The government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed a federal criminal complaint with the acting U.S. Attorney General and the FBI against outgoing President Donald Trump, requesting an investigation into his role in inciting last week’s violent riot at the U.S. Capitol. Accusing Trump of sedition, CREW says in their complaint that they want an investigation into “whether President Donald J. Trump violated federal law by seditiously conspiring to prevent, hinder, or delay by force Congress’s final counting of the 2020 electoral college votes as part of a scheme to overthrow the government of the United States by preventing the transition of power.”
NEW TONIGHT: We filed a criminal sedition complaint against the president https://t.co/WrafHQmwJ7
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) January 12, 2021
The Capitol riot proceeded under the pretense of the lies about the recent presidential election that Trump and his allies have pushed. When the Trump supporters stormed the building, Congress was inside, going through the motions of certifying the electoral college outcome (meaning Biden’s victory). Additionally, just a short time before the riot, Trump spoke at an outdoor event in the area for his supporters, to whom he insisted that “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Taking his remarks seriously, his comments seem about as obvious of an incitement to violence as could possibly have unfolded. He admonished his supporters to “fight like hell” — and a mob of these individuals subsequently stormed the Capitol building, killing a police officer and putting legislators in danger.
CREW notes that, underlying Trump’s behavior, his “larger purpose appears to have been the violent overthrow of the United States government by delaying, hindering, or stopping Congress from affirming the results of the 2020 presidential election.” In his remarks at that event in D.C. prior to the riot, Trump said that “we are going to the Capitol, and we are… going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
Meanwhile, CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder added as follows:
‘Accusing the president of sedition is not something we do lightly. It is an accusation that should be reserved for only the most extreme circumstances. This is such a circumstance. In what will be remembered as a dark day for American democracy, President Trump and his co-conspirators appear to have engaged in nothing less than an attempt to overthrow the government by force. This cannot go unanswered. The FBI and Justice Department must investigate immediately.’
Trump is definitely not the only top Republican who has faced serious pushback after the Capitol riot. Within Congress, Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-Mo.) has prepared a resolution calling for the expulsion of members, like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who pushed the election lies that gave cover to the rioters.
On a lower level, then-West Virginia state legislator Derrick Evans is actually among those who’ve been arrested by federal authorities over their participation in the riot. Evans has since resigned from his state legislator role, as federal authorities continue to seek to hold those behind the Capitol riot responsible.