Sanford Bishop: Senate vote doesn't end Capitol riot investigation

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Feb. 15—ALBANY — Sanford Bishop, the dean of the state of Georgia's U.S. Congressional delegation, said Monday the possibility of criminal charges being brought in response to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol break-in by a mob of former president Donald Trump's supporters remains very real.

In Albany to view first-hand Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital's $5.3 million Simulation and Innovation Center, the Democratic House member said that while he was disappointed that the Senate chose not to convict Trump on charges that he was part of the insurrection at the Capitol building that left five people dead, including two Capitol Police officers, he doesn't think the issue was resolved with the action taken by the Senate on Saturday.

"I'm very disappointed in that outcome because I believe the House managers did an extraordinary, masterful job of laying out, step-by step, the incendiary actions of the former president on Jan. 6," Bishop said. "(His words and actions led to) a clear and present danger to the vice president, the speaker of the House, and to members of Congress.

"As days and weeks go on, I think you're going to see more facts come out. I think that preparations are ongoing and that you'll see criminal charges brought in other venues. I don't think (the vote by the Senate) will be the end of this."

Bishop said he was preparing to offer defense of Georgia's electoral votes during the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 when members of that body were told to "lock the doors and shelter in place."

"At that time, Sen. (Kelly) Loeffler had not withdrawn what was expected to be a challenge of Georgia's electoral votes, and as dean of the state delegation, I was minutes away from going to the floor to defend the state's votes in the general election," Bishop said. "That was a very dark time for our republic."

Bishop, who is in his 29th year as the representative of Georgia's Second Congressional District, said that, despite the outcome of the Senate vote during the impeachment trial of Trump, the proceedings were "necessary."

"Even with the Senate deciding not to convict, it was important that we go through this process, that the country see clearly this insurrection, the seditious attacks on our country," Bishop said. "I think the case was made that makes clear what happened on that day and who was responsible.

"I am pleased, though, that now we can move forward and get back to the business of dealing with this pandemic and getting our nation back on track economically. We need to get back to being that 'city on the hill' that the world looks up to. Because of (the Jan. 6 actions), we lost a lot of that distinction in the world's eyes."

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