Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) sees political motivations in the House Jan. 6 insurrection committee’s recent scrutiny of GOP electors from seven states, including Nevada, that filed documents falsely claiming President Donald Trump won those states in the 2020 election.
“The majority party in the House is doing their thing, just like they did impeaching the guy twice,” Amodei said in an interview on Wednesday. “And so now it’s like, ‘well, oh, by the way, we’ve got this thing with these six or seven states’… maybe this is the shot of oxygen to keep this thing alive for another week, or whatever, as we get down to the midterms.”
Amodei’s comment came before the House committee Friday issued subpoenas to 14 people, including Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald and Secretary James DeGraffenreid, who both signed documents sent to the National Archives in an effort to cast the state’s electoral votes for Trump. The panel also wants the 14 to appear for questioning next month.
“We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information about how these so-called alternate electors met and who was behind that scheme,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chairman of the Jan. 6 committee, said in a release.
Amodei said the NV GOP electors’ efforts were only “a piece of political speech” drawn up by people who “were very upset” about the election results, and any attempt to make more out of it than that is purely political.
The Nevada Republican added that he doesn’t believe that the effort broke any laws, in part, because the documents submitted by the NV GOP electors were patently not official, with no governor’s seal and no reference to a “final determination” or “certificate of ascertainment,” which is “a term of art that’s been around for a very long time.”
“Whoever told them what form to use did a piss-poor job,” Amodei said.
Amodei also underscored the several mounting factors pointing to Democrats possibly losing the majority in the House, including President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings. According to FiveThirtyEight’s poll tracker, only 41.7 percent of voters approve of the job the president is doing.
“November is a long way away in political terms, but right now, things aren’t looking like a really pretty sunrise for the majority party in the House in terms of those elections,” Amodei continued.
Analytics and polling firm Gallup found that presidents who had approval ratings below 50 percent tended to lose an average of 37 House seats in midterm elections. House Democrats currently hold a 10-seat advantage over the GOP.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has also said it is investigating the fake electors. Democratic Gov. Steve Sisiolak said that he believes they committed a crime. His comments echoed those of Thompson, who recently said that the false electors may have committed fraud by seeking to file unofficial documents.
Amodei said it was self-serving of Sisolak to weigh in as he did, as he is on the ballot in November. He also said it could hurt the governor with independent voters who are increasingly likely to play a crucial role in deciding who leads the state next year. Registration numbers for non-party voters have outpaced those of either Democrats or Republicans.
“You’re getting close to unforced error areas,” Amodei said of the governor’s remark.
He commended Attorney General Aaron Ford’s more measured response, who has so far declined to confirm or deny he was investigating, as is standard procedure in such matters. After the DOJ disclosed it was looking at the electors, Ford, who is also running for re-election in November, told CNN that he welcomed the announcement and would provide “any support we can in that endeavor.”
Amodei’s comments come after Trump advisor Boris Epshteyn told MSNBC that he was part of an organized effort led by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to have alternate slates of electors for Trump counted. The existence of the electors was used as pretext for Vice President Mike Pence, who has a ceremonial role in presiding over Congress’ certification of presidential elections, to not accept the results, according to the Jan. 6 panel.
Asked if the attempt alone, even if poorly executed, possibly rises to the level of fraud, Amodei was skeptical.
“What they did speaks for itself,” he said. “Listen, this was a piece of political speech, where people were very upset. And I get all that and understand that and so it’s like, ‘oh, my god, we’re gonna put our money where our mouth is in terms of buying a piece of paper and signing it, we’re the Republican presidential electors and we vote for Trump.’”
And that push came after all legal avenues in the state were pursued and settled against Trump, he stressed.
“So when you say ‘fraud’ or ‘misleading’ or ‘forged’ or whatever…on a personal level, I just want to go, ‘Really? Are you serious?’” Amodei said.
Amodei, who is also running for re-election after passing on a run for the governorship, seemed to be singing from the same hymn book as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who recently told CNN that GOP candidates should move on from the 2020 election.
“An election is about connecting with voters,” Amodei said. “And I’ll just tell you, I don’t think there’s a lot of connection potential in telling people what the heck happened in the last election.”
The House and Senate were in recess this week, but members of the state’s congressional delegation were working in their districts and around the state.
Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) touted new support for Nevada-based and national business groups for her tourism bill, which would create a new position at the Department of Commerce dedicated to tourism.
Rosen and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) also signed onto a letter, dated Tuesday, with 15 other Democrats, to Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi seeking an update on SSA’s efforts to improve field office services for beneficiaries amid the continuing challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[A] November 2021 SSA Inspector General report found that nearly half of the 151 million callers to field offices and the national 800-number went unanswered, including 16.4 million callers who gave up while waiting in the queue,” the letter said. ”Many of these service issues have persisted long before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has amplified and exacerbated these gaps in service for all, particularly for those whose sole source of income is Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or both.”
Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief with 191 other members of Congress in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its authority to regulate greenhouse gasses. West Virginia sued the EPA in the U.S. Supreme Court over whether the Clean Air Act gives the EPA that authority. Arguments are set for Feb. 28.
Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) and Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) signed onto a letter, with 22 other House Democrats, calling on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to quickly hold a vote on recently unveiled innovation legislation. The America COMPETES Act includes $52 billion to incentivize domestic semiconductor manufacturing and includes $45 billion to improve the nation’s supply chains.
“This legislation deserves a place at the top of the agenda, and we thank you for your ongoing commitment to see it passed,” the letter said. “We continue to hear from constituents who are rightly concerned about supply chain backlogs and the rising price of goods.”