Minutes after Thursday night’s Jan. 6 committee hearing, which revealed damning new evidence of Donald Trump’s actions as the insurrection unfolded and the day after, MAGA acolyte Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) appeared on Newsmax declaring how he “grieves” for the rioters who are in prison.
“Our January 6 prisoners aren’t doing so well, and having been a felony judge it grieves me to see the vendettas…we’ve got currently an attorney general that’s more vindictive than the late John Mitchell and more manipulative than J. Edgar Hoover,” the Texas Republican told host Greg Kelly. “It does not bode well for our justice system at all.”
Gohmert, who voted to reject the 2020 election results on Jan. 6, has been trying to win sympathy for those charged over Jan. 6. Last fall, he and fellow Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) tried to visit prisoners in the Washington, D.C. jail, only to be denied entry. Gohmert has also whined about the Jan. 6 committee subpoenaing Trump allies, saying on Newmax in June, “If you’re a Republican, you can’t even lie to Congress or lie to an FBI agent or they’re coming after you.”
Of the Jan. 6 rioters, Gohmert said there were some whom he “would have no problem sending to prison,” but that “most of them committed misdemeanors.” For those who committed a felony by obstructing Congress, Gohmert changed the subject by claiming Democrats have done the same thing – a common talking point made on the news lately by right-wingers.
Kelly then mentioned Ashli Babbitt, who was shot while attempting to breach the U.S. House Chamber. The shooter, Capitol police officer Lt. Michael Byrd, was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Capitol Police, the Justice Department, and the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police. Nevertheless, Kelly said he believed Babbitt was “murdered.”
“She was unarmed. She did not pose a deadly threat. I believe – and I’ve studied this issue rather extensively – there’s not a police department in the country that would say that this was a justified shooting,” Kelly insisted.
“No,” Gohmert said in agreement, adding soon after, “I don’t hear many of the media pointing out what you have.” Gohmert then recklessly cast doubt over Babbitt’s death.
“When I was in the army, what happened to Ashli Babbitt was called an ambush and we were taught how to set up ambushes,” Gohmert said, before suggesting that some suspicious activity among officers occurred before Byrd shot Babbitt.
“Once they were out of the way, then the glass gets broken [and] they helped put Ashli Babbitt’s neck right into the crosshairs of the ambush,” Gohmert said. “And she was ambushed by a Capitol police officer.”
Byrd kept his identity hidden for months, he said, due to death threats he had received.
“They talked about, you know, killing me, cutting off my head, you know, very vicious and cruel things. … There were some racist attacks as well,” Byrd said, noting that they were “disheartening because I know I was doing my job.”