NEW YORK – In case you missed it, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, appeared on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes to describe threats made against him and his family as a result of the big lie perpetuated by former President Trump and supported by so many Republicans.
HAYES: Congressman, just tell me what you know and what you’re willing to say. Obviously, there are some security concerns here about the threats this individual directed at family members of yours on January 6.
REP. JEFFRIES: I just want to express my thanks and deep gratitude to the FBI, the NYPD, the Capitol Police, as well as all of the law enforcement authorities who clearly have taken this threat and all of the threats that have been directed at Members of Congress and others seriously in a moment where we saw a violent attack on the Capitol incited and encouraged by Donald Trump.
This is something that unfolded on January 6, directed at a family member of mine. This individual apparently had secured a phone number, secured an address, made it appear as though they were prepared to proceed violently, either at the address of my family member and/or my own home address at the same time that the Capitol was being attacked.
The most important thing here, Chris, is that what was chilling in the message that was received is that this individual said, “Stop telling lies. Biden did not win. He will not be President.” And so, he was radicalized by the big lie that Donald Trump told and that has been supported by so many Republicans in the House and the Senate.
HAYES: I just want to be clear on the details, because I read through some of the unsealed complaint in the Southern District, and I want to protect the identity of folks here so I’ll just refer to a family member, but just, I mean, it’s one thing, you know, obviously, you’re a Congressman, right? And I can imagine that your cell phone number probably circulates among various people. And if you got a threat like that, it would spook you and you would report it. But for a family member of yours, to have their cell phone number, someone say, “You go talk to your brother or we’re coming for you” and also intimate that they were outside, possibly at the residence or knew where the residence of this family member was when this is unfolding on national television—that is really unnerving.
REP. JEFFRIES: It certainly was unnerving. This is something that actually unfolded at the same moment that we had been evacuated. The mob is violently attacking the Capitol. Those images were being broadcast to family members of Members of Congress all across the country who were uncertain as to what was happening to us and at the same time, communicating on a cell phone that is not publicly available and sending images of the neighborhood where this family member resides. So, it was clearly designed to instill terror, and I’m just thankful that law enforcement officials have apprehended this individual and will allow the process to play itself out.
But we can’t allow the radicalization of these individuals to go without consequence. The former President of the United States is responsible for this type of activity. He’s the person who has perpetrated the big lie that he actually won the election and that the presidency was stolen by Joe Biden and Democrats in the House and other individuals like Mike Pence. That’s why there were people who violently attacked the Capitol, who were there to assassinate Nancy Pelosi, hang Mike Pence and hunt down Members of Congress.
And now you’ve got Senate Republicans who want to whitewash the whole thing. Well, we’re not going to allow them to whitewash anything. The House impeachment managers are going to proceed and they’re going to present a compelling case. I’m hopeful that we can find 12 additional Senate Republicans prepared to do the right thing and convict Donald Trump.
HAYES: What goes through your head when you hear Nikki Haley say, “I mean, come on, move on? I mean, give the guy a break?”
REP. JEFFRIES: It’s such an outrageous statement and shows how people who I have previously had respect for have just been corrupted with this sycophantic behavior in connection with Donald Trump for whatever the reason. It’s really a sickness that seems to have infected the Republican Party and hopefully they’ll figure out how to extricate themselves from it.
Nikki, we are not moving on from insurrection. We’re not moving on from sedition. We’re not moving on from the violent assault on the Capitol, no matter what you might think of our effort to hold this President accountable.
HAYES: You mentioned that you hold the President at least partly responsible for what happened that day, even for this individual that threatened a family member of yours. Right? That he said stop lying about the election. That he believes what the President told him and what various right wing media told him and various neighbors told him for weeks. Adam Serwer at The Atlantic, I thought, had a very cunning observation. He said, “We’re going to go with the Abu Ghraib model of justice with the Capitol riot, which is that the small fries involved get time and the elites who enabled them get to pretend it wasn’t their fault.” And of course, if you remember, the people involved in those horrendous photos were, of course, prosecuted, but there was very little accountability up the chain, particularly not for Donald Rumsfeld, who even refused to resign at the time. And how important is accountability for those in power for what happened on January 6?
REP. JEFFRIES: It’s incredibly important and we’re going to start with the organized crime boss who formerly occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And then we have to work our way down from there and deal with some of the underbosses like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz and Kevin McCarthy, who continue to support these QAnon caucus, conspiracy caucus and crackpot caucus Members who’ve taken over the House Republican Conference. But let’s start with the President of the United States, the former twice-impeached President I should say, and then proceed from there.
The House impeachment managers, they’re going to conduct themselves in a solemn and serious and substantive fashion. I remain hopeful and optimistic that the Senators will follow the facts, apply to law, be guided by the Constitution and let the chips fall where they may, regardless of party affiliation.