A Republican congressman called out his colleagues on Sunday for downplaying the events of the Capitol riots, as lawmakers work to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of the day.
Representative Fred Upton, a Republican from Michigan, told CNN’s Dana Bash that some of the claims his colleagues have made about the riots in recent weeks are ‘bogus’ and he was not sure what their motivations would be for making such statements.
Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, for example, claimed the FBI has been ‘harassing peaceful patriots across the country’ in its arrests of those who have participated in the insurrection, and Andrew Clyde, of Georgia, said that if you did not know the footage was from January 6 ‘you would actually think it was a normal tourist video.’
And Jody Hice, also of Georgia, wrongfully claimed ‘it was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others.’
Representative Fred Upton, a Republican from Michigan, told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday that some of the claims his colleagues are making downplaying the events of the Capitol riots are ‘bogus’ and he does not know why they would make these claims
‘It’s absolutely bogus,’ Upton, one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the insurrection, told Bash.
‘You know, I was there,’ he said. ‘I watched a number of the folks walk down to the White House and then back.
‘I have a balcony on my office,’ he continued. ‘So I saw the noise — the flash bangs, I smelled some of the gas as it moved my way.’
He added that he spent some time talking about it afterwards with Police Officer Michael Finone, who was injured in the insurrection, and saw ‘firsthand what it was,’ as did others who are now downplaying the events of the day.
‘It was terribly frightening,’ Upton said. ‘They knew that by stopping some of those folks from getting into the House Chamber, it probably saved their lives.’
‘I don’t know how you could be a better witness,’ he said, noting that he supports a move by his fellow lawmakers to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack.
On January 6, many Trump loyalists stormed the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election
They scaled the walls of the Capitol and broke windows to get in
Many clashed with local law enforcement in the insurrection
The top Republican and Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee struck a deal on Friday for how thy would structure the independent panel — with 10 members, half appointed by Democratic congressional leaders, including the chairperson and half appointed by Republicans, including the vice chair.
They would be tasked with issuing a final report on the events of January 6 by the end of the year, and would have the power to issue subpoenas, so long as they are signed off by both the chair and the vice chair.
But it remains unclear whether House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy would approve the commission, as he said he is still reviewing the matter, according to CNN.
Upton said he would want McCarthy to approve the commission, and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who was ousted from her GOP leadership position last week, told ABC News that McCarthy should ‘absolutely’ testify before the commission if it were to be established.
‘I would hope he doesn’t require a subpoena, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he were subpoenaed,’ Cheney said of McCarthy, adding that the attempts by some of her colleagues to downplay the insurrection are ‘disgraceful and despicable.’
It remains unclear whether House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy would approve of a bipartisan commission to study the events of January 6
House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson also told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Sunday that it is important to find out what McCarthy knows about Trump’s actions on January 6.
‘We have to get all of the facts,’ he said. ‘We want to get the House Administration documents. We want to get the Government Reform and Oversight Committee’s documents, the Department of Defense documents and any witness who had anything in terms of knowledge of what happened on January 6. The commission needs to hear from them,” Thompson said.
When asked if that includes Trump, he said the commission would ‘need to get’ information from Trump himself.
‘He invited many of the people who broke into the Capitol to Washington on that day. He said, ‘Come to Washington. It’s going to be wild.’ So we need to get from him what ‘coming to Washington, being wild’ was all about,’ Thompson said.