Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, on Wednesday called out Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) for falsely suggesting during a hearing the day before that a grand, left-wing conspiracy was behind the deadly Capitol insurrection.
During an interview on CBS Wednesday morning, Portman was asked about Johnson raising an unfounded conspiracy theory suggesting that fake Trump supporters were behind the Capitol insurrection.
Portman, who will not seek re-election next year, took aim at Johnson for giving a bullhorn to false information.
“You know, the person who was quoted said things that are entirely counter to what I know to be true from law enforcement — by the way, both in classified and unclassified settings — so I don’t think that’s helpful,” Portman said. “I mean, I think the reality is that we had intelligence as to what was going to happen.”
Portman added that intelligence indicated that extremist groups such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys were known to likely be involved.
“And, you know, that was not just evident in terms of the intelligence, but also when you look at the arrests that were actually made,” Portman said. “You’ll recall, there have been about 200 arrests. We know who these individuals are. So we’ve got to be sure that we’re sticking to the facts.”
Portman, who voted to acquit Trump in charges that the former president incited the insurrection, previously remarked that there’s the possibility that Trump could face criminal charges. The Ohio senator was pressed on Trump’s upcoming appearance at CPAC on Sunday and whether Portman wants the former president to be seen as the face of the Republican Party.
Portman believes that Trump will continue to have a large influence on the GOP because of the former president’s high approval among Republicans.
After saying that the GOP needs to focus on the policies and ideals that helped elect more Republicans to Congress, Portman argued the Republican Party “shouldn’t be about one individual.”
“So when you stick to the policies and the ideals of the party — including some of the issues regarding the economy, which was going quite well prior to COVID-19 — and kind of get back to the basics, I think that’s where we ought to be as a party,” Portman said. “It shouldn’t be about personality, it shouldn’t be about one individual. It should be about who we stand for as a party.”
Watch Portman’s remarks below:
Congress' first hearing on the Capitol riot included conflicting testimony and finger-pointing.@SenRobPortman, ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, joins us to discuss more on the security and intelligence failures surrounding the Jan. 6 attack. pic.twitter.com/LhqlscMXvq
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 24, 2021