Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Wednesday railed against a bill for a bipartisan commission intended to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, suggesting he was at work on his own investigation into the events which he claimed had involved peaceful protests and a few “agitators.”
“I’m doing my own investigation to really accurately recreate what happened on January 6th but Nancy Pelosi’s commission is not going to dig into this in any bipartisan fashion,” Johnson said during a Fox News interview. “She gets to pick all of the staff members. This is a joke and should be voted down.”
Ron Johnson claims it wasn’t an insurrection and goes on to say by and large it was a peaceful protest pic.twitter.com/E9TVzhNPTS
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 20, 2021
Johnson told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that in the aftermath of the riot he had “talked to people that were there,” who seemed to agree that the attack, which left five people dead, had been peaceful.
“By and large it was peaceful protests except for there were a number of people, basically agitators that whipped the crowd and breached the Capitol, and that’s really the truth of what’s happening here,” Johnson said. He added: “This is all about a narrative that the left wants to continue to push and Republicans should not cooperate with them at all.”
The comments come after 35 House Republicans on Wednesday voted to defy efforts by GOP leaders to cancel a commission intended to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Rep. John Katko (R-NY) who led negotiations for the legislation, said the assertion that the investigators would be selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — who has been pressing for the bipartisan action — were false.
“This is about facts. It’s not partisan politics,” Katko said on the House floor Wednesday. “The commission creates the rules as a team. They then hire as a team,” he added.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came out against the commission bill on Wednesday suggesting he believed the investigation would be “unbalanced.” Beneath that appears to be a concern about the commission encroaching into midterms.
Johnson has been widely criticized in the past for advancing conspiracy theories to obscure the reality of the Capitol riot, even suggesting that professional provocateurs had played a part in making the violent breach appear more dangerous than it was.
In March he continued to downplay the attack, suggesting he “wasn’t concerned” when the pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol — and that perhaps he would have felt much more at risk had the rioters been aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement.
“The fact of the matter is even calling it insurrection — it wasn’t,” Johnson insisted again on Wednesday. “I condemned the breach, I condemn the violence, but to say there were thousands of armed insurrectionists breaching the Capitol intent on overthrowing the government is just simply a false narrative.”