Pa. Rep. Dean: Trump should be criminally charged for role in the Capitol insurrection
Trump cared only ‘about hanging onto power,’ the suburban Philadelphia lawmaker said
U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District, addresses the Pennsylvania Press Club on Monday, 7/25/22 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek).
A Pennsylvania lawmaker who participated in former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial says the Republican should be “held responsible by the rule of law,” for inciting a crowd of his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election results.
Trump “assembled the mob, lit the fuse, and sent them up Pennsylvania Avenue,” and did nothing to stop them for more than three hours as rioters battled with U.S. Capitol and Washington D.C. police and rampaged through the Capitol sending members of Congress, their staff, and former Vice President Mike Pence fleeing for their lives, U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean said Monday.
“What I want from Jan. 6 is the same thing as when I served in the second impeachment: I want the truth to come out,” Dean, D-4th District, told the Pennsylvania Press Club during its monthly luncheon in Harrisburg. ” … The former president cared only for himself … and he wanted to retain power.”
And apart from possible criminal charges, Trump also faces “high constitutional crimes” for failing to immediately stop the violence.
“… I can’t think of any higher crimes constitutionally than what President Trump is guilty of,” she said. “It’s proved. But on the criminal side, yes, absolutely. There’s conspiracies in here. There’s all kinds of corrupt criminal behavior. So yes, I hope he is held responsible to the rule of law. That’s what we are, how we are guided. We are men and women guided by the rule of law, not by a single autocrat, not by a single party.”
Dean, a former Pennsylvania lawmaker who first was elected to Congress in 2018, said that while she’s “respectful” of the challenge facing U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, she believes the nation’s top prosecutor should be moving more quickly to bring Trump, and others responsible for the day’s violence, to justice.
Garland has faced increased pressure to explain why his agency has seemingly done so little, even as prosecutors in Georgia have moved ahead with their own criminal probe, the New York Times reported.
“I’m respectful, because I’m not in their shoes. I’ve never been a prosecutor. I’ve never been in the Department of Justice. So I’m respectful of the pace they’re taking,” Dean told reporters after her speech. “But personally, I would love to have had it move along faster.
“I’m somebody who served on the impeachment trial. We saw enough evidence there,” she continued. “And that was just weeks after the coup, the attempted coup. But I do respect that we’re talking about the highest office in the land. If you’re going to go in for criminal conviction, you better have your facts straight. So I’m respectful. I’ll be watching and waiting and hopeful that soon we will see some indictments.”
Dean said she’s tried to attend as many of the meetings of the House committee investigating the riot as she can, so she could “bear witness to the truth.” But, she added, that has not come without its cost.
Dean said she went into the panel’s first hearing “thinking it’s been a year-and-a half. I’m good, we’re good here. And I wound up crying. Dean, like other lawmakers in the U.S. House chamber was told to don a gas mask, and was moved to a secure location while the violence raged.
“I was sad for how I made my children so afraid. Because I didn’t know where we were going,” she continued. “I [have] noticed that sounds are jarring to me … Because when we were up in the [House] gallery, and they were instructing us what to do first, ti kneel down get your gas mask on, and get ready to go out. We heard that pounding on the center doors down on the floor of the chamber, and then the breaking of the glass that I will never forget that pounding. So that, to me is is triggering.”
Dean said she’s since found it hard to work with the Republican members of Pennsylvania’s Capitol Hill delegation, eight of whom opposed the certification of President Joe Biden’s election, and joined in failed legal efforts to overturn Pennsylvania’s election results.
“It’s really difficult. In my first term, I worked with [U.S. Rep.] Guy Reschenthaler [R-14th District], and we got a bill passed and signed by Donald Trump … getting grants to police departments,” she said. “… I want to work with a Republican counterpart, but I made the decision, along with my team, that I won’t co-lead legislation with someone who voted not to certify the election. I just won’t do it. There’s got to be a line in the sand.”
Dean said she remains optimistic that Democrats will be able to retain control of the U.S. House this fall and will expand their numbers in the U.S. Senate — even amid gloomy predictions that the party is in for a midterm drubbing in November.
“The headwinds that we’re up against, particularly here in Pennsylvania … are real,” she said. “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure we elect more pro-choice. anti-gun violence Democrats in both [chambers].”
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