As reported by Newsweek, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D., NJ) published an extraordinary allegation against some of her colleagues that they had secretly monitored a conspiracy with rioters at the Capitol. If so, these members could face criminal charges and expel from the House. Conversely, if Sherrill does not have such evidence, she could (and should) face a dissolution of criticism or dissolution.
Sherrill told her constituents in a Facebook Live address on Tuesday evening that she witnessed the surveillance in person. She said unidentified members of Congress “had groups come through the Capitol” in “a clearing up for the next day.” Sherrill pledged to “hold these lawmakers accountable and if necessary ensure that they do not serve in Congress”.
You can watch the entire recorded discussion here and the testimony will come towards the end of around 1215.
This is a clear allegation of criminal behavior against colleagues. Once she has named a member, she could also be the subject of a defamation campaign. This was a statement made from the ground up and not protected by the speech and debate clause. It comes from a member who was a retired naval pilot and federal prosecutor. To do justice to Sherrill, a list of commitments has included a reference to assisting with the investigation. She was able to make it clear that she was not claiming that these members had helped clear up the matter. She stands by the obvious claim that it could leave Congress with two equally unpleasant questions.
Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution states: “Each House (of Congress) can set the rules of procedure, punish its members for disorderly behavior and, with the consent of two-thirds, expel a member.” Discipline any conduct the House of Representatives detects that has discredited the institution. In re Chapman, 166, US 661, 669-670 (1897). A 1967 House Select Committee stated:
Criticism from one member was deemed appropriate in the event of a violation of House privileges. There are two types of privilege, one relating to the rights of the house as a whole, its safety, dignity, and the integrity of its process. and the other, which affects the rights, reputation and behavior of members individually. Most of the censure cases involved the use of non-parliamentary language, attacking a member or insulting the House by introducing offensive resolutions, but five in the House and one in the Senate [as of 1967] The criticism was based on the corrupt acts of a member, and in another Senate case, the criticism was based on non-cooperation with and abuse of Senate committees.