North of Ogden • Rep. Blake Moore is ready to move on to debates on the 2020 election and the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill. This freshman Republican wants to talk about inflation and debt. He wants to discuss military spending and cybersecurity.

But are voters ready?

Moore met with a cordial group of curators at the North Branch of the Weber County Library on Tuesday evening. During a two-hour town hall, attendees repeatedly pressed him on allegations of electoral fraud, the legitimacy of the election, and why he would support the Jan. 6 commission to investigate the attempted insurgency when de many Republicans opposed and ultimately blocked its creation. .

Moore was one of 35 House Republicans who clashed with party leaders on May 19 in support of the commission. Another was Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah. Moore said his office had received “a ton of calls” about the commission and that those callers were distributed relatively evenly.

He made some tough decisions in his first five months in office, including one that he said was the toughest call of his life. But it wasn’t one of them.

“I was comfortable with the legislation,” he said.

When Moore decided not to vote to impeach President Donald Trump in January – what he called “the most painful decision I have ever made” – Moore said he was in favor of a commission bipartisan to investigate the attack on Capitol Hill by a pro-Trump mob. This commission was negotiated over the months and, in the end, its members would be half Democrats and half Republicans, although there were concerns that Democrats might have more influence in hiring staff.

The bill was based on the 9/11 Commission, and Moore told people who attended his town hall that the 9/11 Commission of these terrorist attacks revealed a systemic communications problem between intelligence services that has since been treated.

He said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Had backed the idea of ​​a Jan.6 commission on impeachment to oppose it ahead of the vote. And Moore identified topics the commission could have studied, starting with the lack of a plan inside the Capitol and the fallout from the attack.

“There was no clear protocol on how to handle a situation like this. The Capitol police chief was fired as a scapegoat, ”he said. “Politicians like [House] Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi made decisions about security. There was enough intelligence to say that we have to inflate, we have to get the National Guard a few days before. And these were rejected. This is what a commission could study.

The House passed the bill and Senate Republicans filibustered it, meaning they kept it out of debate. Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, was among those who voted to block debate, while Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, voted against filibuster. The bipartisan independent commission is now considered dead, and Pelosi is considering its options, including creating a Democratic-led House select committee.

“That’s what really concerns me,” Moore said.

He feared for his life during the siege of the Capitol

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Representative Blake Moore speaks at a town hall at the North Branch of the Weber County Library in North Ogden on Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

The congressman also noted that he was sworn in on Jan.3. He had worked three days before the traumatic events of January 6, a day when he feared for his life.

He gave the small group present on Tuesday a detailed account of that day. How he had been upstairs when rioters broke into the Capitol. The police began to secure the doors. He called his wife.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” he told her. “I get really disturbing texts from my team. I don’t have all the information. I love you sweetheart.

He helped a coworker get a gas mask, and then he got one for himself. He saw policemen with guns. The chaplain delivered a rushed prayer in the midst of the chaos.

“It’s crazy,” he told City Hall. “It’s one of those times when you say to yourself, ‘I’m not in control of this right now.'”

He called the Capitol police “absolute heroes that day”. Officers escorted a group of representatives out of the house and through tunnels to a nearby office building, meeting in a cafeteria. Moore, who wore his House pin identifying him as a congressman, felt in danger and that he was making him dangerous to others gathered there.

“We are the target right now,” he told a colleague as the crowd searched for members of Congress. He left, returned to his office and cuddled there with his team for hours.

An “apocalyptic” scenario

When the crowd was forced out of Capitol Hill, Congress returned to complete the electoral vote count in the presidential race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. This is normally a superficial process, but that’s why the intruders came in the first place.

The violence did not change the way Moore voted. He had already ruled that the House did not have the constitutional right to disqualify a state’s voters unless a state indicated there was a problem. No state has done so.

But on that vote, like the Jan. 6 commission tally, Moore was in the minority of his party, with 121 Republicans voting to oppose Arizona voters and 136 Republicans, including Utah Reps Chris Stewart and Burgess Owens, voting to oppose Pennsylvania. .

Moore said that if Congress decides to withdraw certification from a state’s electoral votes, it could cast doubt on the Electoral College as a system, and he noted at his town hall: “Republicans have greatly benefited for decades from the Electoral College.

Trump won in 2016 with an Electoral College victory, although he lost the popular vote. George W. Bush achieved the same feat in 2000.

He also described an “doomsday” scenario. He asked the crowd to imagine January 6, 2025, when a Republican won elections in two states, Texas and Georgia, and Democrats still hold the House and Senate. He asked what would prevent Democrats from saying that due to controversial election legislation they would decertify voters in those two states and start the race for Democrats.

“All of a sudden, guys,” he said, “we have a civil war.”

Moore didn’t seem to change his mind much on Tuesday night, and he said he expects to receive similar questions as he continues to serve his first term and seeks a second in 2022.

“The easiest thing for me to say at the commission was, ‘Oh, I support a bipartisan commission, but not this one,’ he said. “I probably would have avoided a lot of problems, but I will show up here, talk to the delegates and present my case. This is why you have given me the opportunity to serve in this capacity.

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