Tom Fitton: Maxine Waters should be investigated for encouraging violence against Trump officials

Judicial Watch sent a hand-delivered letter Monday to the chairman and co-chairman of the House Office of Congressional Ethics calling for an investigation into whether Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., violated House ethics rules by encouraging violence against Trump administration Cabinet members.

The Office of Congressional Ethics describes itself on its website as “an independent, non-partisan entity charged with reviewing allegations of misconduct against Members, officers, and staff of the U.S. House of Representatives and, when appropriate, referring matters to the House Committee on Ethics.”

Waters addressed a rally in Los Angeles on Saturday and told a crowd: “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them! And you tell them that they are not welcome, anymore, anywhere.”

In Judicial Watch’s letter to former Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Washington, and former Rep. David Skaggs, D-Colo., of the Office of Congressional Ethics I pointed out that Waters’ encouraging individuals to create “crowds” who will “push back” on President Trump’s Cabinet members at private business establishments in an apparent effort to prevent these Cabinet officials from obtaining basic necessities without fear of assault and violence.

This is not about Waters’ freedom of speech. It is not even an example of yelling “fire” in a theater. It is about inciting mob violence. The House needs to act quickly to hold her accountable for this dangerous incitement.

Rep. Waters seems to be violation of House rules, specifically a rule that states: “A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House shall conduct himself at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.” (House Rule 23, clause 1.)

In our letter, Judicial Watch formally requests that the Office of Congressional Ethics conduct a preliminary investigation into whether Waters violated House rules by encouraging attacks on Cabinet officials.

This is not about Waters’ freedom of speech. It is not even an example of yelling “fire” in a theater. It is about inciting mob violence. The House needs to act quickly to hold her accountable for this dangerous incitement.

Last week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and members of her family were evicted from a restaurant and then reportedly pursued by the owner. Other Trump administration officials are being targeted with threatening and dangerous “protests” at their homes.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was harassed and heckled as she attended a movie during the weekend in Florida.

And President Trump’s opponents are posting names and addresses of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents on the Internet, placing their lives and the lives of their families at risk.

According to ABC Radio: “Around two dozen threat reports were issued in the past few days, primarily against Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. … In one example, a senior DHS (Department of Homeland Security) official living in the Washington, D.C. area found a burnt and decapitated animal on his front porch, according to an official with knowledge of the incident.

Even Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. – no stranger to tough political talk – condemned Waters. He said: “I strongly disagree with those who advocate harassing folks if they don't agree with you. ... No one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That's not right. That's not American.”

Waters’ incitement for violence, assault and riot sets a dangerous precedent, and the House should act swiftly to disavow her. Given the grave risk to the public safety and the rule of law caused by Waters’ remarks, expulsion from the House should be on the table.

Tom Fitton is president of Judicial Watch. Founded in 1994, Judicial Watch Inc. is a constitutionally conservative, nonpartisan educational foundation that promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.