A Republican state lawmaker in Oregon faces potential expulsion from the state House of Representatives after a video has emerged that appears to show him explaining to a group of protesters how to enter the closed state Capitol building.
Days after that video was published on YouTube, a crowd of far-right protesters entered the Capitol during a legislative session where lawmakers were debating COVID-19 restrictions. The breach led to a scuffle with police; the Associated Press reports that some protests sprayed chemical irritants on officers.
The video was published Friday by Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB). In the video, which was posted to YouTube on Dec. 16, State Rep. Mike Nearman speaks to a group about setting up what's referred to as "Operation Hall Pass," as the group discusses accessing the Capitol despite it being closed over COVID-19 restrictions.
In the video, Nearman speaks in vague terms about how "somebody might exit that door while you're standing there," if someone were to send a text message to a "random number" about being at the "west entrance" of the Capitol.
That "random number" happened to be Nearman's number, according to OPB and CNN.
Surveillance video on Dec. 21 showed Nearman leave the Capitol through a locked door that was surrounded by protesters, CNN reports. The protester's confrontation with the police in the building occurred shortly afterward.
Nearman faces charges of first-degree official misconduct and second-degree criminal trespass, according to CNN.
On Monday, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek introduced a resolution that would expel Nearman if two-thirds of House members vote in favor and appointed a committee to investigate further.
Kotek's actions came as Republican House members called on Nearman to step down.
"Today, we strongly recommend that you resign from the Oregon State House of Representatives," all 22 House Republicans said in the joint letter, according to the Associated Press. "Given the newest evidence that has come to light ... it is our beliefs as friends and colleagues that it is in the best interest of your caucus, your family, yourself, and the state of Oregon for you to step down from your office."
On Monday, Nearman remained vague about whether he would resign ahead of a potential vote later this month.
"I'll put myself in God's hands and see how that works out for me," Nearman said, according to the Associated Press.