Category Archives: Election Violence

Top Seventh State Stories, January 2021

By Adam Pagnucco.

These were the top stories on Seventh State in January ranked by page views.

1. Raskin Chief of Staff Writes About Attack on the Capitol
2. Are Maryland Vaccine Deliveries Fair?
3. State to Counties: Vaccinate Private School Staff or Else
4. What Happened to White Flint?
5. MoCo Solar Power Company Throws in the Towel
6. How Does MoCo’s Vaccination Rate Compare to the Rest of Maryland?
7. State Legislators Call on Harris to Resign
8. Political Awards 2020
9. MoCo’s Hero
10. Mizeur Threatens to Run Against Harris

This is a pretty concise list of what has been on the minds of MoCo’s political community: the attack on the Capitol, Jamie Raskin, vaccines and the movement to throw out Andy Harris. The story on the solar zoning text amendment reflects a split among environmentalists that is bound to resurface on future issues. As for White Flint, which was also the top story in December, that article demonstrates a major challenge that MoCo will face as it emerges from the pandemic: how to rebuild its economy and not lose any more ground to the rest of the region. Economic competitiveness was a big issue before COVID and it will return to that pedestal as the next election approaches.

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Did Andy Harris Commit Voter Fraud?

Republican Rep. Andy Harris endorsed serious allegations regarding fraud in the presidential election. But by his own standards, his own election was far more fraud prone than the presidential contest in either Georgia or Pennsylvania.

Applying the Harris standard, it is clear that there are grave questions surrounding his election.

  • Mail ballots applications were mailed out statewide in Maryland but neither in Georgia nor Pennsylvania.
  • There were signature checks on all mail ballots in Georgia and Pennsylvania but none in Maryland, where the law prohibits this ballot-security measure.
  • The election in the First District was overseen by partisan Republican county governments. Though there is no evidence of bias and vote rigging, Harris didn’t provide any when he cast suspicion on vote counting in Philadelphia.
  • Maryland accepted mail-in ballots after election day—and not just from the armed forces or people living abroad.
  • Maryland took a very long time to finalize its count.

Harris needs to step down until a lengthy investigation can take place and we review the process. No matter how many recounts we conduct, I know he understands that we cannot trust the results based on his stance on the Georgia electoral votes. The voters deserve answers. We can hold a special election sometime late in 2022.

Or we could just acknowledge that this is all hogwash. Rather like Harris’s specious challenges to the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s victory that attacked our democracy and stoked violence at the Capitol resulting in the death of five people, including the murder of a police officer.

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Andy Harris Skips Out on Voting on Impeachment

Andy Harris seems to have a penchant for going full-blown Trump but always doing it a slightly different way. If he had a tinfoil hat, he’d fold it using a different origami pattern. At any rate, he issued a sanctimonious statement about why he didn’t deign to vote on impeaching Trump after the insurrection at the White House:

The imperative of being in the operating room rings hollow because, thanks to COVID-19, the House is currently allowing members to cast proxy votes. If you watched the proceedings yesterday, you would have seen that many members on both sides of the aisle did just that. Perhaps Harris didn’t want to be there because this mask-skeptic physician would have had to wear one.

Notice that, even as he issues the now standard drive-by call for unity after months of claiming that Biden stole the election, Harris has to insult the Democrats and cannot bring himself to even use “Democratic majority” in place of the childishly denigrating “Democrat majority.”

While he condemns the Democrats, he says nothing about the violent mob, Trump’s encouragement of it, and failure to act to suppress it once it got out of control. Nor have his press releases included a word of criticism for Trump. Instead, Harris followed him in equating this attempt to overthrow the government and kill public officials with this past summer’s protests.

One might contrast Harris’s lack of concern over violent white supremacist seditious Republicans and condemnation of a “hasty” impeachment as “politically motivated” with his support for endless investigations into the facially absurd idea that Hillary Clinton wanted American diplomats dead in Benghazi and his willingness to support rushing through the appointment of Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court.

While Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford stood firm for democracy even as the crisis unfolded, Rep. Andy Harris has joined Del. Dan Cox in the sedition caucus.

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Free DC

The District of Columbia owes its existence to fear that a Jacobin mob might overwhelm the federal government and that a state government might be unwilling to protect it. Pennsylvania’s failure to act during against a mutiny by soldiers who wanted more pay propelled the creation of the federal enclave.

For all their efforts to prevent against authoritarianism though the separation of powers and robust federalism, the Founders never anticipated that the true danger might come from a president seeking to exert authority over Congress. Until Wednesday, it had never happened in the history of our country.

The encouragement by the president of this insurrection and attack on the federal legislature and then his failure to act protect Congress against this attack upended the narrative with the District, Maryland and Virginia coming to the aid of the besieged Capitol. America is fortunate the leaders of the District and neighboring states are committed small-d democrats and small-r republicans.

No people or place should have to earn their freedom. But the District surely did once again in coming to Congress’s aid. It’s time to end the bizarre situation in which the roughly 700,000 citizens in the District are denied democratic representation. The Maryland General Assembly should pass a resolution relinquishing its claim to the District, and Congress should admit the state of New Columbia to the Union.

Republican dress up their objections in a variety of cloaks but they all boil down to opposing statehood because its citizens vote Democratic. The even less appetizing rationale is that too many District citizens are Black. Either way, it’s an extension of the unacceptable efforts of voter suppression that we’ve seen around the country.

Republicans might also remember that partisan shifts can occur quickly. Hawaii was expected to be a Republican bastion when admitted to the Union. California and West Virginia both altered their partisan allegiances more recently.

All other federations that have emulated the U.S. in establishing federal enclaves give them representation. It’s time we up our democratic game and do the same.

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Raskin Chief of Staff Writes About Attack on the Capitol

By Adam Pagnucco.

Julie Tagen, who is the Chief of Staff to Congressman Jamie Raskin, wrote the following account of her experience during the attack on the U.S. Capitol this week. We are reprinting it with her permission.

*****

Friends, here is my story of what happened to me yesterday. I am writing this because the process is cathartic for me, and I don’t want to EVER forget the details of January 6, 2021. Forgive me, it’s a long read.

As most of you know, I am Chief of Staff to Representative Jamie Raskin, who had an unbearable family tragedy on December 31 when he lost his beloved son Tommy. You may also know that Jamie is a constitutional scholar, and Speaker Pelosi gave him the high honor of being one of the four key players during the electoral college vote on the House floor.

The day started out normal. I picked up Jamie and drove him to work (masks on, windows down). We live near each other, and pre-COVID, were daily commuting partners. As we drove on 3rd Street NW in front of the Capitol, we could see people with Trump, QAnon and Confederate flags milling around and heading toward the White House (or so it seemed).

We went up to our office in the Rayburn House Office Building, where Jamie worked on his speech in preparation for his big day. Jamie’s family wanted to be with him and see him in action on the floor, so they decided that his daughter, Tabitha, and his son-in-law, Hank, would come to the Capitol. Jamie’s other daughter, Hannah, and Tabitha’s boyfriend, Ryan, would watch the proceedings at home with Jamie’s wife, Sarah. At around noon, Jamie and I walked to the Capitol through the tunnels, the only direction that Capitol Police had ever given us for this momentous day, to meet Tabitha and Hank in a ceremonial room off the House floor. The wonderful staff of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer gave us the Hoyer ceremonial office (H-219) for the week so Jamie could have privacy in his time of mourning and be closer to the House floor.

This is when things began to get crazy; a lot is still hazy to me. The Joint Session started at 1 p.m. The plan was that shortly before Jamie was to speak on the floor, at around 1:30 p.m., Tabitha and Hank would be taken to one of the viewing galleries by security (this was a special privilege, as only Members of Congress were permitted in these galleries during the Joint Session). Jamie left for the floor, which was around 50 feet from our door, and Tabitha, Hank and I started looking out of the large office window at what was taking place outside.

