Georgia Lt. Gov boots state senators who challenged electoral vote from committee posts

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Three Republican Georgia state senators who backed President Donald Trump’s legal challenges to the 2020 presidential results have reportedly been stripped of their committee assignments because of last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The demotions of Sens. Brandon Beach, Matt Brass, and Burt Jones were reportedly performed by Lt. Gov Geoff Duncan, who too is a Republican.

“Duncan stripped Beach of his chairmanship of the Transportation Committee, while Jones will no longer lead the Insurance and Labor Committee. Neither will serve as even a rank-and-file member on the two panels they once led,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

“And though state Sen. Matt Brass of Newnan will still be a committee chairman this term, he was shelved to a lesser posting. Instead of serving as chairman of the committee that is set to redraw the political map later this year, he’ll oversee a banking committee.”

According to AJC, the three’s ostensible crime was “aggressively promot[ing] President Donald Trump’s false claims of widespread election fraud, and push[ing] efforts to overturn the outcome that ran afoul of Duncan, who has called out the phony narrative.”

Phony or not, the efforts by the president were 100 percent legal. Yet this drive to target Republicans who dared join the efforts appears to be growing.

For a week straight Democrats on the national level have been calling for the outright expulsion of congressional Republicans who’d also backed Trump’s legal challenges.

But according to renowned legal scholar Jonathan Turley, a double standard appears to be at play.

“In January 2005, [then-Sen. Barbara] Boxer joined [then-]Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones to challenge George W. Bush’s victory over Democratic challenger John Kerry in the state of Ohio,” Turley wrote in a blog post late last week.

“At the time, Boxer argued that Republicans had engaged in voter suppression that contributed to Bush’s victory. The media and Democratic leadership was highly supportive. Indeed, many who are condemning the challenge today heaped praise on Boxer in 2004. There was no hue and cry in the media over anti-democratic measures and refusing to respect the election results.”

Current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who’s reportedly quietly signaled support for the expulsion-drive, praised Boxer’s challenge at the time as “witnessing democracy at work.”

Why the change of heart 16 years later?

Adding to the hypocrisy is that many of the concerns laid out by Democrats in 2005 sound the same as the concerns laid out by Trump and his allies.

“Notably, many Democrats like Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., raised analogous complaints about voting systems and insisted that ‘as Americans, we should all be troubled by reports of voting problems in many parts of the country,'” Turley noted.

“Sen. Dick Durbin has also denounced the challenge this year but took to the Senate floor to praise Boxer in 2005. He declared ‘Some may criticize our colleague from California for bringing us here for this brief debate. I thank her for doing that because it gives members an opportunity once again on a bipartisan basis to look at a challenge that we face not just in the last election in one State but in many States.'”

The president’s lead attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is also facing expulsion of sorts, albeit for vastly different reasons.

“The New York State Bar Association will consider expelling President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and a state lawmaker is seeking his disbarment after inflammatory comments during a rally preceding last week’s deadly riot inside the U.S. Capitol,” The Washington Post has confirmed.

“Hours before the pro-Trump mob breached security and stormed the building, Giuliani encouraged the president’s loyalists to fight the election results ‘by combat.’ Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died during the attempted insurrection.”

This is true.

“Over the next 10 days, we get to see the machines that are crooked, the ballots that are fraudulent. And if we’re wrong, we will be made fools of. But if we’re right, a lot of them will go to jail. So, let’s have trial by combat,” Giuliani said at the rally that preceded last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.

He may be able to avert an expulsion by arguing that he’d simply been using a rhetorical device, i.e., a figure of speech. He’s certainly not the first person who’s resorted to a seemingly violent figure of speech while speaking passionately.

Observe:

Dovetailing back to Georgia, there is one subtle bright-side to the three state senators being demoted.

“They are no longer tethered to party leadership and are freer to buck Duncan and other top GOP figures. Some point to Tom Graves, who became a hero to some conservatives after he was sacked in the state Legislature — and later parlayed his popularity to a seat in the U.S. House,” according to AJC.

Graves wound up serving in the House for 10 long years, up until he resigned just this past October.

Vivek Saxena

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