‘Assaulted Cops, Stormed The Capitol’: Hawley Says Capitol Rioters Should ‘Absolutely’ Be Prosecuted

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley said that individuals who committed crimes during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot should “absolutely” be prosecuted.

“We absolutely need to prosecute and hold accountable criminal rioters who assaulted cops, who stormed the Capitol, who broke the law,” Hawley told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday. “And that’s true no matter what your political ideology is.”

“I said this all last year. I will defend people’s right to protest peacefully whether I agree with them or not. I did that for the BLM protesters. I said they had every right to protest peacefully. What they don’t have a right to do is storm federal buildings, attack cops, burn businesses, shoot people,” he continued.

“It’s true of the Capitol rioters. If you gather peacefully, that’s protected First Amendment activity. But as soon as you start engaging in unlawful conduct, you start trespassing, you start assaulting cops, no, you are a criminal, you have broken the law now, and you need to be prosecuted.” (RELATED: DOJ Expects At Least 100 More Charges Over Capitol Riots)

Hawley was criticized by current and retired Republican officials for his vote to object to the certification of electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.

After Hawley objected to the electoral slate and raised a fist to protesters outside the Capitol before the riot, former Republican Missouri Sen. Jack Danforth said that “encourag[ing] people to support [Hawley] both for [state] attorney general and later the U.S. Senate … was one the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in my life.”

Other indirect criticisms came from Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney. She said that she does not “think that some of our candidates who led the charge, particularly the senators who led the unconstitutional charge, not to certify the election” should run for president, calling it “disqualifying.”