Our windows faced the West Front of the Capitol, in the direction of the Washington Monument. All of the major news channels were showing the activities on the floor, so we only received information about outside activities through Twitter and information other friends and staffers were sending us. Tabitha, Hank and I knew something was very wrong. Our view was slightly obstructed by the inaugural scaffolding and platform, but it was clear that the crowd was getting bigger and more aggressive and there definitely were not enough Capitol Police officers. We could see them taking one or two people away in handcuffs, and smoke, likely tear gas, covering the growing crowd.

After everything the Raskin family had been through over the course of the last week, it became my goal to keep Tabitha and Hank as calm as possible. I told them that we were very safe, that we would be protected, and that there was absolutely no way that anyone could get into the Capitol. I said that because I truly believed it. I was on the Hill in 2010, when the ACA passed and loonies were roaming the halls of the House office buildings since they were open to the public. I figured since the buildings were closed due to COVID, we would be safe. It never once entered my mind that something bad could happen.

I had my laptop on my desk and started getting large pop-up alerts on my screen. I first saw that the Madison Building of the Library of Congress was evacuated. This was concerning, but it seemed like things were under control. Although the floor activities were on the office’s large TV, Tabitha, Hank and I could not stop looking out the window at the chaos outside. At this point, it began to look like mayhem. Scores of angry white men with Trump and Confederate flags stomped around, clad in camouflage and flak jackets.

Despite the mobs outside, Jamie was scheduled to speak on the floor around 1:30pm. Jason Gandolph, a member of Capitol Police Security, came by and said that he could take Tabitha and Hank one floor up to the viewing gallery. They left just as I got an alert that the Cannon House Office Building, where Member’s offices were located, was being evacuated. Jason came back and said, very calmly, that the Capitol was about to go into lockdown. They would have to lock us in the room once Tabitha and Hank returned from the gallery.

Once they came back, Tabitha, Hank and I looked out the window again. We could see that the rioters had gotten onto the inaugural platform and were climbing the scaffolding. The police, who did not have riot gear on, remained below. At one point, it looked like they were trying to move forward, and then it looked like they were retreating; one thing was clear –they were not handling or controlling the mob. We watched as one of the barriers was broken down or opened by police and a rush of rioters headed on West plaza toward the Senate side of the building. I assumed by letting them rush the Senate side that it was a strategy to arrest or disperse them. There was a strong line of police holding off the mob from the plaza’s House side. On TV, the electoral proceedings were still taking place, so I figured things couldn’t be that bad.

Suddenly, we started getting alerts on the computer and our phones. Calls and texts from team members came pouring in: the Capitol had been BREACHED!! The House floor was quickly adjourned. The alerts told us to turn off all sounds in our offices and to take cover. Tabitha and Hank crammed under Steny Hoyer’s desk, and I took the chairs in the room and barricaded the door.

I was looking out of the side window at the chaos. I began to panic inside at the thought of the Raskin kids being traumatized again and what was happening to them after everything they’d been through. Outwardly, I was calm. I told Tabitha and Hank that we would be okay. Inwardly, I wanted to crawl up in a ball and hide. I was scared.

Perhaps it was the adrenaline or the reality of the moment, but I had an epiphany, for lack of a better word. I was trapped in a room with a giant photograph of John Lewis on the wall and a bust of Abraham Lincoln on the fireplace mantel. I said to myself, and perhaps out loud, “These people are TERRORISTS, They cannot win.” Some who know me might say that at that moment, I got my “Philly On!!” I gathered anything in the room that I could use as a weapon and put them by the door: a fireplace stocker, busts, a bronze award of a buck with large and pointy horns.

By then, the terrorists had made their way into the Capitol. We could hear their heavy footsteps outside our door as they tried to breach the House floor. We could hear them chanting, “USA, USA!” and “We want Trump!” and “Stop the steal!” We could hear them trying to ram the door of the House Chamber just a few feet away. There were bangs all over the place. Someone jangled our door handle. I picked up the heaviest item I could find (not sure why), the bronze buck bust, and stood in front of the door, waiting for them to arrive.

