The first senator to declare he will object to the certification of Electoral College votes was the target Monday night of Antifa operatives who threatened his wife and newborn daughter at their home.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said via Twitter that the attack took place at his home in suburban Washington, D.C., while he was in his home state.
“Tonight while I was in Missouri, Antifa scumbags came to our place in DC and threatened my wife and newborn daughter, who can’t travel,” Hawley wrote. “They screamed threats, vandalized, and tried to pound open our door. Let me be clear: My family & I will not be intimidated by left-wing violence.”
The senator — who is defying Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s call to stand down during the joint session of Congress on Wednesday — said the Antifa members were “screaming threats through bullhorns, vandalizing property, pounding on the doors of homes and terrorizing innocent people and children.”
The group that took responsible for the attack, ShutDownDC, said in a statement that about a dozen “activists” held “an hour long vigil” at Hawley’s home “to demand that he drop his baseless contestation of the 2020 presidential election results.”
ShutDownDC was the group that threatened Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s family at his D.C. home in 2018.
The statement by the Antifa group said activists “lit candles and delivered a copy of the US Constitution to Hawley’s door.”
“The crowd chanted ‘Shame! Shame on Hawley!’ and ‘Protect Democracy from the GOP.’ They also read messages from voters in the states whose election results Hawley and the other Senators are planning to contest, including Missouri and Pennsylvania. Police arrived at around 7:45 p.m,” the statement said.
ShutDownDC activist Patrick Young said they “came to let Hawley know that his actions are undemocratic and unacceptable.”
“Voters decided who they wanted to be president and now Hawley is trying to silence their voices, even after Republican election officials certified the vote counts,” he said. “And let’s not forget that the bulk of the votes they would throw out come from black and brown voters. This is an attempted coup waged by silencing the voices of people of color.”
Hawley reacted on Twitter to ShutDownDC’s description of the event, which was reported by the Washington Post.
“Now ‘vigil’ means screaming threats through bullhorns, vandalizing property, pounding on the doors of homes and terrorizing innocent people and children,” he wrote.
“@washingtonpost this morning printing outright lies from the Antifa group who now describe themselves as sweet angels,” the senator said. “BS. You screamed through bullhorns, shouted down my wife when she asked you to leave, vandalized property, pounded on our door, and terrorized neighbors.
“And didn’t have the guts to do it in daylight, but only under cover of darkness so you could hide,” Hawley said. “You’re scum. And we won’t be intimidated.”
Associated Press reported police officers who responded to the scene found that the “people were peaceful,” according to Master Police Officer Juan Vazquez, a spokesman for the Town of Vienna Police Department.
Vazquez told the AP the protesters violated several laws, including a Virginia code against picketing in front of a house, a town ordinance against making noise in front of a home and a littering code. But he he said there “were no issues, no arrests.”
“We didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” he said.
‘I just want pin down you’
On Monday, Hawley was confronted by Fox News anchor Bret Baier about his plan to object to certification on Wednesday.
“I just want to pin you down on what you’re trying to do,” Baier said. “Are you trying to say, that as of January 20th, that President Trump will be president?”
“That depends on what happens on Wednesday, I mean, this is why we have the debate,” Hawley said.
“No, it doesn’t,” the Fox anchor said, insisting states have certified the election and the Constitution doesn’t give Congress “the right to overturn the certification, at least as most experts read it.”
President Trump and his allies, however, contend the law cited by “experts,” the Electoral Count Act of 1887, is unconstitutional.
The law minimizes the role of Congress in election disputes, placing primary responsibility on the states. However, Trump and many legal scholars argue the Founders didn’t establish the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress as a mere clerical exercise of vote counting.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “The vice president has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.”
The reference is to Vice President Mike Pence’s role as the president of the Senate during the joint session. The president’s supporters argue Pence has “plenary power,” according to precedent (Thomas Jefferson and Richard Nixon asserted that power as vice presidents), to rule any objection as out of order, accepted, denied or entitled to more debate.
Monday afternoon at a rally in Georgia for the Senate runoff elections Tuesday, Pence promised Republicans will “have our day in Congress” and lawmakers will “hear the objections.”
On Tuesday, White House officials told Fox News correspondent John Roberts: “The Vice-President will follow the law. He will act tomorrow with fidelity to the law and the Constitution.”
Hawley is one of at least 13 senators and 140 House members who have said they will object to the certification of votes in at least six battleground states. An objection from at least one senator and one House member requires that each chamber engage in two hours of debate over each slate of electors to which they object. That means there is likely to be 12 hours of debate in both the House and the Senate in which the objectors will present their evidence.
Critics of the objectors contend the exercise is futile because each chamber must vote on the objections, and Democrats control the House.
In the interview Monday, Hawley explained to Baier that, regardless of the outcome, he is fulfilling his role as a representative of the people.
“I do have a responsibility in this joint session of Congress to either say ‘I’ve got no problem with it’ or ‘I do have a problem with it,'” he said regarding the vote. “And my constituents expect me, and they’re right to say, ‘I have a problem.'”
“Don’t you have a responsibility to tell them that it’s not going to be President Trump as of January 21st as well?” Baier asked.
“This is about taking a stand where you can take a stand,” the senator replied.
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