tv DC Attorney General Holds News Conference CSPAN December 15, 2021 1:20pm-2:07pm EST
march on selma and the war in vietnam. not everyone knew they were being recorded. >> certainly johnson's secretaries knew because they were tasked with transcribing many of those conversations. in fact, they were the want to make sure the conversations were taped as johnson weak signal to them through an open door between his office and there is. >> you'll also hear some blunt talk. >> presidential recordings on the c-span now app or wherever you get your podcasts. >> washington unfiltered, c-span
>> next will be the honorable charles allen, ward six councilmember the covers the capitol hill area and other areas in the district of columbia and is also the chair of the d.c. city council judiciary committee. joanne lidgate is the director of the bipartisan organization that works to ensure access to voting for all and works against violence and extremism. last but not least is jonathan greenblatt, the ceo of the anti-defamation league, the leading organization in the fight against hate that works tirelessly to advocate for justice and fair treatment for all. i also want to thank our
cocounsel in the case who provided excellent pro bono assistance those are lawyers from two firms. - >> behind us is the united states capital and this has stood since 1800 and it is where franklin delano roosevelt, her country's longest serving elected president's words are inscribed and here is what they say. we must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred is a wedge designed to
attack our civilization. allow me now to take us back to another tragic day that befell our country, september 11, 20 -- 2001. on this day, the united states weathered a terrorist attack covertly orchestrated from beyond our country's borders, one that also aimed to take down our capital if it wasn't for the heroes on flight 93. our country responded by declaring war on terrorism and what became our country's longest armed conflict. nearly a year ago, on january 6, 2021, our country faced a very different but familiar enemy. inflamed by a sitting president
and other elected officials, fellow americans dressed in military fatigues and wearing red, white and lou were armed with weapons and materials that shockingly permitted them to construct a wooden gallows used to execute someone by hanging on the grounds of our hallowed capital. like the flames that attacked just like the planes that attacked the pentagon and the world trade center, the images of that contemptible day can never be erased. it was like 9/11, he planned terrorist attack but this time, our own citizens were hell-bent on destroying the freedom and ideals on which our country was founded. and continues to aspire to achieve. january 6 was, to say the least,
a brazen, violent and deadly attack that traumatized the city, this community and our country. importantly, no one bore the brunt of this gutless attack more than the courageous law enforcement officers including the men and women of the d.c. metropolitan police department who went into the fire and violence with one objective in mind -- remove the violent mob and restore our countries fragile democracy. while some desperately want to rewrite history and sweet the events of january 6 under the rug, the district of columbia and its residents have chosen to speak truth through this filing, this complaint, through this
case. it is for these reasons that the independent office of attorney general for the district of columbia is filing the first civil lawsuit by a state or municipal government to hold accountable the proud boys, the oath keepers and more than ready of their leaders and members for conspiring to terrorize the district of columbia, for unlawfully interfering with our country peaceful transition of power and for assaulting our men and women in blue. they valiantly defended the capital of the district and their freedom. specifically, we are bringing this lawsuit pursuant to local and federal law including the ku klux klan act of 1871, a reconstruction era federal law designed to protect our country against violent conspiracy, protect our citizens against
violent conspiracy like the attack that took place on january 6. in the complaint which has been filed and is public, we specifically allege that these vigilantes, insurrectionists and masters of a lawless mob conspired against the district of columbia. they planned and promoted and participated in the violent attack on the united states capital. we further allege the named defendants cause substantial and provable damage to the district of columbia and, in particular, to err courageous law enforcement officers who risked their lives. and some even died. to defend the capital, the district and our country's freedom. as the independent attorney general, i have the responsive
liddy to enforce our laws and whole these violent offenders accountable because they caused actual, physical and financial harm to our city, its employees and a residence. we brought this suit for four reasons. first, accountability. folding wrongdoers accountable is an american value. it is at the core of my legal responsibility. the defendants, as you know, were not tourists nor were they acting patriotically. they were vigilantes, members of a mob, insurrectionists who sought to crush our country's freedoms. second, deterrence. our country is a country of laws. we certainly can and do disagree on a plethora of issues both big and small.
