Washington State representatives address insurrection at U.S. Capitol
A day after chaos in the nation’s capital, Democratic lawmakers are calling for President Trump to be removed from office. KUOW’s Paige Browning recaps statements from Washington’s Congressional delegation.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Overnight, Congress certified the election results. How did Washington State lawmakers end up voting?
All of the senators and representatives from Washington state voted to certify the election. There were still attempts by some GOP lawmakers nationwide to derail Biden's win and object to the Electoral College results. In a day of very striking speeches, Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican representative from Southwest Washington, came down pretty hard on her colleagues who wanted to deny some Electoral College results:
“Of the six states actively being contested, five have Republican legislatures. Five are controlled by one party. Five have the authority to get together and to vote to change the elector that they sent to us. How many of the six did? Not one.”
This was a speech, basically in the middle of the night, telling her colleagues to uphold the electoral college votes. And of course, there was the about-face from longtime Trump ally Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who decided at the last minute, after the insurrection at the Capitol, to uphold those results.
Now, attention is turning to Donald Trump and whether his Cabinet or Congress will remove him from office. What's the latest that we're hearing from our representatives on that?
Two options have surfaced. All Democratic members of our state delegation want the Cabinet to remove Trump immediately, which is the option under the 25th Amendment that they could invoke. If that doesn't happen, these nine Democrats from our state support impeachment. There's a growing list of Democrats nationwide who want this, among them Pramila Jayapal, representative of Seattle and a leader in the Progressive Caucus:
“We impeached the President in the United States House of Representatives, but the Senate did not take that action, so Donald Trump is still there. And yesterday, we saw what happens when you keep a dictator, and somebody who has no respect for the Constitution, in office.”
We’re watching today to see what happens. And, of course, both of these efforts would require some Republican support in Washington, D.C.
Is there any sign of that, any calls from Republicans to have Trump removed from the presidency?
Our GOP elected officials in Congress are stopping short of that today, at least in their public statements. Our Republican representatives-- Jaime Herrera Beutler, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Dan Newhouse-- are condemning the violence and the events that happened yesterday, but they're not on the list of Republicans calling for Trump's removal. All three of them supported the President when he was impeached the first time. Things have escalated since, but they're not advocating for any more extreme steps.
We're also having more questions today about how the siege was allowed to happen. What do we know at this point?
This is the topic that we're hearing a lot of questions about. There are not a lot of answers yet, but our representatives will be asking those questions to the FBI. Jayapal spoke about this and her concerns today:
“These people, there were 50 arrests yesterday, Bill. 50 arrests. That's it. And it is my understanding that most of them were for curfew violations. We had armed insurrectionists with hostage plans, plans to take hostages, and bombs in the DNC and the RNC that are reported this morning to be live bombs. And these people walked in and walked out of the United States Capitol. It is stunning. It is scary. And everybody in this country should be afraid.”
These are the questions that people are going to be asking police and the FBI and that we'll be following.
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