Veronica Escobar backs bill to investigate GOP lawmakers

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Rep. Veronica Escobar of El Paso is the only Texas lawmaker so far to co-sponsor a bill to investigate whether House members who tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election violated their oath of office and should face sanctions — including removal from office. 

The legislation was introduced Monday by Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri (the latest member of the progressive Congressional squad) and co-sponsored by 47 members, including Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Barbara Lee, and Jamaal Bowman.

Escobar was one of the original co-sponsors of the bill, which has since seen seven new House members sign-on in support. 

The bill would direct the House Committee on Ethics to investigate whether House members violated Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which bans lawmakers from holding office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the U.S. 

“In a politically motivated and last-ditch effort to overthrow the election,” the bill reads, “over 140 Members of Congress, led by Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, have taken unprecedented steps to defy the will of the American people who overwhelmingly voted for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris by voting against the certification of the votes of the Electoral College.”

In a speech prior to voting to impeach Trump on Wednesday, Escobar described last week’s events as a terrorist attack, an attempted coup, and insurrection. She said those who aided and abided should be found and prosecuted. 

“We have QAnon followers in our congress,” Escobar told MSNBC earlier this week. “We have people who are spreading dangerous conspiracies on the House Floor. They are co-conspirators.”

“They deserve their due process,” Escobar said. “But we need to root them out, and we need to make sure that they face that due process and they face the consequences that come with aiding and abetting an attack against our country.”

The legislation to investigate members of Congress comes at the same time as a letter penned by 34 House members, including Rep. Lizzie Fletcher of Houston, that demand Capitol police investigate “suspicious behavior” seen at the Capitol prior to the attack.

“Many of the Members who signed this letter, including those of us who have served in the military and are trained to recognize suspicious activity, as well as various members of our staff, witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, January 5,” reads the letter. “This is unusual for several reasons, including the fact that access to the Capitol Complex has been restricted since public tours ended in March of last year due to the pandemic.”

The tours conducted at the Capitol a day before the attack were so noticeable, the House members said they were reported to the Sergeant at Arms the same day. 

“The visitors encountered by some of the Members of Congress on this letter appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day,” the letter states. 

On Friday, the Associated Press reported that federal prosecutors said pro-Trump attackers were attempting to “capture and assassinate elected officials.”

Last week’s attack has prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to issue a review of Capitol security. Other watchdog government agencies, the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and Homeland Security, have also launched similar investigations.

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

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