Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday credited the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol for laying “the foundation” to Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of former President Trump.
“The courageous Members of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack knew the evidence and they knew the law,” Pelosi said in a tweet Thursday.
“The Committee’s patriotic work laid the foundation to this historic moment. No one is above the law – not even a former President of the United States,” she said.
The 45th president pleaded not guilty to charges related to his alleged role in the Capitol riot during his arraignment proceedings in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
Trump, the 2024 GOP front-runner, is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.
Other Democrats weighed in after Trump’s court appearance, including the ranking member on the House Rules Committee, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., who said, “The First Amendment protects lies – and even liars. But it doesn’t protect criminal activity.”
“It certainly doesn’t shield Trump from liability for engaging in an illegal conspiracy to throw out the lawful election results just because he didn’t like them,” he said.
The indictment comes out of Smith’s investigation into whether Trump or other officials and entities interfered with the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 presidential election, including the certification of the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya presided over Thursday’s proceedings. Judge Tanya Chutkan will preside over the trial. Chutkan, a former assistant public defender before her appointment to the bench by former President Barack Obama, has handled several cases involving people who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Before departing the nation’s capitol for his home in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump gave a brief statement to the media.
“This is a very sad day for America,” said Trump. “And it was also very sad driving through Washington, D.C. and seeing the filth, and the decay, and all of the broken buildings and walls and the graffiti. This is not the place that I left. It’s a very sad thing to see it.”
“When you look at what’s happening, this is a persecution of a political opponent. This was never supposed to happen in America. This is the persecution of the person that’s leading by very, very substantial numbers in the Republican primary and leading Biden by a lot. So, if you can’t beat them, you persecute them or you prosecute them. We can’t let this happen in America,” he said.
Fox News Digital’s Brooke Singman and Houston Keene contributed to this report.