I started receiving texts from Jamie, who had been evacuated from the House floor, asking if we were okay. I lied and told him we were fine, because I didn’t want to worry him too. I also started getting calls from Pelosi’s floor staff, who were trying to locate and evacuate us. Texts started arriving from friends all around the country, asking if I was okay. I only told a few close buddies how terrified I was. I talked to my wife, De, very quickly, and told her that we were safe and fine. I asked Hank if it was convincing enough.

After what felt like 30 minutes, the chants began to die down. I could hear police in the hallway. They knocked on our door and told us they were there to help. Tabitha and Hank got out from under the desk. We all looked at each other and said nothing. There was a delay to get us out as a result of being locked in – and I hadn’t remembered that I had locked the 3 inside locks too. Five Capitol police officers opened the door. It was clear they were amped up. The said “Let’s Roll!!” and whisked us through the tight stairwells of the Capitol and we finally made it to the “secure location” where we were joyously joined by a super-relieved and grateful Jamie. In the secure location, everyone was exhausted and there was little food or water. Little by little small food items were handed out: Goldfish crackers, berry gummies, Skittles. After four hours, pizza and drinks arrived. I pretty much survived that night on candy and Diet Coke.

At around 9:15 p.m., I was able to get Tabitha and Hank a ride home to Maryland. I stayed with Jamie until the end until 4:00 AM. It was an honor and a privilege to be in the Capitol when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were declared winners, and the next President and Vice President of the United States. I arrived back home a little past four in the morning.

I am still processing all of this but I could never imagine this happening to the US Congress.

There is a long list of people that helped me through the day. I hope you know who you are, and I thank you from the very bottom of my heart. More formal thanks will come later.

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Maryland Rep. Andy Harris Incites Violence on U.S. House Floor

After a day in which a mob of domestic terrorists committed insurrection at the behest of the sitting president, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) attempted unsuccessfully to start a brawl on the floor of the U.S. House chamber according to the AP pool reporter:

Maryland Republicans must expel Harris and other proud sedition caucus members from their party if they want to align themselves with Larry Hogan and Boyd Rutherford rather than anti-democratic insurrectionists like Donald Trump and Andy Harris.

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MoCo Republicans Condemn Violence at the Capitol

By Adam Pagnucco.

Moments ago, the Montgomery County Republican Party issued the statement below.

Statement from MCRCC Chairman Reardon Sullivan:

Today’s rioting and violence in our nation’s capital is an absolutely devastating development during a time of historic upheaval and unrest.

The Montgomery County Republican Party unequivocally and wholeheartedly condemns all acts of lawlessness, rioting, and violence and disavows the actions of those demonstrators who illegally entered the U.S. Capitol Building. While we support peaceful protest, we reject any attempt to disrupt Congress’s certification of the election results. Congress must be allowed to conduct its business uninterrupted.

This is not who we are…

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Del. Cox Calls Pence “a Traitor.” Gov. Aids Police. Lt. Gov. Calls Trump’s Incitement Impeachable.

Even as rioters break into the U.S. Capitol and trash our democracy, Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick) continues to foment lies regarding fraud. He’s attacked Vice President as “a traitor” for refusing to join in a seditious attempt to illegally overturn the results of the election.

The Governor and Lt. Governor are acting far more responsibly. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford stated that Trump committed “an impeachable offense” by inciting violence.

Gov. Larry Hogan is aiding the DC Metropolitan Police and U.S. Capitol Police restore order and to protect our democracy against this “heinous and violent assault.”

As I write this, President Trump has just said “we love you” about the rioters breaking into the U.S. Capitol and continues to lie shamelessly about fraud even as he calls for these “protestors” to go home.

Republicans now need to choose between Trump and democracy. Will Republicans in the Maryland General Assembly continue to allow Del. Cox to be a member of their caucus and associate themselves with a vocal supporter of sedition? Or will they they stand with Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford on the side of democracy?

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