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Virginia Senate moves to censure lawmaker over Capitol riot

January 19, 2021 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Senate is advancing a resolution to censure a GOP lawmaker for “fomenting insurrection against the United States,” saying she helped incite the storming of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.

A Senate committee voted Tuesday to approve the censure resolution against Sen. Amanda Chase, an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump who attended the president’s rally before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

The resolution passed along party lines Tuesday, with Democrats saying Chase deserved punishment for repeatedly promoting baseless claims of election fraud, praising the rioters who stormed the Capitol and calling for martial law to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

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Sen. John Bell, the Democratic sponsor of the resolution, said Chase had mimicked the same type of behavior that led to Trump being impeached.

“We must be held to a higher standard,” Bell said.

Chase, who is also running for governor, recently had restrictions placed on her Facebook account after falsely blaming antifa activists for the deadly insurrection at the Capitol.

Republicans distanced themselves from Chase, but voted against the resolution on the grounds that it was an infringement of Chase’s free speech rights.

“This country has dramatically shifted from the belief of freedom of speech to a culture of freedom from speech,” said Sen. Bryce Reeves.

The resolution now goes to the full Senate, where Democrats have a narrow majority, for a floor vote. Earlier on Wednesday, the Senate voted nearly unanimously to strip Chase of her one and only committee assignment.

Chase said she plans to introduce censure resolutions against Democratic lawmakers who attended protests last summer focused on racial justice and removing Confederate statues.

She also said she’s being unfairly targeted because of her outspoken support for Trump and because she’s running for governor without the backing of the state’s Republican establishment.

“This is all about their lack of tolerance for anyone that supported President Donald J. Trump, of which I am one of the biggest advocates for,” Chase said.