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Oregon lawmakers kicked one of their colleagues out of office for the first time in state history late Thursday night, voting 59-1 in favor of Rep. Mike Nearman for his role in helping a far-right crowd break through the State Capitol in the Oust December.
Mr Nearman, who was the only no-vote, had faced mounting pressure from his Republican counterparts this week to resign days after a newly surfaced video showed he was apparently training people on how to get into the closed Capitol . Earlier security footage showed Mr. Nearman walking out of the building where protesters gathered, letting them in, and sparking a confrontation with law enforcement officers.
Mr Nearman, who is charged with misconduct for his actions, said Thursday that legislature leaders should never have shut the public off the Capitol – a decision that was a precaution against the coronavirus. But the Democrats said that Mr. Nearman completely disregarded the rule of law and the principles of democracy.
“His actions were obvious and deliberate, and he showed no remorse for jeopardizing the safety of everyone in the Capitol that day,” said Democrat Tina Kotek in a statement following the vote.
The case had striking similarities with the siege of the US Capitol that unfolded a few weeks later. Though the crowd in Salem was smaller, it was filled with Trump supporters waving flags, far-right agitators wearing body armor, and people singing as punishment, “Arrest Kate Brown!
But while Republicans in Congress have opposed major action in the siege of the Capitol – and recently rejected a plan for an independent commission – Oregon GOP lawmakers have been banding around the idea of Mr. Nearman for the past few days had to. Each of his colleagues joined a letter this week calling for his resignation.
Republican House Chairwoman Christine Drazan said Mr Nearman indiscriminately allowed violent protesters into the building. Rep. Bill Post, a Republican who said he was one of Mr. Nearman’s closest colleagues, wrote a note stating that Mr. Nearman lied to him personally and other Republican colleagues about whether there was evidence that the Door opening is planned.
“This plan endangers lawmakers, employees and police officers within the building,” wrote Mr Post.
In the video that surfaced last week and apparently streamed online in the days leading up to the December 21 break-in, Mr. Nearman shyly reiterated his own cell phone number, implying that anyone trying to enter the Capitol would text him could send.
“These are just random numbers that I spat out. This is not anyone’s actual cell phone, ”Mr. Nearman said in the footage. “And if during the session you say, ‘I’m at the West Entrance,’ and write to the number there, someone could leave that door while you are standing there. But I don’t know anything about that. “