however, in the united states of america and in the district of columbia, we resolve our disagreements in a civil non-violent manner. those who don't like by these rules must be held responsible to deter future violent and undemocratic conduct. restitution and recompense is the third reason why we are bringing this suit today. in our country, when an individual or entity suffers physical, mental and financial injury caused by the illegal act of others, the victims are entitled to restitution and recompense. we all agree that the tragedy of pedestrians hit by a vehicle by walking on a crosswalk are deserving of restitution and recompense at the very least. so too, our law enforcement
officers who were injured in the course of stopping a violent mob hell-bent on taking away our freedoms. again, restitution and recompense our american values. in this case, the unlawful actions because the district to deploy unprecedented resources to repel and defeat an attack on her country's capital. during the height of the attack, approximately 850 members of the metropolitan police department were at the capital in the immediate area surrounding. scores of officers were hired emergency medical treatment and continued to receive physical and mental health treatment today as a result of physical injuries that in many cases will last a lifetime.
including the unavailability of officers were not able to immediately return to their jobs protecting d.c. residence are substantial. through this lawsuit, we will seek to enclose -- to impose severe financial penalties on the groups and individuals found responsible. we seek justice for the brave men and women of the metropolitan police department. police officers sign up to protect our residents. this is true but they don't sign up for war on our country. they don't sign up to being attacked and armed mob beaten with bats and polls and fists and dragged downstairs, kicked by thugs. my mind was to metropolitan police department officer michael penone, a veteran officer who voted for president trump and 2016.
obviously, michael defended the capital on january 6 and video evidence of his testimony revealed that he fought valiantly against the mob. in doing so, he succumbs to the violent mob and was dragged down those capital steps. officer fenone suffered a heart attack and concussion as he was repeatedly shot with a taser and physically beaten. in his own words, some guys started getting a hold of mike gunn and they were screaming out, kill him, kill him with his own gun. a father of four, officer f enone. fortunately but not before ending physically hurt and mentally traumatized, he survived. ladies and gentlemen, mpd
officer ashida and to others also put their lives on the line on january 6. they suffered mightily. sadly, they took their own lives afterwards. this lawsuit seeks justice for them, their families and the many officers who still live with the pain from january 6. let me thank you for gathering here today and now let me pass the microphone to congresswoman elinor holmes known jeff norton who has spent her life fighting for the equality that this country aspires for. she has spent her life fighting for the freedoms and democracy the police officers fought for on january 6. it is my honor to introduce you again to congresswoman elinor holmes norton.
>> thank you, attorney general racine. i appreciate how you have laid out the purposes for this press conference and i particularly appreciate the lawsuit that you creatively are bringing. i am pleased to welcome to the capital are other guests whom you will hear from shortly. on january 6, the u.s. capital was attacked by individuals seeking to overturn our democratic form of government. while president trump refused to send in the d.c. national guard to the capital, the metropolitan police department voluntarily responded, protecting the
capital, congress and democracy itself. despite the ongoing attack, trump delayed in deploying the d.c. national guard to defend the capital for hours. to ensure this would never happen again and to provide greater home rule and equality for the district, i was able to get included in the house passed national defense authorization act by the d.c. national guard act. it would give the d.c. mayor control over the d.c. national guard. i am very disappointed however that republicans fought this provision and it was dropped from the final version. -- of the national defense authorization act.
