New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says every option to hold President Trump accountable for Wednesday’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol must be on the table. And a fellow Democratic Senator from Massachusetts is among those federal lawmakers calling for Trump’s removal from office before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in January 20.
Gillibrand says the insurrection was a temporary disruption of the democratic process, but it was not a disruption of democracy.
“In the days ahead, our duty will require us to push for accountability,” says Gillibrand. “For every rioter who desecrated the Capitol, for the president who incited them, every option available, from invoking the 25th Amendment to impeachment and removal to criminal prosecution should all be on the table.”
Invoking the 25th Amendment would require Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet to vote to remove Trump from office.
“He should be removed from office for the next two weeks because I think he’s dangerous,” says Gillibrand. “He was unable to quell the protests and tell people to go home without first spreading more disinformation and continuing the lie that, that he won the election and that somehow votes were hidden, destroyed, whatever his theories have been.”
She doesn’t believe Republicans in the Senate will be on board with voting to re-impeach Trump or that Pence and the Cabinet would invoke the 25th Amendment.
“The last avenue is criminal prosecution,” says Gillibrand. “And I think the president can be criminally prosecuted for the phone call he had with the Secretary of State of Georgia because he directly said, find votes, and he directly threatened him with criminal prosecution.”
Gillibrand says she would consider pursuing impeachment when Democrats have the majority, as impeachment would bar Trump from running for President in 2024.
“And regardless of what transpires in the next two weeks, both Congress and the Department of Justice must undertake a thorough investigation of these events —how they happened, why planning or this protest was woefully inadequate, why these rioters were not treated as criminals and the involvement or radical white supremacist websites and groups in inciting the violence,” says Gillibrand. “More broadly, we must assess and redress the role of ultra-conservative media that purports to be news but only offers misinformation and division, and the role and power of unchecked social media to divide our nation.”
Massachusetts U.S. Senator Ed Markey spoke with WAMC earlier Thursday.
“It was sedition, plain and simple,” Markey says, “There has been a direct line drawn from his campaign to this moment, and that is why his tenure must come to an end.”
And he wants it as a matter of record, at the least.
“We need a process, either through the 25th Amendment, or the impeachment process, to make sure that history knows, that, on a bipartisan basis, there was a statement of rejection of Donald Trump,” says Markey.
Gillibrand says she would consider supporting the expulsion or censure of Republican Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, and others, for their role in opposing election results and stoking the Capitol storming.
“I’m, I’m deeply concerned, and I don’t think they fully understand how misguided and how irresponsible their actions have been,” says Gillibrand says. “And so I think we should look at it.”
Meantime, Gillibrand wants to see hearings on the accountability of social media platforms begin immediately when the new Administration takes office. She believes these platforms need regulation. Facebook has blocked Trump indefinitely and Twitter has locked his account.
The FBI is seeking information to assist them in identifying individuals who participated in the violence in Washington, DC. Members of the public with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), or go to tips.fbi.gov.