to the Senate,” Pelosi said.

This past week, more and more Democrats have expressed interest in punishing Republicans who either spearheaded the effort on January 6 to try to decertify Biden’s victory or those who might have assisted the organizers of the riot.

Freshman Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) has put forward a resolution to expel lawmakers who tried to overturn the states’ electoral votes and are accused of inciting the violence that engulfed the Capitol. “I firmly believe that these members are in breach of their sworn oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Bush said. “They must be held accountable.”

Further, 34 House Democrats signed a letter suggesting a number of Republicans might have helped rioters by arranging them tours of the Capitol on January 5, but the signers have yet to provide undeniable evidence backing this accusation.

On Wednesday, House Democrats requested an immediate investigation into “suspicious behavior” and access that they allege was provided to visitors at the Capitol the day before the riot. In the aforementioned letter, lawmakers also called for the Capitol Police and the acting House and Senate sergeants-at-arms to investigate the claims.

Friday afternoon, Jake Gibson, a producer covering the U.S. Department of Justice for Fox News in Washington, D.C., said a source told him that both authorities are “looking at” the reports.

“Source: Capitol Police and House Sergeant at Arms ‘looking at’ reports of congressional members giving Capitol tours in days before the Capitol attack,” Gibson tweeted.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump appointee explains an ‘America First Strategy’ in the ME

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Photo: Israeli Government

The author interviewed Ellie Cohanim, one of the authors of the new book: “An America First Approach to US National Security.” Ellie is the former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism under the Trump administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum focusing on Iran, Israel, and global antisemitism, and is a national security contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2021, Ellie launched and hosted for Jewish News Syndicate 30 plus episodes of the show “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim.” Ellie spent 15 years in media and NGO management before serving in the public sector. How would you define an “America First” strategy in the Middle East?

Cohanim: An America First strategy in the Middle East would seek to advance American national security interests in that region, while maintaining our status as THE global superpower. To do that, the US would ensure that our principal allies in the region, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are economically and militarily strong, and that our adversaries in the region are deterred.

Postal: How has the United States’ standing in the Middle East differed between the Trump and Biden administrations?

Cohanim: Under President Trump, for four years we had peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Under President Biden, in just three tumultuous years there has been war in the region, which holds the potential for becoming a regional conflict and even a nuclear confrontation. Meanwhile, the US’ status in the region and the world has diminished due to Biden’s disastrous mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his emboldening of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his weak response to Iranian attacks on our personnel and assets in the region. 

 

Postal: Do you think the United States and Israel are/were in a stronger position to deter Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions in Biden or Trump’s administration?

Cohanim: America’s position of strength has not changed under either administration vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has changed is our Iran policy. Under President Trump’s administration, the US contained and constrained Tehran. Trump applied a “Maximum Pressure” sanctions campaign which left the Iranian Regime with only $4 billion in accessible foreign currency reserves by the end of his term, giving the Iranians less cash and less ability to fund their terror proxies and their nuclear program, and Trump eliminated Qassem Soleimani. While all President Biden needed to do was to continue implementing such successful policies, his administration instead did the exact opposite.  Under the Biden administration, Israel, our leading ally in the region, was attacked for the first time directly from Iranian soil. This was an unprecedented escalatory attack by the Iranian regime, and could only happen under the Biden administration.

Postal: In your chapter of the book, you discuss the weakening of US relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. How has the Biden administration affected the likelihood of future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and deals between Israel and other Muslim countries (i.e., new Abraham Accords)?

Cohanim: The good news is that the Abraham Accords have withstood the test of multiple Hamas provocations against Israel, and now the current war. Despite numerous claims from the Biden administration regarding “successful” efforts to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, I do not think that the Biden administration will be able to clinch such a deal. In the Middle East, people have a long memory. Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has not forgotten President Biden’s snub when he first came into office, and Biden’s incredibly poorly advised behavior towards the Crown Prince when he made his first visit to the Kingdom as president. The last thing the Crown Prince wants is to hand Biden his first foreign policy success with a Rose Garden peace deal ceremony. So, I do not believe President Biden can broker Saudi/Israeli normalization.

However, I am also convinced that it is a matter of “when” and not “if” such a peace deal will happen between those two countries, as it serves both of their interests to make such a deal. The Saudis understand better than anyone that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that threatens the Kingdom’s security and stability, not Israel.

Postal: What do you think of the Biden administration’s latest statements withholding arms to Israel?

Cohanim: President Biden will go down in history for his abject moral failure in not standing by Israel while she fights a five-front war. Biden has shown his despicable personality for trying to keep his anti-Israel arms embargo concealed until he could first deliver a speech on the Holocaust. Biden’s behavior is despicable on so many levels.

Ultimately, Biden is betraying the American people. He came into office presenting himself as a “centrist Democrat,” but has proven repeatedly to be beholden to the radical, extremist, pro-Hamas wing of his party.

Postal: How does the Biden administration’s support of a Palestinian state differ from the Trump administration’s support of a Palestinian state under its Peace to Prosperity framework?

Cohanim: The Biden administration stated that they will “unilaterally recognize” a Palestinian state. What the borders of that state are and who would lead it, nobody knows. 

The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” was a detailed plan that was premised on the realities on the ground in Israel. The plan required that the Palestinians reach benchmarks proving a real desire to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. It included over $50 billion in investment in the region, which would have been a road to prosperity for all. Perhaps most significantly, the Palestinian state envisioned under the Trump plan would have been demilitarized, the wisdom of which could not be more clear following the October 7 massacre and attack.

The author would like to thank Ellie Cohanim for participating in this interview.

 

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