in their work defending the capital on that day, d.c. and the metropolitan police department in particular incurred expenses. i was able to secure a 9.1 million dollar federal payment to the district in an emergency supplemental or parisians bill that was signed into law in july to compensate d.c. for the direct cost of responding to the attack. it is appropriate that the perpetrators of the attack compensate d.c. for the other costs d.c. incurred that day including for medical treatment and paid leave which are outside
the scope of the funding i was able to secure for the district. from damage to police property, to medical expenses related to the attack, the perpetrators -- by the perpetrators including crowd boys and the oath keepers must pay the district of columbia. i strongly support and appreciate the filing of this lawsuit. >> my name is charles allen, the word six councilmember when i heard the attorney general talking about september 11, i couldn't help but look up at the blue sky and remember that day and i think january 6 will be as important in our nations
history. i am in full support of the efforts to hold accountable those who carry out a premeditated and coordinated attack not only on our nations capital but on our home and our mpd officers and residents. the impact of january 6 was felt nationwide but few americans experienced it as personally as we did. insurrectionists intentionally created a situation that ultimately cost the lives and endangered many more. it's difficult to describe the terror that our residents, my constituents, knelt during the insurrection, the pain, confusion we collectively experience as we saw a mob desecrating it. the concern we have for our neighbors who work in his holding and i have oversight for the first responders of the
district and i can tell you our men and women in lawton oarsmen and ems put their lives on the line that day and still today, they are suffering the emotional and physical harm they experienced. for many officers, it was their first time going in that building and the carry with them the emotional and psychological harm and pain that they will be fighting and working on for the rest of their lives and careers. the suit today is when we we can demand accountability and feeling as though -- as a community, city and the nation stuff i want to thank the partners that have been a part of this for their work to seek justice for d.c. residence as we are too often an afterthought when this plays out in our front yard. my two children were eight and four years old last january. recognizing that i have to tell them and they will read about the history of what happens
january 6. my hope is that measures we take today will be part of the story that's told and as they understand what was that risk and the ways we came together to fight back to preserve our democracy and hold those in jeopardy accountable. >> thank you attorney general racine, congressman norton, councilmember allen, jonathan greet let -- greenblatt. we are grateful to have you in these partners in this groundbreaking place. i am the ceo at the safe united democracy center where we are a bipartisan teen a former federal and state officials, law enforcement leaders and security experts we help states protect our elections and their democracy. before that, i served as the
chief deputy attorney general for massachusetts. i got to work with colleagues across the country including my grote good friend karl racing to fight on behalf of everyday americans and uphold the rule of a year ago today, on december 14, 2020, presidential electors representing both parties met in all 50 states and the district to choose our next president step the electors did their job and then they sent their choices to congress to certify the will of the american people step on january 6, 2021, the world watched in horror as the mob attacked the people rounds we are standing on and the capital behind me. it wasn't just an attack and are members of congress and public safety officers. it was an attack on our democracy step it was an attack on the american people made their voices heard in record numbers at the ballot box.
our government leaders were there on january 6 two affirmed the will of the american voter. our public safety officers were there to protect and serve. they were attacked for simply doing their job. that's why republicans and democrats alike condemned the violence and committed to preventing anything like it from happening again. that is what this case is about. it's about holding the proud boys, the oath keepers and dozens of insurrectionists accountable for the violent assault on our democracy and the trauma they inflicted on the district and public safety officers that day. this case is about consequences and it's about prevention. while some would like to act like we could just move on from the horrors of january 6, that would be irresponsible and dangerous. right now, we are witnessing a major in recent political
violence in america. election lies and conspiracy theories help fuel the insurrection in those same lies pose a serious threat to our country today step every day, because of those lies, our state and local election officials, the trusted guardians of our democracy face violent threats and harassment. the attack on our democracy is far from over stop if we don't take action, we risk letting violence become a feature of our political life stop we won't let that happen. we are a nation of laws and there are serious consequences, legal and financial, for trying to hijack an election. history tells us that accountability is critical to moving forward. this case joins a powerful line of lawsuits holding perpetrators of political violence accountable. from the organizers of the unite the right rally in charlottesville and the clue --
and the ku klux klan, democracy is not just an institution process. it is a living, breathing thing, a set of ongoing challenges. while the solution to those challenges cannot be found in the room, the justice system has a pivotal role to play. this case is about justice for the district and for the brave officers who risk their lives on january 6. our capital and our country are still healing and processing and too many families will never recover from the loss and trauma inflicted that day. we keep them in our hearts. today, we also reaffirm our commit safeguarding the demo attic system, the american foundation that those officers and members of congress were there to protect stop this is an all hands on deck moment. we are fighting for the future of our democracy and we couldn't
have better partners in that fight than the people standing with me today, the amazing team of lawyers, the adl and leaders across the country like attorney general racing -- racine, thank you so much. >> thank you attorney general racine, delegate norton, councilmember allen for having me here today along with my colleague joanna lidman. we are truly honored to work with you on these landmark cases. against the proud boys, the oath keepers and more than 30 individuals who coordinated an active domestic terrorism against our democracy right here in this place.
