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Home / Press Release / Congress Must Hold Members Accountable for Instigating the Attack on Our Election and Capitol
January 13, 2021

Congress Must Hold Members Accountable for Instigating the Attack on Our Election and Capitol

WASHINGTON – As Congress moves to impeach President Trump, it must also look at the actions of its own members who violated their oaths of office by instigating a violent attack on our Capitol in an attempt to prevent the lawful transfer of power after the 2020 presidential election and seek accountability for their actions as well.   

“Members of Congress from all parties must go beyond condemnation of the attack on the Capitol building,” said Michael Breen, CEO and President of Human Rights First. “They must unequivocally denounce the voices of extremism, authoritarianism, and white nationalism that brought it about, including those voices within their own ranks.”

Last week’s violent attack at the Capitol was instigated, fueled, and enabled by President Trump and others, including Members of Congress, who continue to reject the voice of the American people and spread false claims of election fraud.

As an attempt to overturn a free and fair election, the attack was an assault on our democracy and the values to which this nation aspires. It put the lives of our elected representatives at risk, left at least five people dead, and exposed the rising threats of violent white extremism and authoritarianism that this nation must address.

Human Rights First calls for Members of Congress who enabled, supported, or encouraged efforts to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, or incited such efforts by peddling false claims of election fraud to be held accountable through expulsion, resignation, or other appropriate mechanisms.  

Human Rights First continued to call for individuals who participated in the unlawful breach of the Capitol building to be identified, charged, and prosecuted commensurate with the gravity of the attack.

We have also demanded a thorough investigation into the failure to secure the Capitol building and surrounding areas as well as the shocking disparities between the preparation and response to this incident compared to other situations, most notably the response to racial justice protests throughout 2020.

Human Rights First has also pledged to work with the new administration and Congress to enact systemic changes that address the root causes of the attack.