History is always made in Washington when one presidential administration gives way to another, but the events of last week are particularly memorable. Donald Trump became the first president to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives, this time for insurrection. Prosecutors began filing charges against the hooligans who stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, aided in many cases by their clueless selfies and abundant videos of that outrage. Members of Congress want to find out whether that riot was spontaneous or planned, and just how much danger our elected representatives were in.

It’s a mess, frankly, and one that must be thoroughly investigated. Every single person who broke the law on that terrible day must be prosecuted if he or she can be identified. This was a grotesque assault on the very place where democracy happens in our country, and none of it should be minimized or excused. Nothing like this had happened before in our history, and it must never happen again.

The need for accountability extends to members of Congress who perpetuated the absurd lie that the Nov. 3 election was “stolen” by supporters of President-elect Joe Biden. More than 50 lawsuits alleging this voter fraud were tossed out by one court after another — including ones with many Republican judges — because they lacked any proof. Most Republican senators also rejected the unconstitutional move on Jan. 6 to refuse the certify the vote in the Electoral College, though sadly, most Republican House members supported it.

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That group includes local members Brian Babin and Randy Weber. These votes will forever haunt whatever else they do in their political careers. At a time when respect for the rule of law and the peaceful transition of power mattered the most, they surrendered to cheap partisanship. Special scorn should be reserved for Texas’ Sen. Ted Cruz, who did more th an just vote along with the nonsense. He tried to lead a group of rebellious senators on the day of that shameful riot to “study” voting results that had already been studied and verified in their states. Cruz was trying to burnish his national reputation and lay the groundwork for a presidential run in 2024, but in our view he has permanently disqualified himself from serious consideration.

Trump has three more days left in his presidency, and right now it looks as if he won’t be tried in the Senate before he leaves office, and it’s unclear over whether that might happen afterward. Even if the Senate doesn’t take this up, he may face criminal charges for inciting the riot or civil lawsuits by the many victims. Legal scholars are split over whether he can pardon himself, should he pursue that option.

But everyone should be clear about how this calamity happened. Trump summoned thousands of his supporters to Washington that day precisely because Congress was voting to close the book on his baseless claims and finalize Biden’s victory. At a raucous rally that morning, he ginned up the crowd with more lies and exhortations to be “strong,” even promising to march with them down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. He didn’t of course, and knew he wouldn’t when he said that.

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This mob was organized and directed by Trump. None of this wouldn’t have happened without his groundless claims to “stop the steal,” and all of the responsibility for what happened lies with him and his enablers. Even as we turn the page to a new president, they must bear the consequences for one of the worst days in our nation’s history.



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