A congressional oversight hearing on the Jan. 6th riot once again set tempers flaring, with Donald Trump loyalist Rep. Paul Gosar saying Capitol Police ‘executed’ Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt after she stormed the Capitol.
The same hearing featured Trump’s acting defense secretary during the riot telling told Congress he stood by his decisions on the day – angering representatives by refusing to repeat his claim that the former president incited the riot.
The result was an unseemly row during a House Oversight Committee hearing between Christopher Miller and Democratic Representative Stephen Lynch, accusing each other of being ridiculous.
Gosar, an Arizona Republican, defended Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who breached the Capitol and was shot by a Capitol Police officer just outside the House Speaker’s Lobby as a MAGA mob sought to enter the House chamber.
Arizona GOP Rep. Paul Gosar said Capitol Police ‘executed’ Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt on Jan. 6th
Gosar said during questioning of acting AG Jeffrey Rosen that Babbit was ‘executed.’
Babbitt sought to climb through a broken window while lawmakers were trapped inside the House chamber. Federal prosecutors said there was ‘insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution’ of the Capitol Police officer who shot her.
Gosar sought to ascertain the name of the officer, and called Babbitt ‘a young lady, a veteran, wrapped in an American flag that was killed in the U.S. Capitol.’
‘Was she armed?’ Gosar asked Rosen. ‘No she wasn’t,’ Gosar responded. ‘She was wrapped in a U.S. flag.’
Gosar said ‘outright propaganda and lies are being used to unleash the national security state against law-abiding U.S. citizens, especially Trump voters.’ He said the FBI is ‘fishing through homes of veterans and citizens with no criminal records.’
Another House Republican, Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, said there was no ‘insurrection’ at the Capitol.
‘It was not an insurrection and we cannot call it that and be truthful,’ he said at the hearing – even as he described barricading a door inside the House chamber while a mob trashed parts of the Capitol.
‘As one of the members who stayed in the Capitol and on the House floor 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.
‘This is the truth. There was an undisciplined mob. There were some rioters and some who committed acts of vandalism but let me be clear there was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection in my opinion is a bold-faced lie,’ he added.
It came during the second of this week’s congressional hearings into failings that allowed an angry mob to breach the Capitol building.
And it followed a series of probing questions as Lynch asked Miller if he stood by an earlier interview in which he blamed Trump for triggering the riot.
US Representative Byron Donalds, Republican of Florida, listens as former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller testifies virtually during the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing
‘I think I’d like to modify my original assessment,’ said Miller.
‘Why am I not surprised,’ said Lynch.
Miller added that subsequent evidence showed there were organized, armed elements in the crowd that were intent on assaulting the Capitol.
Lynch then read a comment made by Miller in an interview with Vice.
‘Would anybody have marched on the Capitol and tried to overrun the Capitol without the president’s speech,’ he said. ‘I think it is pretty much definitive that would not have happened.’
Miller responded by saying it was not the ‘unitary factor’ prompting Lynch asked whether he still stood by something he said in testimony earlier, when he said: ‘I personally believe his comments encouraged the protesters that day.’
Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt lies on the ground after being shot during a protest at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021
Ashli Babbitt was an Air Force vet, 35, who was shot dead by cops while storming the Capitol. Video shows her climbing through a broken window seconds before she was killed
An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021.
Police were overwhelmed by protesters who invaded the US Capitol on January 6. The Capitol’s three most senior security officials resigned in the aftermath and a series of intelligence failing have since been exposed by Bolton
Capitol Police have not released the name of the officer who shot Babbitt
Ashli Babbitt, a supporter of former U.S. President Donald Trump, walks through the U.S. Capitol towards the House Chamber shortly before being shot and killed on January 6 in a still photo from U.S. Capitol Security footage that was introduced as evidence by House impeachment managers during the impeachment trial of former President Trump on charges of inciting the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol
When Miller said it was a fair comment accused him of rapidly changing his mind.
‘That was this morning,’ he said. ‘This is a very recent reversal of your testimony.
‘Absolutely not that’s ridiculous,’ said Miller.
‘You’re ridiculous,’ responded Lynch.
In a defensive performance, Miller said he stood by decisions he made on the day and accusations that it took too long for troops to arrive were unwarranted.
‘Criticism of the military response is unfounded and reflects inexperience with or a lack of understanding of military operations, or worse is simply the result of politics,’ he said.
He added that he feared deploying troops ahead of protests could fan growing fears of a military coup. And he insisted he acted as fast as possible.
‘This isn’t a video game where you can move forces with the flick of a thumb,’ he said.
Security agencies have all faced criticism for allowing protesters to mass around the U.S. Capitol before storming the building itself.
The Capitol police have been under fire for being outnumbered and outmatched.
The FBI has been accused of intelligence failures that meant officers did not understand the threat they faced.
And the Department of Defense has been asked why it took hours for personnel to come to the rescue of civilian police officers.
Miller appeared in a video call.
Also giving testimony for the first time was former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Robert Contee, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department.
The hearing was the second of three this week probing the security failures.
On Monday, U.S. Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton said the force needed a dedicated counter-surveillance unit to monitor crowd.
Officers deployed to watch the growing mob on Jan. 6 were reassigned to investigate two pipe bombs discovered in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
‘So in other words, if those pipe bombs were intended to be a diversion, frankly speaking it worked,’ he said.
During another tense moment, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois) tore into Miller over the military response.
‘You weren’t there. You were AWOL, Mr. Secretary. You were AWOL,’ as the two men spoke over each other.
‘That’s completely inaccurate,’ Miller shot back.
‘As you said before, you have responsibility for everything. Something goes wrong, quote unquote, “I own it completely, 110 per cent.”Sir you partially own this mayhem.’
The flare-ups over the