we take this responsibility seriously. for more than 100 years, adl has worked to stop the defamation of the jewish people and secure justice and fair treatment to all, deliver on this mission, we have been at the forefront of such fee to claim monitoring, exposing and countering a stream is threats from across the ideological spectrum step the adl experts tracked the planning for the january 6 a cap -- attack on the capital. we help to identify the perpetrators and any connections they had to groups like the proud boys and oath keepers we are deeply honored now to be putting that expertise at the service of the district of columbia and the brave officers who were injured or killed as a result of that day. no one will forget the images we
saw on january 6. for the jewish community, seeing individuals wearing anti-semitic t-shirts with images like camp auschwitz on them while storming the capital building was particularly serious -- searing and traumatic. make no mistake, january 6 was not a peaceful protest. indeed, it was the most predictable terror attack in the history of our country. countless law enforcement officers suffered physical injuries and lasting emotional trauma. for officers who responded that day have died by suicide. we are here fighting for justice for them, for the sanctity of
our nations capital and for our democracy because the violence perpetrated on that day, while unique in its scope, was far from an isolated occurrence. it did not happen in a vacuum and it did not end when the crowd dispersed. the attack on the capital took place against the political and cultural backdrop of hate and extremism that has proliferated and gone largely unchecked for the last five years. extremism has been normalized. hate has been amplified. this is about turning back that tied. it is important because those who perpetrated the attack will not readily abandon their convictions. domestic extremists ike proud boys, the oath keepers and others continue to present a serious, credible and dangerous threat to our democracy and to
us all. we must respond with all of the tools at our disposal. we are all at risk if we fail to do so. accountability for january the sixth is critically important to preventing violent insurrection from happening in d.c. work state capitals across the country. that is why i am so proud and so humbled to be standing here today alongside this courageous and talented team. thank you. >> we are prepared to take any questions you might have. >> did these guys have any assets? any that you can recoup?
my understanding that this kkk act is been used in the past to put extremist groups out of business. is that your intent here? >> our attempt to hold these violent mobsters and these violent hate groups accountable and to get every penny of damage we can. if it so happens that we bankrupt them, that's a good day. when hate is dispatched and eliminated, that is a good day. so yes, we are using the ku klux klan act and other laws to absolutely bring as much financial pain, hit them in the pocket as possible. your question is excellent because the history will show that when these acts like the ku klux klan act and other laws were used against hate groups,
what do cowards do, they go running, they go hiding in the get decentralizing rankly, they are less dangerous. when these groups are celebrated, told to stand back and stand by, what does that mean? that means they are empowered. so this is all about disempowering hate that would take your freedom away, my freedom away and those of our children. >> adc superior court judge -- >> i strongly agree with what the attorney general just said. we have no idea whether these people have any assets and i hope that they don't.
this lawsuit is important to have a concerning effect. they are going to have to spend money. if we don't get a penny, in restitution, this lawsuit will say be prepared to spend money to defend yourself because we are coming after you, thank you mr. chairman. >> adc superior court judge issued a default judgment against the proud boys for ignoring an order from vandalizing a black lives are sign stop what makes you confident there will be restitution and recompense in the lawsuit? >> as the congresswoman said, whether there is restitution for recompense, accountability is
important. through a case and i hope they try to defend the case, again, cowards, they pick on people and they bully and when you punch back, they run away. but if they do defend this case, there is a process called civil discovery and we cannot wait to propound searing rations about the finances of these individuals in these groups from where did the money come? those are questions we will get at the root of in this lawsuit. >> a lot of the evidence seems related to the federal investigation and what federal prosecutors have found during their investigation. have you had any conversations with the u.s. department of justice about these lawsuits? >> at this point, it would be
appropriate for me to talk about conversations that may have occurred between the office of attorney general and his legal team. i think it is important to emphasize that our case is a civil case. souls are important to emphasize the federal judges, let's be honest, you have reported this. federal -- federal judges have been sent about penalty. i can guarantee you that as we proceed, we are going to seek my -- the maximum level of financial penalties. next question, please. >> d.c. has released its audit of the forensic crime lab. do you believe any of the current cases will be in jeopardy? >> the reporter is asking a
question regarding local d.c. matters that are quite serious, concerning our independent forensic lab. that is the lead that plays an important role in processing evidence and evidence that is submitted in a criminal trial where liberty is at stake, the allegation is around the department of forensic services going around for 15 months as you will dated, the office of attorney general is clearly and repeatedly stated there are grave concerns about the state of that agency. with this report, u.s. attorney's office for the district of columbia and certainly the office of attorney general have been vindicated. we blew the whistle, others scapegoated and to answer your
question whether criminal cases may have been compromised, the report recommends that criminal cases that utilize forensic evidence like guns, dna, fingerprints and the like should be reviewed since the inception of the department of forensic services. we are here today to talk about january 6 and the attempt to take away our freedoms. thank you for the time. i can't tell you right now but i can tell you that we have the review of those cases and certainly integrity in convictions whether they are juvenile cases or result cases, u.s. attorney's office, i disagree with that notion. certainly, we will be joining forces with them to do what is right and fair and ensure that those who may have suffered criminal sanctions were properly convicted.
