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Local Reactions: Mob Storming Capitol Could Be Grounds For Impeachment

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AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
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U.S. Capitol Police hold protesters on the floor at gun-point as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

Constitutional law experts have reacted to the violent mob of supporters of President Donald Trump who stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to stop Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election.

James Sample is with the Hofstra Law School on Long Island. He said there are new grounds for impeachment.

“Given the scope and predictability and the absolute clarity of the President's role in bringing about this dark day in our democracy, there is a real possibility that there will be a movement to impeach President Trump again, because of his steadfast refusal to accept the results of the November election,” Sample said.

Sample said while protests are a First Amendment right, pounding down the doors of the House chambers by the American people is against the concept of American democracy. This is no protest, but an insurrection.

“What we are seeing today is actually an attack on the United States of America, being fomented and encouraged by the President of the United States of America. That is unprecedented. It is tragic, and it was entirely predictable,” Sample said.

Sample said these reasons along with President Trump’s refusal to accept the election results after 60 court cases and the President being recorded saying he wanted Georgia election officials to find nearly 11,000 votes are new grounds for impeachment.

Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill called the violent mob an attempted coup in broad daylight and on live television. And New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker called it a dark day in American history.

Congressman Lee Zeldin, who had objected to the electoral votes of several states, tweeted that "There must be ZERO tolerance for violence in any form."

Democratic U.S. Representative Jim Himes of Connecticut tweeted a rebuke of the Connecticut Republican Party after he was evacuated from the U.S. Capitol during a mob of violent Trump extremists.

In response to a CT GOP tweet condemning the attack in D.C, Himes said: “As I take off my gas mask and brush the glass shards from my knees, I’ll take ‘too little, too late for $1,000, Alex’.”

Connecticut Congresswoman Jahana Hayes tweeted “This isn’t partisan. It’s a disgrace.”

New York Representative Andrew Garbarino tweeted that he was safe. He was just sworn in as a Republican Congressman for New York’s 2nd district. He called the violence un-American and said he’s “praying for the soul of our nation.”

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut confirmed he and his staff are safe after Pro-Trump extremists lead an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Murphy tweeted that President Donald Trump “bears responsibility” and said it will not stop the transfer of power to President-Elect Joe Biden. He said “those responsible will be held accountable.”

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal issued a statement that he was safe and the election will be certified. He called the extremists “anarchist mobs” leading an “armed insurrection.” He said the insurrection was “incited and fueled by the President of The United States and his enablers.”

U.S. Congressman Tom Suozzi was rushed from the Capitol building to a secure location. He said protesters banged on the door to the house floor and that Capitol police had their guns drawn.

“I didn’t feel scared to tell you the truth, but I felt it was a very scary time for our nation’s history. I felt secure because of the Capitol Police quite frankly. I’m concerned about some of my colleagues that were scared, and I just feel its a very sad day for our country,” Suozzi said.

Former Long Island Congressman Steve Israel said Capitol police were trained to deal with supporters of President Donald Trump when violent mob swarmed the House floor to stop the certification of 2020 election results.

“This is unventured territory. I was in Congress for 16 years, and that includes being evacuated on 9/11 and being evacuated twice after 9/11. And as horrific as that was, the scene on Capitol Hill today looked worse. I've never seen members of the Capitol Hill police force and the Sergeant at Arms personnel draw their firearms on the floor of the House to protect it," Israel said.

Israel said there needs to be a full investigation into how insurrections were able to break through security. He called the Capitol mob an un-American assault on democracy, and said President Trump provoked it.

Israel is close with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“I've not heard from the speaker. When I saw the photograph of one of the thugs sitting at her desk, defiling her work. I was going to try and text her, but she has more important things to do, than read text from people like me. I know that she's safe,” Israel said.

Pelosi was a target of the mob.

Israel said she was whisked underground with other members of Congress to a safe room. He said it is part of a safety protocol that was adopted after the September 11 terrorism attacks.

Gary Rose is a Connecticut political scientist. He said Republicans would need to do some soul searching following Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol.

“The Republican Party does need to rethink where it’s going in this country and the positions that it takes and the candidates that it supports because this can’t continue right now. This cannot continue. It’s very detrimental to the Republic,” Rose said.

Professor Rose chairs the Department of Government at Sacred Heart University.

Rose said the U.S. Constitution clearly outlines how a presidential election should be decided.

“I wish more people would be certainly informed about that and understand how the electoral college works and the role of Congress in reviewing the electoral votes and announcing the winner. And all of this that we have seen unfold here... the challenges and everything... I don't believe it is necessarily consistent with the Founding Fathers,” Rose said.