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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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Multiple states launch lawsuit against Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plan

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Breaking Thursday, the states of Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, and South Carolina joined together to file a lawsuit against President Biden’s administration in order to stop the student loan-forgiveness program from taking effect.

“In addition to being economically unwise and downright unfair, the Biden Administration’s Mass Debt Cancellation is yet another example in a long line of unlawful regulatory actions,” argued the plaintiffs in their filing.

The attorneys general spearheading the legal challenge also submit that “no statute permits President Biden to unilaterally relieve millions of individuals from their obligation to pay loans they voluntarily assumed.”

Biden, however, has argued that he is able to unilaterally cancel student debt to mitigate the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, writes National Review, a Department of Education memo released by his administration asserts that the HEROES Act,  which passed in 2003 and allows the secretary of education to provide student-debt relief “in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency,” provides the legal basis for the cancellation.

But, National Review notes that the plaintiffs point out that Biden declared in a recent 60 Minutes interview that “the pandemic is over.”

The legal brief also adds:

“The [HEROES] Act requires ED [Education Department] to tailor any waiver or modification as necessary to address the actual financial harm suffered by a borrower due to the relevant military operation or emergency… This relief comes to every borrower regardless of whether her income rose or fell during the pandemic or whether she is in a better position today as to her student loans than before the pandemic.”

Moreover, they argue that the HEROES Act was designed to allow the secretary to provide relief in individual cases with proper justification.

The first lawsuit against Biden’s executive order came Tuesday from the Pacific Legal Foundation:

“The administration has created new problems for borrowers in at least six states that tax loan cancellation as income. People like Plaintiff Frank Garrison will actually be worse off because of the cancellation. Indeed, Mr. Garrison will face immediate tax liability from the state of Indiana because of the automatic cancellation of a portion of his debt,” wrote PLF in their own brief.

The state-led lawsuit was filed in a federal district court in Missouri, and asks that the court “temporarily restrain and preliminarily and permanently enjoin implementation and enforcement of the Mass Debt Cancellation,” and declare that it “violates the separation of powers established by the U.S. Constitution,” as well as the Administrative Procedure Act.

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