A video released Thursday showed Rep. Jamaal Bowman removing a sign before pulling a fire alarm at the Cannon House Office Building, The Hill reported. This flies in the face of the New York Democrat's earlier claim that it was completely accidental.
Prior to the release of this video, Bowman had claimed with a straight face that he set off the alarm because he simply got confused. His story was that he was rushing to get to the House floor to vote on a bill to prevent a government shutdown when he inadvertently tripped the alarm.
"I want to personally clear up confusion surrounding today's events. Today as I was rushing to make a vote, I came to a door that is usually open for votes, but today would not be open," Bowman claimed the day after the incident on Sept. 30, according to Fox News.
"I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door," Bowman added. He denied claims that he was attempting to delay the vote and instead was rushing so fast to get it done that he had a moment of illiteracy.
However, the video clearly showed him removing the sign that warned an alarm would sound if the doors were opened and then actively setting off the alarm. On Thursday, the Democrat lawmaker pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for this stunt.
An agreement brokered with the attorney general of Washington, D.C., will allow charges to be dropped against Bowman in three months after he pays $1,000 in fines. The video evidence was conveniently held until shortly after he struck this deal, for which Bowman was "grateful" to the prosecution.
"I’m thankful for the quick resolution from the District of Columbia Attorney General’s office on this issue and grateful that the United States Capitol Police General Counsel’s office agreed I did not obstruct nor intend to obstruct any House vote or proceedings," he said Wednesday in a statement. "I am responsible for activating a fire alarm, I will be paying the fine issued, and look forward to these charges being ultimately dropped," Bowman added.
Of course, Republicans rightly aren't buying any of this. Some GOP lawmakers believe Bowman intentionally pulled the alarm in an effort to delay the proceedings of Congress that day.
House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil (R-WI) pledged to launch a probe into this matter to get to the bottom of Bowman's actions. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) is taking it a step further in introducing a resolution to have Bowman thrown out of the House.
Others are calling for Bowman's resignation over this incident. Meanwhile, Democrats continue to circle the wagons around Bowman even in the face of the overwhelming evidence that this was intentional.
When asked whether Bowman deserves censure, Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said in his "view," there was no reason to do so. Instead, he pulled out Democrats' favorite trump card, the incursion at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as an excuse.
"[M]any of these lawmakers on the other side of the aisle who had their hair on fire about what appears to have been an inadvertent action taken by Congressman Bowman, to which he is now being held accountable for, within the criminal justice system, regularly defend violent individuals who overran the Capitol on Jan. 6, as part of an effort to halt a peaceful transfer of power," Jeffries claimed. It's unclear whether Jeffries actually watched the video.
This incident is the kind of thing that makes ordinary Americans hate the D.C. swamp. It's clear that Bowman knew exactly what he was doing, but he was allowed to sweep it under the rug with a plea and a pittance of a fine.
It's no accident that the video evidence was made available only after they sealed the deal for Bowman, of course. Not only is this an insult to the intelligence of anyone paying attention to the case, but it's more evidence that Washington is corrupt and that the people in it enjoy special privileges as members of the swamp.