>> there seems to be some question in some people's minds about whether this was a spontaneous insurrection or it was planned. are you alleging in the lawsuit that these individuals conspired well in advance? >> yes and my friend jonathan greenblatt said it best. the red flag, the alarms, the shouts, the screams, the chatter were as loud as can be. thank god for journalists. you are probing this deeply and that's what you are finding. this capital literally went undefended for nearly three hours plus.
i don't know about you, i always look for a story at the start of the middle, and the end. the start was when people started talking about come to washington, d.c. on january 6, it will be while. the middle was more incitement around january 5 and even before then. these groups are organizing and telling people this is the time. don't forget, there were bombs planted in councilmember allen's office at the dnc and the rnc most what was the end? time to leave. in the beginning, from the middle and to the end of this story, there is explicit
reporter: you have a named -- have not named former president trump? >> asked president trump, let's be clear. i believe the office of attorney general for the district of columbia and i will tell you my great colleagues on my democratic ag side of the aisle have sued the president over 153 times during his tenure. look, i like baseball and statistics. when you win 80% of your cases against a president of the united states, do you know what that means? that means you called out
lawless behavior. we are not afraid to sue. presidents or former presidents. i'm curious -- reporter: i'm curious about the neighborhood thing here. i know you were fighting, it was beyond what happened here. what do you have to say about that? >> i sometimes get asked about why do neighbors care so much about a building where we don't have a full vote? congressman norton does the most he will find without a vote for d.c. and is the most amazing champion we've got. we saw fences go up afterwards.
this is the people's building. this is a space where our elected officials make the decisions for us, my neighbors and constituents work, is deeply traumatic to the neighborhood. this isn't something we see on monday night football. this is our backyard, this is our space. to see it attacked in this way will strike a chord with every resident not just in word six but across the country. >> the fence was an abomination so much so that i had a bill in congress to make sure this fence will be taken down. we have spent almost a full year with the fence up.
making it impossible for this park. this is what it is, this is a part as far as the neighborhood is concerned. it turned our people in the united states -- it took me a full year to get this fence down. it was what we experienced on january 6. >> it is hard to add anything when the congresswoman speaks or my great friend, charles allen. as to the district of columbia, we want in. we want in. we want to be a state. we want congresswoman eleanor norton to vote. imagine if she had a vote.
she is so powerful without one. what do people do when they want in? remember what the slaves did? they fought for their freedom. what do people do when they want in? world war i, world war ii. african-americans, the teske airman, they fight for our country's values. in d.c., we want in. that is why our men and women in blue, some died because the district of columbia should have representation in this house. thank you. >> thank you, everyone. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
>> today, airline ceos testify at an oversight hearing. live coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. eastern on c-span, online at c-span.org, or watch on c-span now. >> this year the u.s. supreme court took up two cases that could decide the fate of roe v. wade. sunday on "q&a," we talk about the complicated life of jane roe , the woman behind the case. the impact the actions had on her and her three daughters. >> her life is such a mirror and
window into this whole big thing of abortion in america. the pro-life wish to say look at the cost of abortion. she never had an abortion. she is a fascinating testimony to is the cost of adoption. she struggled enormously, emotionally with what it meant to relinquish her three children. >> joshua prager and his book "the family wrote. >> you can listen to all of our podcast on our c-span now app. with us, the deputy washington bureau chief with insider and here to talk about his investigation and reporting on the finances of members of congress. "conflicted congress, key findings from insider's five-month investigation into