CNN reporter Manu Raju seemingly raised the ire of “Squad” lawmaker Jamaal Bowman when he questioned why the New York Democrat hadn’t been truthful about pulling a fire alarm in an incident that critics have suggested was meant to delay a congressional vote.
Bowman, as readers of The Political Insider are keenly aware, pulled a clearly marked fire alarm beside an emergency door at the Cannon House Office Building in late September as House members were preparing to vote on a spending bill.
Bowman’s initial statement explained the incident away by saying that he was “urgently” trying to get to the vote and had pulled the alarm thinking it would open the door. “I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door,” he said. “I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused.”
But Raju pressed the Democrat on why he would “plead guilty to knowingly pulling that fire alarm, when you said you didn’t know it” was a fire alarm. Bowman recently accepted a plea deal for his actions and will have to pay a $1,000 fine and pen a letter of apology. Upon meeting those conditions, the charges will be dropped.
RELATED: New Video Shows Democrat Jamaal Bowman Deliberately Pulled Fire Alarm
Raju Presses, But Bowman Refuses To Answer Questions
“You initially told us that you didn’t know it was a fire alarm,” Raju pointed out. “Why are you still talking about this, man?” a clearly annoyed Bowman shot back. “That’s behind me, that’s been adjudicated, that’s done, paid the fine, moved forward — and in three months it’ll be dismissed.”
“But you weren’t straight about what happened initially,” Raju continued, prompting Bowman to insist: “I was very straight. I was straight from the very beginning.”
“But you said you didn’t know,” the CNN reporter pressed. “I was straight from the beginning,” Bowman reiterated.
Asked Jamaal Bowman yesterday why he initially said he “mistakingly” thought the fire alarm would open the door — yet later pleaded guilty to “willfully or knowingly” pulling the alarm falsely. “I was straight from the very beginning,” he said. https://t.co/WuRkCpOZo3 — Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 3, 2023
During the encounter, another reporter defends Raju’s line of questioning by pointing out, “Someone did invoke that (fire alarm incident) today on the House floor.”
RELATED: Rep Troy Nehls, a Former Sheriff, Posts Picture of Handcuffs For Democrat Jamaal Bowman After Fire Alarm Stunt: ‘You Ready?’
Even Bowman’s Statement AFTER The Plea Deal Isn’t Being ‘Straight’
Congressman Bowman, in a statement to reporters after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor for causing a false fire alarm, insinuated that he had been exonerated from accusations that he did so intentionally to interfere in official government proceedings. “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,” Bowman said. Roll Call, however, reported that Capitol Police did not come to that conclusion at all. “Our General Counsel did not, nor anyone in our Department, make that determination,” a Capitol Police spokesperson said. “We sent the thoroughly investigated case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and prosecutors there did not pursue it.”
It’s an important distinction and one that Bowman has continually tried to highlight. Because, as the Washington Post writes, the “Squad” member could see himself becoming the target of a sweeping interpretation of a law used by the Joe Biden Justice Department “to target Jan. 6 rioters.” Those prosecuted for the Capitol riot were incessantly accused of delaying congressional proceedings. The Post warns that while it is not being pursued by the current administration, “federal prosecutors in a Republican administration might not make the same decision.”