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‘Sit down!’ ‘No, you sit down!’ Democrat’s speech nearly triggers fistfight on House floor

Lawmakers nearly came to a physical altercation on the House floor on Jan. 7 after Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) said a pro-Trump mob materialized from GOP lies. (Video: The Washington Post)

An impassioned speech from Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) nearly sparked an early morning fistfight between two other House lawmakers during the debate over Pennsylvania’s electoral votes.

Lamb said the GOP objectors to Joe Biden’s presidential election win didn’t need to “strip this Congress of its dignity” any more after pro-Trump rioters attacked the Capitol on Wednesday.

“We know that that attack today, it didn’t materialize out of nowhere, it was inspired by lies — the same lies that you’re hearing in this room tonight,” he said. “The members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves. Their constituents should be ashamed of them.”

Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) took exception to Lamb’s words. Moments later, Griffith raised a point of order and attempted to have his colleague’s words struck from the record.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refused, citing Griffith’s request as “not timely.”

“The truth hurts,” Lamb said to his detractors. “It hurts them. It hurts this country. It hurts all of us.”

Then, as Lamb continued to talk, a scrum reportedly broke out between a few Republicans and Democrats, away from cameras’ view. About a dozen lawmakers cleared their benches to intervene, CNN’s Kristin Wilson reported.

“Sit down!” one of them yelled. “No, you sit down!” another replied.

Pelosi banged her gavel, demanding, “There’ll be order in the House.” No punches were thrown.

The offices of Reps. Andy Harris (R-Md.), Al Lawson (D-Fla.) and Colin Allred (D-Tex.) confirmed they were involved in the argument.

Allred said in a statement that he was trying to defuse the situation and that he was not involved in the initial altercation.

“After seeing a disagreement between Members verge on physical confrontation, Congressman Allred approached his colleagues on both sides of the aisle with the hopes of defusing the situation and bringing down tensions,” the statement said. “In the video of Congressman Lamb delivering his speech you can hear Congressman Allred calling on his colleague to reconsider, saying, ‘are you serious, man? Haven’t you had enough violence for today?’“

In his own statement, Harris confirmed Allred’s account of the event and said “nothing physical ever happened, or was going to happen. Mr. Allred stepped in only to ease tensions at the end of a difficult day.”

Once cooler heads prevailed, Rep. Roger Williams (R-Tex.) defended his colleagues against Lamb’s condemnation that GOP objectors should be ashamed of their actions.

“I’m not ashamed, and neither are my colleagues,” Williams said. “We’re actually proud of what we’re doing over here.”

Tensions were boiling after a mob breached the Capitol on Wednesday, touting false claims that the presidential election was stolen, as Congress officially counted the electoral votes.

Critics lambasted President Trump’s response to the mayhem at the Capitol on Wednesday and accused him of inciting the rioters.

In a statement, Trump continued to peddle false claims about a rigged election as he told rioters to “go home in peace.”

“Go home. We love you,” he told them. “You’re very special.”

Members of Congress were able to return to their chambers to continue recording electoral college votes, confirming the election of Biden as the next president.

House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Wednesday night that the mob wouldn’t deter the counting of the electoral votes.

“This authoritarian menace will not succeed in his attempts to overthrow our democratically elected government,” he said.

Mike DeBonis and Paul Kane contributed to this report.

The Jan. 6 insurrection

Congressional hearings: The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol held a series of high-profile hearings to share its findings with the U.S. public. In what was likely its final hearing, the committee issued a surprise subpoena seeking testimony from former president Donald Trump. Here’s a guide to the biggest hearing moments so far.

Will there be charges? The committee could make criminal referrals of former president Donald Trump over his role in the attack, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in an interview.

What we know about what Trump did on Jan. 6: New details emerged when Hutchinson testified before the committee and shared what she saw and heard on Jan. 6.

The riot: On Jan. 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Five people died on that day or in the immediate aftermath, and 140 police officers were assaulted.

Inside the siege: During the rampage, rioters came perilously close to penetrating the inner sanctums of the building while lawmakers were still there, including former vice president Mike Pence. The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and videos to create a video timeline of what happened on Jan. 6.