Insurrection and accountability

MCDP Chair weighs in on Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection

New York Times reporters reached out to Democratic leaders across the country regarding how the incoming Biden administration should address the violent Jan. 6 Capitol Hill insurrection by Donald Trump-supporting extremists, who stormed Congress to demand the results of the November 2020 election be overturned. The resulting article (Democrats Are Determined to Pressure Biden to Investigate Trump) went live online Jan. 9. That was four days before the US House of Representatives impeached Trump for the second time (South Dakota’s lone representative, Republican Dusty Johnson, voted against the article of impeachment).

Minnehaha County Democratic Party Chair (and South Dakota Democratic Party Vice-Chair) Nikki Gronli shared her responses to the NYT‘s questions:

  1. Should the Biden administration’s Justice Department prosecute Donald Trump? And for what?

    President Trump incited violence against Congress in a desperate attempt to overthrow the will of the people and hold onto power. That is such a stunning statement. The Justice Department must do its job, investigate and hold him accountable. They also need to look at his co-conspirators who helped incite this violence. This was an attack on democracy, and we can’t afford to let it go unpunished.

  2. How important is it that Trump aides and allies face investigations and, if warranted, prosecutions, or do you think that would be a distraction from the various other crises (pandemic, economy, climate, etc) that the Biden administration will have to address?

    The Biden administration should stay focused on dealing with the pandemic, the economy, the climate crisis, and repairing the damage done by the Trump administration.

    The current administration should be investigated and charged accordingly. We need to send the message that if you incite violence to overthrow the government of the United States of America, whether you are a domestic or foreign actor, there are consequences. The Department of Justice should take care of this work and keep it out of the halls of Congress and the White House. It should not distract from the important work that need to be done to repair and build back better our great country.

    We witnessed an insurrection incited by the President and that type of criminal activity can’t go unpunished. We can’t send the message that this is okay, or we set ourselves up for a repeat in the future.

  3. Is there a bigger political risk to Democrats long term in focusing attention on prosecuting crimes committed by Trump and his administration or allowing people to believe such acts can be committed without retribution?

    This administration and those involved need to be held accountable. This was one of the darkest acts by an American against the U.S. Government. This is a reckoning. If we want to hold onto democracy this is the moment we need our judicial system to do its part and protect it. Everyone needs to put political aspirations aside and just do the right thing for the future of our country.

  4. What should the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate do with regards to Trump administration investigations once Trump himself is out of office?

    The House and Senate should stay focused on the immediate needs of the American people. Getting the economy back on track and providing relief for all those affected by COVID-19 must be the cornerstone of this Congress. Let the Justice Department deal with investigations and criminal charges. This is the time to be laser focused on what matters most in the day-to-day lives of the American people.

    Legislating in a meaningful way that keeps the American people at the heart of their work must be the priority right now. Some of the greatest challenges our country has seen lay before us right now. It’s time to swiftly help struggling Americans and help heal the wounds that have come from this dark chapter in our history.