Senator calls for investigation of whether troops, veterans 'betrayed the Constitution' in Capitol assault

Protesters enter the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump.
Protesters enter the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. Photo credit Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
By Connecting Vets

A senator and combat veteran is calling for the Pentagon to investigate and hold accountable any troops or military retirees who may have violated their oaths and broken military law by participating in the assault on the United States Capitol on Jan. 6.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, asked Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller in a letter Monday to direct military criminal investigators to work with the FBI and Capitol Police to determine whether troops or retirees "engaged in insurrection against the authority of the United States, or participated in a seditious conspiracy that used force to: oppose the authority of the United States; prevent, hinder and delay the execution of the Electoral Count Act; and unlawfully seize, take or possess property of the United States."

Duckworth, like other Democrats and a few Republicans, laid the blame for the violence at the Capitol -- responsible for the deaths of at least two veterans -- at President Donald Trump's feet, but said it was the Pentagon's responsibility to root out illegal or damaging activities in the ranks and hold troops and former service members accountable.

"We must demonstrate resolve and resilience in bringing the neo-Nazis, white supremacists and conspiracy theorists who formed this mob to justice," Duckworth wrote in the letter. "We must address deeply troubling reports that members of the U.S. Armed Forces, retired members of a regular component of the U.S. Armed Forces and members of the Fleet Reserve/Fleet Marine Corps Reserve, may have violated their Oath of Enlistment or Oath of Office by participating in a violent insurrection."

Duckworth is an Army National Guard officer who lost her legs when the UH-60 Black Hawk she was co-piloting was downed by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq.

If investigators find that service members or retirees "engaged in criminal conduct," in the assault on the Capitol, Duckworth urged Miller to hold those individuals accountable "under the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

"Upholding good order and discipline demands that the U.S. Armed Forces root out extremists that infiltrate the military and threaten our national security," Duckworth said.

On Sunday the Justice Department announced Larry Rendall Brock Jr., an Air Force veteran, had been arrested. Brock was seen inside the Capitol building during the assault wearing a helmet and tactical vest and carrying zip-tie handcuffs. He was arrested in Texas and charged with knowingly entering a restricted building, according to the DoJ.

Army psychological operations officer Emily Rainey is under an Army investigation for allegedly leading a group from North Carolina to the protests in Washington, D.C.

Reach Abbie Bennett: abbie@connectingvets.com or @AbbieRBennett. Sign up for the Connecting Vets weekly newsletter to get more stories like this delivered to your inbox.