Updated Oct 2, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Jamaal Bowman damage control roils Capitol Hill as GOP closes in

Rep. Jamaal Bowman. Photo: Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The turmoil surrounding Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) for pulling a House office building alarm raged on Monday as his staff tried to rally fellow Democrats around a defense.

Why it matters: The Capitol Police is continuing to investigate Bowman and a Republican colleague introduced a resolution to expel him from Congress.

Driving the news: Democratic staffers were transfixed and bewildered by a messaging memo that Bowman's office sent out on Monday afternoon –before restricting access to it seven minutes later.

  • The memo, a copy of which was obtained by Axios, included a list of nine suggested talking points, including: "I believe Congressman Bowman when he says this was an accident. Republicans need to instead focus their energy on the Nazi members of their party before anything else."
  • Soon after sending the memo in a Google Doc, access was restricted "as it was leaked to reporters," with Bowman's office urging staffers who want messaging to reach out directly, according to emails viewed by Axios.

What he's saying: "I just became aware that in our messaging guidance, there was inappropriate use of the term Nazi without my consent," Bowman said in a post on the social media site X.

  • "I condemn the use of the term Nazi out of its precise definition. It is important to specify the term Nazi to refer to members of the Nazi party & neo-Nazis."

State of play: Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.), a member of GOP leadership, is circulating censure resolution that would also strip Bowman of his committee assignments and direct the Ethics Committee to open an investigation into him, according to a copy of the text viewed by Axios.

  • The resolution accuses Bowman of violating D.C. ordinance prohibiting “knowingly causing a false alarm” and federal laws against the obstruction of official proceedings..

Zoom in: Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) on Monday introduced her resolution with 12 GOP co-sponsors to expel Bowman from Congress.

  • "We will continue to add more throughout the day," Malliotakis said in a statement. "Mr. Bowman's juvenile actions violated both federal and local law and he must be held accountable."
  • The co-sponsors: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Mike Collins (Ga.), Austin Scott (Ga.), Tony Gonzales (Texas), Mary Miller (Ill.), Gary Palmer (Ala.), Matt Rosendale (Mont.), Randy Weber (Texas), Troy Nehls (Texas), Josh Brecheen (Okla.), Barry Moore (Ala.).

What we're watching: The Capitol Police "continues to investigate the facts and circumstances" around the alarm and subsequent evacuation of the building, they said in a statement on Monday.

  • "On security video, a man was seen trying to exit the door in the Cannon Building and then pulling the fire alarm that prompted the evacuation," the statement said.
  • Bowman has said he didn't intend to trigger a building alarm, but rather was trying to get to votes and thought pulling the alarm would open the door.
  • "USCP officers had previously placed signs with clear language that explained the door was secured and marked as an emergency exit only," the statement added.

Go deeper: House Democrat under investigation for pulling Capitol Hill alarm

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of the censure resolution being circulated.

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