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House Majority Leader Accuses Some Jan. 6 Rioters of 'Treason'

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) says that some of the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 are guilty of treason.

During a speech on the House floor, Hoyer asked, “What happened on Jan. 6? What was the insurrection about? What were people coming into the Capitol saying, ‘Let’s hang the vice president of the United States? Not of our party.”

“You know, people shake their heads, I’m not sure why they’re shaking their heads. They saw it on television. They see it on the tapes over, and over, and over. They see people being convicted. I happen to think the sentences are too short. It was treason! It was treason based upon a lie,” he added.

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Rioters on Jan. 6 were reportedly saying they wanted to find and execute then-Vice President Mike Pence for not rejecting the Electoral College vote count. Some accused Pence of committing treason by not rejecting the count.

Merriam-Webster defines treason as, “The offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family.”

Hoyer also blasted some of his Republican colleagues for downplaying the violence that day, “Now I know that some of you had pictures of you in this House. You looked pretty terrified to me. You thought there was something serious happening. And this stuff that this was a tourist visit is absurd.”

In May, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) claimed, “Let’s be honest with the American people, it was not an insurrection. And we cannot call it that and be truthful.”

Did the rioters commit treason?

He added, “Watching the TV footage of those who entered Capitol and walked through Statutory Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the sixth, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”

Footage from the Capitol on Jan. 6 showed rioters smashing windows and vandalizing other parts of the building as Congress was scheduled to meet to certify the results of the Electoral College.

More than 535 people have been arrested in connection with the riot, as of July 20, according to CBS News. Additionally, at least 20 defendants have pleaded guilty. And law enforcement officials say there are 300 other individuals yet to be identified, which includes at least 200 allegedly assaulted police officers during the riot.

Earlier this week, a Capitol riot defendant, a man from Florida, was sentenced to eight months in prison.

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