- A GOP congressman said calling the Capitol riots an insurrection is “a bald-faced lie.”
- Rep. Andrew Clyde downplayed the day’s violence and compared the rioters to tourists.
- Clyde also said the Russia investigations are “the only insurrection I have witnessed in my lifetime.”
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GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde said calling the January 6 insurrection an insurrection is a “bald-faced lie” and likened the rioters to tourists during a House Oversight Committee hearing on the riots.
Members of the committee heard testimony about the riots from former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, and Chief Robert J. Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department.
“This hearing is called the Capitol insurrection. Let’s be honest with the American people: it was not an insurrection, and we cannot call it that and be truthful,” Clyde said.
Clyde then quoted from two dictionaries including the Cambridge English Dictionary, which defines an insurrection as “an organized attempt by a group of people to defeat their government and take control of their country usually by violence.”
But by that very definition, the events constituted an insurrection. The rioters attempted to overtake the Capitol to stop Congress from formally counting the slates of electoral votes to affirm President Joe Biden’s win over former President Donald Trump in the Electoral College, a process taking place on January 6.
“As one of the members who stayed in the Capitol and on the House floor and who, with other Republican colleagues, helped barricade the door until almost 3 pm that day from the mob who tried to enter, I can tell you, the House floor was never breached and it was not an insurrection,” he said.
Both the Capitol itself and the Senate floor were breached by the rioters.
Clyde then simultaneously called the rioters “an undisciplined mob” with “some who committed acts of vandalism” and claimed they acted no differently than tourists, saying, “there was no insurrection, to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bald-faced lie.”
“Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the…ropes taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit,” he said.
Tourists visiting Congress generally do not enter the Capitol by breaking windows, wield Confederate flags and Trump flags through the halls of the Capitol, steal government property like the Speaker’s lectern, and break into lawmakers’ offices.
The throngs of rioters both climbing up walls and crowding the stairs to enter the Capitol in waves were far from orderly.
Clyde also falsely claimed that “there were no firearms confiscated from anyone who breached the Capitol.” In fact, police apprehended a Maryland man, Christopher Alberts, as he was trying to leave the Capitol after the riots, and found him carrying a gun and 25 rounds of ammunition, CNN reported.
Other weapons confiscated from insurrectionists and found at the scene included bear spray, mace, fire extinguishers, knives, clubs, poles, hockey sticks, and baseball bats.
Clyde characterized Ashli Babbitt, who died after being shot by a law enforcement officer as she tried to climb through a broken window to get into the Speaker’s Lobby, as a “protester” and said her death will “probably be determined to be a needless display of lethal force.”
The Department of Justice already conducted a review of the incident and did not file charges against the lieutenant who fired the shot.
Over 460 individuals have been charged with offenses including unlawful entry, disorderly conduct, and property damage in connection with the riots. Others have been charged with conspiracy for allegedly coordinating violent acts in advance.
And despite Clyde’s claim that the rioters only committed property damage and vandalism on par with the civil unrest of the summer of 2020, 140 Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police officers suffered injuries and physical harm, including concussions, during the riots.
Clyde then claimed that the Department of Justice and FBI’s investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia was “the only insurrection I have witnessed in my lifetime.”