Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, a former member of Congress, told Newsmax Monday that the U.S. Capitol Police, which plans to expand the department's reach to Florida and California to better protect members of Congress after the Jan. 6 incidents at the Capitol, must be sure it sticks to that very narrow mission.
"I can appreciate the Capitol Hill police and their interest in making sure that we secure members of Congress," Landry, a Republican, said on Newsmax's "National Report." "When I came in in 2010, or 2011 was exactly when we had Gabby Giffords get shot, and it certainly sent a very chilling effect across the membership right of all the members of Congress on both sides of the aisle."
However, if the department is trying to expand its reach "for other particular reasons," that could be problematic, said Landry.
Part of the issues could involve congressional control of the department, he explained.
Acting USCP Chief Yogananda Pittman would be in charge of the field offices, but there is a congressional oversight committee that is over the Capitol Hill police and ultimately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi "is really the one who can wield the most authority and oversight" over the department, Landry pointed out.
"If the speaker does it in a very judicious and with the right intentions, certainly, it's a good program," he said. "If it's abused, then it would be problematic. But again, I think that there is a number of oversight checks and balances in order to keep the Capitol Hill police inside that narrow mission and so hopefully that's what they're doing."
Landry also said he doesn't think there would be any legal concerns about the officers operating in other districts, but he does hope that they reach out to state and local law enforcement officials in places where they are working.
"I know that right here in Louisiana, we have probably one of the best, happiest congressional warriors," he said. "It's Steve Scalise, and of course he has a detail. I know that those men and women at work with him, reach out and work with local law enforcement here in Louisiana to help keep him and other members of the Louisiana delegation secure."
Landry also spoke out about a tweet posted by the FBI over the weekend that asked family members and peers to help prevent homegrown violent extremism by learning to spot suspicious behaviors and report them to the FBI.
"Let's make the point that the reason that the Capitol Police evidently feel a need to reach out around the country and set up locations in order secure members of Congress is the fact that violence around this country is escalating, and it's escalating because these most of the major cities, all of the major cities that are run by Democrats, are imploding and crime is at an all-time high," said Landry.
However, he said he doesn't agree that the FBI should be enticing people to "tattle" on their friends and family.
"When we have good community involvement when people respect authority, when they respect the police, there's really no need for this type of policing or policy," he said. "We should get back to doing is enforcing the laws that are on the books and holding criminals accountable."
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