Statement Of Ian Bassin, Executive Director of Protect Democracy on the events of January 6, 2021
- January 6, 2021
Today is a tragic day for our nation, and a tragic day for democracy.
At the behest of the outgoing President of the United States, Donald Trump, insurrectionists stormed our Capitol building in order to violently stop the counting of electoral votes and the peaceful transfer of power.
Make no mistake: Donald Trump called for this, encouraged this, and is responsible for this.
He must be impeached and removed from office immediately, and pursuant to the Constitution, barred from ever holding federal office again. And then the Department of Justice must consider what criminal laws have been violated and what charges may be appropriate. The Department must follow the facts and the law and prosecute those responsible, regardless of their position, including if that leads to the indictment of the soon to be former President of the United States.
It is essential for the future well being of the republic that this be a moment in which our nation demonstrates that no one is above the law.
Furthermore, that Donald Trump was leading an authoritarian assault on our republic has been clear for years. And yet, the current Republican Party and its elected officials, with limited exceptions, have enabled his attacks on our republic and failed to do their duty to hold him accountable. That failure is also responsible for what we are witnessing today.
Those within the Republican Party who have righteously stood up for our democratic republic must retake leadership, while those who have enabled and tolerated these attacks on our system must be turned out of office pursuant to the accountability mechanisms contained in our Constitution. The United States needs a robust debate over policy in which parties of different views compete for people’s votes. We need healthy parties on the right and left that do that while committing to the foundational elements of our democratic republic.
Today’s events also reflect a deeper rot in our democracy that Donald Trump exploited and worsened. That rot will outlast him. It is the responsibility and opportunity of this generation to heal that rot, and to repair and renew our republic. We have never achieved our highest aspirations for a fully inclusive democracy, but we can and must if our nation is to survive and prosper. That is the mission before us, and We The People will deliver on it.