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The U.S. Justice Department does not plan on seeking incitement charges against President Donald Trump or any of the others who spoke at a rally in Washington, D.C, just before protesters launched a siege Wednesday on the U.S. Capitol.
Some Democratic lawmakers have suggested that Trump and others should potentially face criminal charges for allegedly encouraging the fatal riot, but on Friday the Justice Department official told reporters that federal investigators are not pursuing such matters.
“We don’t expect any charges of that nature,” Ken Kohl, a senior prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, said.
From colleague Jake Gibson. DoJ officials “do not expect any [incitement] charges” against President Trump or any other speakers from Wednesday’s events leading up to the Capitol riots
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 8, 2021
BREAKING: Asked about the prospect of President Trump or other speakers at the Jan. 6 rally being indicted for inciting violence, DOJ spox tells press: "We don’t expect any charges of that nature.”
— John Kruzel (@johnkruzel) January 8, 2021
A few hours after the press call, a Justice Department spokesman issued a new statement that left the door open for charges against the president.
“Our focus is on the events at the Capitol,” the spokesman said.
“As of now, we have not charged anyone with incitement or insurrection. This is an extremely complex and ongoing investigation and we will continue to follow the facts and the law.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a scathing letter to colleagues on Sunday that the House “will proceed” with bringing legislation to the floor to impeach President Donald Trump.
She said the House will act with solemnity but also urgency with just days remaining before Trump is to leave office on January 20.
“In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both,” she said. “The horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.”
She called on Vice President Mike Pence to convene and mobilize the Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment and declare Trump incapable of executing the duties of his office.
“After which the Vice President would immediately exercise powers as Acting President,” she said.
She told her caucus, now scattered across the country on a two-week recess, to “be prepared to return to Washington this week” but did not say outright that there would be a vote on impeachment.
“If we do not receive Unanimous Consent, this legislation is planned to be brought up on the Floor the following day. We are calling on the Vice President to respond within 24 hours,” she wrote.
Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in an interview: “I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage.”
Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott tweeted: “Make no mistake, the President of the United States is responsible for this event. President Trump has orchestrated a campaign to cause an insurrection that overturns the results of a free, fair, and legal election. There is no doubt that the President’s delusion, fabrication, self-interest, and ego have led us – step by step – to this very low, and very dangerous, a moment in American history. Enough is enough. President Trump should resign or be removed from office by his Cabinet, or by the Congress.”
Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan also called for Trump’s removal or resignation.
“I think there’s no question that America would be better off if the president would resign or be removed from office and if Mike Pence, the vice president of the United States, would conduct a peaceful transition of power over the next 13 days until President [Joe] Biden is sworn in,” he said.