Karl Racine, the Washington, D.C. attorney general, said Monday he is considering charging Donald Trump, Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks with incitement charges due to their comments at the rally before the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. While on MSNBC Monday, Racine said he could consider charging President Donald Trump as well after his term in office is over. Trump Jr., Giulini, and Brooks were among those who spoke to the crowd outside the Capitol before Congress began certifying President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.
Trump Jr. and Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer, both falsely claimed the president won re-election due to unfounded allegations of voter fraud. Giuliani called for "trial by combat," a comment that inspired the New York State Bar Association to start an inquiry into removing Giulini from the group on Monday. Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, told Trump's supporters it was the "day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass." Brooks asked the crowd if they were "willing" to make sacrifices like their ancestors. After the rally, Trump supporters stormed into the Capitol, interrupting Congress's work for several hours. Five people died from injuries, including a Capitol Police officer.
"Let's just say first, those were outrageous comments that those individuals, including the president of the United States made," Racine said Monday. "Clearly the crowd was hyped up, juiced up, focused on the Capitol and rather than calm them down or at least emphasize the peaceful nature of what protests need to be, they really did encourage these folks and riled them up."
Racine said his office needs to "really dig in and get all of the facts" before filing a legal complaint. "I know I'm looking at a charge under the D.C. Code of inciting violence, and that would apply where there's a clear recognition that one's incitement could lead to foreseeable violence," he explained, before cautioning that there is still more investigating to do. Racine also pointed out that the U.S. Justice Department said it could not persecute President Trump as long as he is in office. If Trump is not removed, his term ends on Jan. 20, when Biden is inaugurated.
"It will be another legal question as to whether the president can be prosecuted after his term of office," Racine explained. "I think the better weight of authority answers that question affirmatively. And I'm not targeting the president or anyone else."
On Monday, House Democrats introduced one article of impeachment against Trump for "incitement of insurrection." Reps. Ted Lieu, David Cicilline, and Jamie Raskin drafted the article. The House is expected to vote on the article on Wednesday, a week after the riot.