To Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), the events of Jan 6. may all fit into a grand, left-wing conspiracy.
At a Tuesday hearing with officials charged with defending the Capitol on Jan. 6, Johnson broke with other senators by declining to use the majority of his time to ask questions. Instead, he read from an article which suggested that a fifth column of Antifa provocateurs staged the insurrection.
Johnson read out excerpts of the piece which claimed that “agents provocateurs, fake Trump supporters” were behind the attack.
“These apparent agents-provocateurs placed hundreds of unsuspecting supporters of the president in physical danger,” the article reads at one point.
Johnson entered the piece into the record of a hearing devoted to gathering testimony from officials responsible for guarding the Capitol on Jan. 6, examining the security failures that led to that day and how officials responded as the attack unfolded.
The Wisconsin Republican added that he had so many questions for the officials before him that he would contact them in writing outside of the hearing. Instead, Johnson said, he would read excerpts from a column purporting to be an eyewitness account of Jan. 6 that he encouraged the other senators to read.
The column was written by J. Michael Waller, an analyst at the Center for Security Policy, a Frank Gaffney-founded organization that has spent years spreading hateful conspiracy theories about Muslims while encouraging military intervention abroad.
Waller wrote that he saw “four separate cells or units” on Jan. 6 which aroused his suspicion: “plainclothes militants,” fake Trump supporters, agents provocateurs, and a “disciplined, uniform column of attackers.”
Johnson read from Waller’s description of these groups, which include “scattered groups of men exhorting the marchers to gather closely and tightly toward the center of the outside of the Capitol building and prevent them from leaving” and “a few young men wearing Trump or MAGA hats backwards and who did not fit in with the rest of the crowd in terms of their actions and demeanor, whom I presumed to be Antifa or other leftist agitators.”
The column also argued that the vast majority of the crowd on Jan. 6 supported the police. Ergo, they could not have attacked the Capitol police.
“Pro-Police People Felt Like They Were Being Attacked,” reads one subhed in the article, which goes on to describe the reaction of the pro-Trump crowd to tear gas.
After he finished reading from the column, Johnson told Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund that “the vast majority of Trump supporters are pro law enforcement.”
Sund, visibly baffled, replied that “people were showing up saying, hey, we’re police, let us through, and still wanted to violate the law to get inside the building.”
Waller did not immediately return a request for comment.