District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine said on Monday he’s looking at potentially charging President Donald Trump and others for inciting violence in speeches that “hyped up and juiced up” a crowd of Trump supporters that later breached the US Capitol on January 6th.
Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL), who spoke to the crowd of Trump supporters moments before Trump called on the crowd to march with him to the U.S. Capitol, said that “American patriots” must “start taking down names and kicking ass.”
“If we’re wrong, we will be made fools of,” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the crowd. “But if we’re right, a lot of them will go to jail. So let’s have trial by combat.”
“We have a country to save and this doesn’t help anyone. It should be a message to all the Republicans who have not been willing to actually fight, the people who did nothing to stop the steal,” Donald Trump Jr. said. “This gathering should send a message to them: This isn’t their Republican Party anymore. This is Donald Trump’s Republican Party.”
All of the speeches led up to the president’s final call for those at the rally to march with him to the Capitol to “stop the steal.”
“We will stop the steal. We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol,” Trump said. “We’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones…the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
Racine called the comments “outrageous” whether or not they were intended to hype up the crowd.
“Clearly the crowd was hyped up, juiced up, focused on the capitol, and rather than calm them down or at lowest emphasize the peaceful nature of what protests need to be, they really did encourage these folks and riled them up,” said Racine. “Now whether that comes to a legal complaint, I think we’ve got to really dig in and get all of the facts. 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. We still have more investigation to do, and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to work zealously and fully and where the facts lead to where they naturally go.”
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell then asked Racine if he was looking at holding the president accountable for his role.
“Sure, Andrea, as you know the OLC opinion says the president can’t be prosecuted while the president is in office,” Racine said. “As it turns out, the president has about nine more days of office and, of course, the investigation is going to go on much beyond those nine days. It will be another legal question as to whether the president can be prosecuted after his term of office. I think the better weight of authority answers that question affirmatively. And I’m not targeting the president or anyone else. I’m just saying the D.C. Office of the Attorney General — and I’m heartened that the U.S. Attorney also said the same thing — we’re going to follow the facts and we’re going to go exactly where the facts lead.”