House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced in the wake of an attack on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday that she feels President Donald Trump should face prosecution for what she has described as “inciting sedition.”
In an interview with CBS set to air Sunday, the speaker pinned the blame on Trump for an hours-long riot that transpired following a rally for the president in Washington, interrupting proceedings in Congress to certify Joe Biden’s win in the Electoral College. The unrest, which saw the Capitol building breached and ransacked, left five dead, including one Capitol Police officer, according to reports.
Trump in the hot seat?
For what she claimed was his role in the destruction, Pelosi said Trump should face criminal charges.
“Is anybody running the executive branch of the government? Who is running the executive branch?” 60 Minutes host Lesley Stahl asked Pelosi, according to Fox News.
“Well, sadly, the person who’s running the executive branch is a deranged, unhinged, dangerous president of the United States, and we’re only a number of days until we can be protected from him,” the speaker replied. “But he has done something so serious that there should be prosecution against him.”
A broken record
At this point, it remains unclear whether an attempt to prosecute Trump for the violence on Capitol Hill would succeed. Asked Thursday if he would move to charge the president, Washington, D.C.’s acting U.S. attorney, Michael Sherwin, refused to rule it out, Breitbart reported.
“I don’t want to sound like [a] broken record,” he told reporters. “We’re looking at all actors here.”
But according to former Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, impeaching or prosecuting Trump “would do more enduring harm to our Constitution than even the horrible rioters did.”
“[The rioters] are strongly to be condemned and I’m very glad they’re being prosecuted to the hilt,” Dershowitz told Newsmax. But “it’s part of the core theory of the First Amendment that you prosecute the actors, you don’t prosecute the speaker.”
He went on: “The speaker has a Constitutional right to advocate…advocate, not incite…advocate, which is what President Trump did.”
“Nothing is off the table”
Though criminal prosecution seems unlikely, Pelosi and House Democrats are expected to move on new articles of impeachment against the president as early as this week, according to the Chicago Tribune. The plans have prompted some to wonder whether Dem leaders had abandoned the idea of removing the president via the 25th Amendment, which would require the OK of Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of Congress.
Pressed on this point, Pelosi gave an emphatic no. “Nothing is off the table,” she told 60 Minutes, according to Fox.