Greene’s visit to DC jail brings GOP closer to Jan 6 rioters

WASHINGTON– WASHINGTON (AP) — Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene entered the District of Columbia jail to check on the defendants’ conditions Jan. 6, with Republican lawmakers shaking hands and clapping the hands of prisoners, who chanted “Let’s go Brandon !” — a coded vulgarity against President Joe Biden — as the group left.

A day earlier, President Kevin McCarthy met the mother of slain rioter Ashli ​​Babbitt, a Navy veteran who was shot and killed by police as she tried to climb through a shattered window during of the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

And the House Republican leader recently gave Fox News’ Tucker Carlson exclusive access to a treasure trove of Jan. 6 surveillance tapes despite the conservative commentator spreading conspiracy theories about the Capitol attack.

Taken together, House Republicans can be seen as working steadily but intensely to distort the facts of the deadly riot, which unfolded for the world to see when Donald Trump supporters besieged the Capitol, and in the processes minimize the risk of domestic violence. extremism in the United States

In actions and legislation, Republicans seek to paint the perpetrators of the Capitol riot as victims of overzealous federal prosecutors, despite many of them having been convicted of serious crimes. As Trump seeks clemency for the Jan. 6 defendants, some House Republicans are trying to rebrand those who stormed the Capitol as “political prisoners.”

The result is alarming to those who recognize a dangerously Orwellian attempt to whitewash recent history.

“There is no doubt that Marjorie Taylor Greene and other Republicans are trying to rewrite history,” said Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. “They shed light on what was a serious attack on our democracy.”

The visit Greene led to the local jail on Friday comes as nearly 1,000 people have been charged by the Justice Department in the attack on the Capitol – leaders of the extremist Oath Keepers convicted of seditious conspiracy. The 20 or so defendants held at the jail, many of whom are on remand on serious federal charges, are among those who fought police on Capitol Hill, officials said, in what was at times a horrific bloody scene of violence. and chaos.

Greene told The Associated Press that the idea of ​​her trying to rewrite history is the “dumbest thing” she’s ever heard of, especially since the assault on the Capitol was captured in the 41,000 hours of video that McCarthy made available to Fox News.

“We can’t rewrite it – it’s all on video,” Greene told the AP.

“You can’t change history, but what we can do is expose the truth. That’s what we have to do,” Greene said.

The country has been here before – in the aftermath of the Civil War, when the Lost Cause movement sought to reframe the battle to end slavery in the United States as one of the states’ rights, and again in the years following the civil rights movement as critics. of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. questioned his transformative legacy.

In the Republican-controlled House this year, the new leadership is openly questioning what happened on Jan. 6 and how the federal government investigates and prosecutes extremists. Outside groups are fundraising and mobilizing to help the January 6 defendants.

Last week, a Republican-led judiciary subcommittee probed the federal government’s treatment of parents who protest school board policies — sometimes violently — as unfair. Next week, the new Republican committee on the “militarization” of the federal government will examine First Amendment free speech rights on social media.

McCarthy warned that the federal government is calling parents “domestic terrorists” for showing up at school board meetings, even though such prosecutions are extremely rare.

This was a reference to a 2021 Justice Department memo from Attorney General Merrick Garland responding to National School Board Association concerns about violent protesters at school board meetings. Garland had ordered federal law enforcement to address what he called a “worrying spike” in harassment by school officials.

Probing the case, the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee released a report showing that in a federal investigation, the FBI questioned a mother for allegedly telling a local school board “we’re picking you up.” In another, the FBI investigated a father who opposed COVID mask mandates after a federal hotline informant said he “fit the profile of an insurgent” because he ” rebels against the government” and “has a lot of guns and is threatening to use them.”

“Parents should have the right to attend school board meetings and not be called terrorists,” McCarthy said.

While Greene said the attack on the Capitol was a mistake, during the prison tour on Friday she said she believed there was a “two-tier” justice system and that the Jan. 6 defendants were “treated like political prisoners” for their beliefs.

Democrats on the tour said that was categorically untrue. While the local jail has long been the subject of complaints – US Marshals have planned to move 400 inmates after a surprise 2021 inspection found parts of the facility ‘fail to meet minimum standards’ – The Jan. 6 defendants were housed in a newer wing that was not cited as problematic in the marshals’ statement.

The two Democrats who joined the tour as members of the House Oversight Committee said they had both visited detention centers before. “It’s probably as good as jail can get,” said Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, a former public defender.

Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia of California noted how Greene-led Republicans treated the Jan. 6 defendants like celebrities — shaking their hands and slapping them when lawmakers arrived at the jail.

As they left, the defendants chanted “Let’s Go Brandon!” sentence against Biden, he said in a tweet.

“The most important takeaway is that while Marjorie Taylor Greene and others want to treat these people like pseudo-celebrities, some of these people are insurgents,” Garcia told reporters. “And we can’t forget that.”

ABC News

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