U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber voted against an article of impeachment brought before the House of Representatives on Wednesday, confirming a stance he took Tuesday and to Minnesota Public Radio over the weekend.
“I know that impeachment will be dividing the nation even further than it is,” said Stauber, Minnesota's 8th Congressional District representative, in a 10-minute interview Tuesday. "It’s important to recognize the political divisiveness is palpable. It's extremely high. I want to be one of those that heals as we move forward."
The Hermantown Republican called for prosecution of last week’s U.S. Capitol rioters.
“I want everybody that assaulted any police officer, or did any damage, or tried to interrupt the electoral count, I want each and every one of them accountable and held to the highest standard of the law and no charges dropped,” Stauber said. “No (state) attorney general should drop those charges at all.”
Stauber was asked if he believed the president, too, needed to be held accountable for his incendiary rally speech that precipitated the riot and saw Trump railing against what he called a “rigged” election and telling the crowd: “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
Stauber wouldn't address accountability for the president.
“I reviewed the transcript of his remarks at the rally (last) Wednesday,” he said. “And I certainly would have used different words. No doubt about it.”
The News Tribune asked Stauber, a retired Duluth police officer, about the Capitol Police officer who died from injuries sustained at the rally, and if Stauber felt any responsibility, because he, too, challenged the validity of President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory over Trump.
“I’m really appalled you would ask that question,” Stauber said. “Putting me as a member of Congress responsible for an officer’s death, that’s unconscionable even to ask me that.”
The interview continued with Stauber saying: “I never condoned any violence. I have accepted the Electoral College; I voted to follow the (U.S.) Constitution and I will always follow the Constitution.”
But last month, Stauber supported a Texas lawsuit attempting to prevent votes from being counted in Biden-won swing states. Also in December, Stauber defended the president’s “right to look into these allegations of irregularities.”
The Nov. 3 election has been unlike any other, as a defeated Trump has persisted in inaccurately calling it a stolen election, offering conspiracy theories aimed at Democrats and the technology industry, which have suspended Trump’s social media accounts since the Capitol riot.
The censorship of speech by these mega Silicon Valley tech companies should alarm all those who hold dear the First Amendment of our Constitution. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, stifling free speech is a grave danger to our Republic. https://t.co/fjH8oOjBBV— Pete Stauber (@RepPeteStauber) January 12, 2021
Stauber stressed that he voted to certify the election in Biden’s favor after the two chambers resumed work following the riot.
“The mob didn’t rule and didn’t stop us from completing the counting of the electoral votes,” Stauber said. “I am so glad we showed the American people that we’re going to continue to do their work.”
Stauber called the resumption of Congress in the hours following the riot "Mike Pence's finest hour as an elected public servant."
Stauber reiterated that he’d attend next week’s Biden inauguration.
“As we move forward, the healing of this nation is a priority,” he said. “I’m looking forward to next week when the new Congress starts. I will be attending the inauguration. Rather than looking in the rearview mirror, I will be looking out the front windshield at the possibilities of the bipartisanship that’s going to happen.”