ST. PAUL — U.S. Reps. Jim Hagedorn and Michelle Fischbach late Wednesday, Jan. 6, voted to reject the 2020 Electoral College results of two major states, hours after a mob of President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., forcing lockdowns and evacuations.
The two Republican lawmakers, from Minnesota's 1st and 7th Congressional Districts, respectively, broke with two fellow Republicans and six Democrats in the state's delegation. And they were among more than 100 House Republicans to reject Arizona and Pennsylvania's electoral votes in a last-minute attempt to overturn the election results in Trump's favor.
The pair of staunch Trump allies in separate news releases said they had concerns about the way the elections were conducted in Arizona and Pennsylvania and called for additional investigation into the contests there. They pointed to concerns about changes made to accommodate voting during the COVID-19 pandemic and said some of the changes were made without state legislative approval.
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“We must shine a light on the unilateral actions of state officials and courts, who subverted the proper authority of state legislatures to change election laws," Hagedorn said in a news release.
Fischbach in a news release said she would vote against the election result because she felt "allegations of irregularities and fraud too voluminous to ignore." A spokesman for Fischbach said she would not be available for an interview Thursday.
Legal challenges on those grounds have largely failed and several recounts and court challenges have affirmed that President-elect Joe Biden won the presidential contest over Trump. Many other states, including Minnesota, made similar unilateral changes to their voting practices in light of the coronavirus pandemic and their results were not challenged by Congress.
The chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party on Thursday called for Hagedorn and Fischbach to be expelled from Congress as they failed to abide by their oaths to defend the U.S. Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic.
“Yesterday’s mob breached the United States Capitol with the explicit goal of halting the certification of the 2020 presidential election and thwarting American democracy," DFL Chairman Ken Martin said. "It is unthinkable that any sitting members of Congress would share these aims, especially after that mob laid siege to the Capitol, yet Representatives Hagedorn and Fischbach have done exactly that and must face severe repercussions for their actions."
Congress late Wednesday certified Biden's victory. He and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in on Jan. 20.
U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, along with Reps. Angie Craig, Dean Phillips, Betty McCollum, Ilhan Omar, Tom Emmer and Pete Stauber, supported the certification of the Electoral College votes. In a news release, Emmer, a Republican representing Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, said Congress didn't have the authority to "discard an individual slate of electors" after they are approved by state legislatures.
"Doing so sets a precedent that I believe undermines the state-based system of elections that defines our Republic," Emmer said. "If there are competing slates of electors sent to Congress by a state’s legislature, precedent allows Congress to be the arbiter between the two slates, however, no state has done this so far in this election."
Members of Minnesota's delegation were evacuated from the Capitol Wednesday, amid the rioting and violence, but all were reported safe late in the day. Lawmakers returned to the Capitol as the debris was cleaned up late in the day to vote on the election results. And the 10 Minnesota officials called for peace and a return to order.
"While this was a dark day in our nation's history, we will stand united in the face of those who seek to divide and sow chaos," Klobuchar, a Democrat and Minnesota's senior senator said. "Anarchy will not prevail. Democracy will prevail.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat representing the state's 5th Congressional District, late Wednesday said she was drawing up articles of impeachment against the president.
Four have been confirmed to have died following violent confrontations in and around the U.S. Capitol building Wednesday. And dozens have been arrested following their involvement in the break-ins or for violating a 6 p.m. curfew in Washington, D.C.
Trump in a video message late Wednesday called on rioters to go home, also addressing them saying, "We love you, you're very special."
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