January 13, 2021
Several Congress members led "reconnaissance" tours of the U.S. Capitol on the day before a violent, pro-Trump mob invaded the building and forced lawmakers to evacuate, a North Jersey Congresswoman says.
U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, a Democrat representing New Jersey's 11th District, made the claims in a 13-minute Facebook live video that also blamed Republican lawmakers for inciting the deadly riot.
Sherrill, a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot, did not name any of the Congress members who supposedly led the tours. But she pledged to hold accountable the Congress members who "abetted" President Donald Trump's efforts to undermine the election results.
"We can't have a democracy if members of Congress are actively helping the president overturn the elections results," Sherrill said in the video, posted Tuesday night.
"And so not only do I intend to see that the president is removed and never runs for office again, and doesn't have access to classified material, I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him, those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 — a reconnaissance for the next day, those members of Congress that incited this violent crowd, those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy, I'm going to see they are held accountable and, if necessary, ensure that they don't serve in Congress."
The Washington Post inquired whether the FBI and Capitol Police are investigating Sherrill's claim, but the agencies did not immediately respond.
Sherrill's remarks came just before the House approved a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and declare Trump unfit for office. Pence rejected the call, leaving lawmakers to pursue impeachment proceedings one week before President-elect Joe Biden assumes office.
House Democrats began debating impeachment Wednesday morning. Trump is accused of inciting the insurrection during a rally that took place prior to the riot.
Five people died during the riot, including a U.S. Capitol police officer from New Jersey, a woman in the mob who was shot by Capitol Police, and three Trump supporters who died of medical emergencies.
Sherrill said she crouched on the floor with other lawmakers as the mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building, before evacuating to a safe location.
"We were worried that at every corner we would find the mob," Sherrill said.
Sherrill, a former federal prosecutor, was first elected to Congress in 2018. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee.