Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi this week stepped up attacks on members of her own home, accusing them of “giving” help and comfort “to those who want to destroy the nation. The comments came after Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., Denied a public allegation by Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., That she personally took rioters for a tour of the capital prior to the Jan. 6 attack have. Boebert pointed out that the “rioters” were members of her family and that she never gave tours like this. Instead of encouraging colleagues to avoid baseless and flammable allegations until the January 6th events were verified, Pelosi threw gasoline on the fire and accused her colleagues of “help and consolation” to those who tried to destroy the constitution and the country to give. In my view, this is another failure of the Spokeswoman’s leadership in her duties to the whole institution.
Like many, I support a commission looking into how these rioters got into Capitol Hill so quickly. However, Democratic members have claimed that Republican members were in fact co-conspirators of the uprising when they granted access to the building to plan the attack. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D., NJ) went public with an extraordinary allegation against some of her colleagues that they had secretly monitored a conspiracy with rioters in the Capitol. Sherrill told her constituents in a Facebook live address that she had personally witnessed the surveillance. She said unidentified members of Congress “had groups come through the Capitol” in “a clearing up for the next day.”
Sherill has not yet given any of the names of her colleagues who worked as co-conspirators. As already mentioned, this is a clear allegation of criminal behavior towards colleagues. Either members have conspired to commit a crime or Sherill has wrongly defamed their colleagues. 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.
If members conspired, as Rep. Sherrill claims, they could be expelled for the crime. You would also be prosecuted. It would be a betrayal not only of Congress but of the country.
One would think that this increased severity would cause a spokeswoman to reassure her members and call for an investigation. However, Spokesman Pelosi continued to reinforce the rhetoric. It started well by saying, “You must have evidence of what happened.” Then she shot the Republicans and declared, “There is no question that there were members on this body who gave help and comfort to those who came up with the idea of accepting a lie – a lie committed by the President of the United States Elections had no legitimacy. “The language comes from the treacherous language in Article III, paragraph 3 of the Constitution:” Treason against the United States consists only in waging war against it or, by adhering to its enemies, giving them help and comfort. “
In the context of the alleged criminal conspiracy by members, the use of this language clearly indicated that members were to blame for their positions more than just political. It indicated that they were traitors.
These attacks come as some members are calling for the possible expulsion of members to contest the electoral vote, an act expressly allowed under federal law and repeatedly carried out by Democrats in previous elections. It is an example of the angry politics that continues to build in our country, including calling for blacklists and punitive action against anyone who supports Trump. As I noted in today’s column, it is a leadership crisis in this country when we desperately need leaders who can unite us instead of capitalizing on our divisions.