Gov. Polis: Feds should weigh criminal charges against GOP leaders for inciting Capitol riot

    BRIEF

    Protesters enter the Senate Chamber on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. Pro-Trump protesters have entered the U.S. Capitol building after mass demonstrations in the nation's capital. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    In a lengthy message posted to his personal Facebook account on Monday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called for potential criminal prosecutions against Republican leaders for their role in last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol and backed an effort to expel some GOP members of Congress by invoking the 14th Amendment.

    “The easier part is holding the soldiers of the failed rebellion accountable, but so too their commanders must be held accountable under the law,” Polis wrote. “The FBI should also pursue potential criminal charges against the informal commanders of the failed insurrection including Rudy Giuliani … and Rep. Mo Brooks.”

    In the hours preceding the Capitol attack, Giuliani, a former mayor of New York City and President Donald Trump’s lawyer, told a crowd gathering on the National Mall to “have a trial by combat,” Polis noted in his Facebook post. Brooks, of Alabama, who was one of three House Republicans who played a key role in planning the Jan. 6 event, according to its organizers, also told the crowd to “start taking down names and kicking ass.”

    “These remarks would be taken by any rational person as a call to arms and a call to rebellion,” wrote Polis. “And President Trump himself assured the protestors that he would join them in storming the capital (he didn’t) and provided tacit support for the seditious commands of the other speakers.”

    Polis also endorsed the possible removal of some members of Congress by invoking Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, a Civil War-era constitutional provision barring those who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the (United States), or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” from holding elected office.

    “There are credible allegations that some members of Congress at the very least gave aid and comfort to the rioters, and therefore should not be able to hold office again without a two-thirds vote by each house,” the governor wrote.

    Polis, who served in Congress for 10 years as representative for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, said the scenes of the Capitol riot “brought tears to my eyes,” and expressed relief that, despite the deadly violence, the events of Jan. 6 didn’t turn out to be even worse.

    “This attack against the United States Congress is an attack on our republic and must be treated seriously as such through a sober process that holds those responsible fully accountable,” Polis wrote. “While our nation cherishes our First Amendment right to assembly and free speech, we do not to sanction seditious and violent acts designed to bring down our republic and undermine the Constitution and the rule of law.”