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Rep. Spanberger talks impeachment, Capitol riot, and inauguration security

"It's a challenging time for our country.”
Posted at 6:27 PM, Jan 13, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. -- Hanging over Tuesday evening’s vote on a resolution in the US House of Representatives to urge Vice-President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, was the near certainty of a vote Wednesday to impeach Mr. Trump.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (7th District), a Democrat, spoke to CBS 6 Tuesday about what lies ahead. We also contacted the office of Rep. Rob Wittman (R, 1st District) to get his take on the fast-moving events. We are still waiting for a response.

The resolution would recognize that “The president had a significant role in inciting the violence that led to the attack by domestic terrorists, by insurrectionists on the United States Capitol,” said Spanberger.

“It is our hope to make clear to the vice president, to members of the Cabinet, that there is significant concern within the United States Congress that the President continues to be unfit for office and continues to not recognize any of his responsibility for inciting the insurrection last week.”

Spanberger also said the president “doesn't recognize the ongoing significant threat to the United States Capitol and the upcoming inauguration event, and should he not be removed by that resolution, then impeachment articles, would be voted on” Wednesday.

Spanberger said history could provide some guidance.

“My opinion is that it would be preferable for the President to recognize the role that he has played in this and resign,” Spanberger said. “It would be preferable if many Republicans, and we've been asking for this and having conversations related to this, would call on him to resign as so many did with Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal came to light.”

Legislation is also being worked on that would censure and potentially expel lawmakers who questioned the results of the election during the certification of the Electoral College votes, who Spanberger said promoted the fiction that the election was fraudulent.

“It’s appropriate that members of the United States Congress should be very clear in our confirmation that the elections across the country in all 50 states, were certified,” said Spanberger. “Some have alleged there was fraud, primarily for political gain and for partisan reasons. They were trafficking in these conspiracy theories for political gain so I think it's important that we have the conversation about their level of culpability.”

Spanberger says the violence of last week at the Capitol and the trauma in its wake, has led to unprecedented security precautions in DC, especially in the days leading up the Inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden.

“There were clear failures of information-sharing, failures to prepare for the level, and the scope of threat that existed,” she said. ”But looking at the videos, there were members of the Capitol Police and the DC Metropolitan Police Force, who were fighting to protect the Capitol, fighting to protect us. Officer Brian Sicknick lost his life in that fight, beaten by these insurrectionists, by these domestic terrorists. I witnessed firsthand, members of the Capitol Police, who were barricading the door with benches and tables trying to ensure that they were protecting the people inside. There were massive failures in preparation, to have a plan to deal with and contend with this type of domestic terrorist attack. But the police officers who were on duty that day, so many of them, were valiantly trying to save lives.”

Spanberger said there are clear indications of potential violence next week.

“We've been briefed on many of the threat streams that exist and they are real and they are significant and they are deeply concerning,” Spanberger said. “I say that from the perspective of someone who worked counter-terrorism with CIA. I focused on terrorist organizations overseas. So here in the homeland, the fact that there are significant and deeply disturbing threats to the American homeland by domestic terrorists is wildly alarming and horrific. What we'll be seeing is an absolute fortification of Washington DC. It seems domestic terrorists, would-be insurgents hope to be descending upon the United States Capitol, and state capitals across the country over the weekend and intending to stay through Inauguration. It's a challenging time for our country.”