Political fallout from last week’s violent takeover at the U.S. Capitol continues to rain down on lawmakers, including some in Utah who supported or voted to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory last week.
Also, House Democrats have initiated an effort to impeach President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection” in the waning days of his tumultuous one term in office.
Utah A.G. Sean Reyes
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is distancing himself from robocalls that were sent out by the fundraising arm of the Republican Attorney General’s Association urging “patriots” to march on the Capitol last Wednesday. Reyes is a member of the group’s executive committee and former chairman of its Rule of Law Defense Fund, which paid for the call.
“We will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal. We are hoping patriots like you will join us to continue to fight to protect the integrity of our elections,” said the voice recording.
Five people died as a result of the pro-Trump riot.
Reyes was replaced by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall as chairman of the nonprofit fund in November.
“A.G. Reyes was not involved in organizing the rally in Washington, D.C. He supports everyone’s rights to peacefully protest and, as stated previously, condemns in the strongest possible terms all acts of lawlessness and violence at the Capitol building last week,” a prepared statement from the Utah Attorney General’s Office says.
Marshall said in a statement that he was unaware of “unauthorized decisions” made by the fund’s staff regarding the rally.
“Despite currently transitioning into my role as the newly elected chairman of RLDF, it is unacceptable that I was neither consulted about nor informed of those decisions. I have directed an internal review of this matter,” he said.
Republican Attorney General’s Association Executive Director Adam Piper resigned Monday amid backlash over the robocall.
In a tweet last week, Reyes said there is no place for violence in political discourse, even over the most serious issues and disagreements.
“We are a nation of laws. This is not how conservatives and Republicans behave. We are the party of law and order. We uphold the rule of law. This is unacceptable,” he wrote.
Reyes traveled to Las Vegas shortly after the November election to help prepare and support lawsuits in several states dealing with what he called a “compromised” election process. Reyes also involved Utah in a lawsuit challenging election results four swing states that Trump lost — an action that was condemned by Gov. Spencer Cox and former Gov. Gary Herbert.
The centrist United Utah Party and the left-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah have called for Reyes’ resignation.
Reps. Chris Stewart and Burgess Owens
The same groups have also demanded the resignations of Utah Republican Reps. Chris Stewart and Burgess Owens, both of whom voted for an objection to the certification of Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes last week.
They were among 139 GOP representatives and eight GOP senators who voted against certifying the results. The other members of Utah’s all-Republican delegation voted against the objection.
Better Utah also joined 100 organizations in calling on Congress to impeach and expel Trump and the senators and representatives who voted against the election results.
Several major corporations — including Marriott International, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Goldman Sachs — have suspended campaign contributions to lawmakers who voted against certifying electoral votes for Biden.
Stewart received $1,000 in the last election cycle from Goldman Sachs, which has a large Utah presence, and another $500 from its employees, according to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks campaign finances.
Romney position may draw protests
An angry Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said in a Senate floor speech last Wednesday after police cleared the Capitol of rioters that those who continued to support Trump’s “dangerous gambit” by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against democracy.
Romney also blamed Trump for inciting the insurrection. Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, called the violence at the Capitol “domestic terrorism” inspired and encouraged by the president.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Democrats apparently have secured enough votes to impeach Trump for his actions.
At least 218 Democrats have now signed onto an impeachment resolution, enough to pass the measure should it come to the floor later this week, Politico reported Monday, citing a congressional aide involved in the process.
Pelosi has indicated she will bring the resolution for a vote this week if Trump doesn’t resign or Vice President Mike Pence doesn’t initiate other processes to remove him.
Romney, the only Republican in the Senate who voted to remove Trump from office after the House impeached him in December 2019, said the president should face consequences.
“When the president incites an attack against Congress, there must be a meaningful consequence,” Romney said in a statement. “We will be considering those options and the best course for our nation in the days ahead.”
Former Trump adviser Roger Stone, whom Trump pardoned last year after his conviction for lying to Congress, told the Washington Post that he believes Romney will become a main target of the right nationally and in Utah over his opposition to the president.
”Activists in that state are already planning civil disobedience anytime and everywhere he attempts to appear in public,” Stone said. “It is their intention to drive Romney out of the state.”
Trump supporters harassed Romney at Salt Lake City International Airport and on a flight to Washington last week.
Curtis continued to condemn the violence in Washington last week and said there should be consequences for those that played a role, including the president. But Curtis stopped short of calling for impeachment.
“I would support an impeachment process with hearings, witnesses and testimony and I would support an appropriately worded censure, but unfortunately, a 48-hour impeachment process has no chance of reaching a thoughtful conclusion, holds no consideration for the millions of people who have voted for him, and will do nothing to unite the country or answer the many questions needing resolution,” he said in a statement.
Stewart, Owens, Rep. Blake Moore and Sen. Mike Lee did not respond to requests for comment Monday.