This article was shared by a TPM member.
Prime Only Members-Only Article

Congressional Tweets Show ‘Antifa’ Capitol Attack Lie Forming In Real Time

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) objects to the certification of votes from Nevada in the House Chamber during a reconvening of a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Mem... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) objects to the certification of votes from Nevada in the House Chamber during a reconvening of a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Members of Congress returned to the House Chamber after being evacuated when protesters stormed the Capitol and disrupted a joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
|
March 5, 2021 5:06 p.m.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has published an enormous report on the social media profiles of members of Congress who voted to object to the 2020 election.

The 1,900 pages of tweets — and that’s really all it is — shows the effort to steal a second Trump term as it developed from early November through the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and beyond.

One of the interesting things you can do with 1,900 pages of tweets is track the formation and dissemination of lies, and there’s an interesting case study in the lie about “antifa” attacking the Capitol.

You may have heard this by now — that “antifa” and undercover left-wingers were provocateurs that day, the actors responsible for the escalation of violence and the breach of the Capitol. (FBI Director Christopher Wray testified recently that he’d seen no evidence to support this.)

The tweets show an interesting phenomena — the lie begins to form in the middle of the attack. Check out Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) transition seamlessly from live-tweeting the hearing to sowing seeds of the antifa story.

That night, Brooks quoted an unnamed “retired Huntsville police officer” who’d been at the Capitol who claimed individuals had asked for his support attacking the police. “States he was ANTIFA,” Brooks wrote of one purported provocateur.

Of course, the following morning, we get a lesson in responsibility from the congressman. “Please,” he tweeted, “don’t be like #FakeNewsMedia, don’t rush to judgment on assault on Capitol.”

Does this mean Brooks will stop spouting his antifa lie? No. The tweet continues: “Evidence growing that fascist ANTIFA orchestrated Capitol attack with clever mob control tactics.”

His evidence was pathetic: An unnamed congressman warned him Monday of an antifa threat, Brooks said, and Capitol Police had informed the unnamed congressman that antifa would infiltrate the rally dressed like Trump supporters. “Again, time will reveal the truth,” the wise congressman counseled.

Brooks, like others, cited a Washington Times article that purported to support the theory, and which was later corrected and edited beyond recognition. (Today, the article is titled “CORRECTED: Facial recognition identifies extremists storming the Capitol.”)

Originally, the post claimed “A retired military officer told The Washington Times that the firm XRVision used its software to do facial recognition of protesters and matched two Philadelphia Antifa members to two men inside the Senate.”

But the retired military officer was unidentified, and eventually, XRVision itself called the article out: Its software had made no such determination. The article was based on a lie.

Around the same time Gaetz tweeted the article, a few minutes after 9 p.m., another looming presence on Lofgren’s report — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — shared the same post.

“We’ve seen what they’ve done all year long,” she wrote.

Correction: This article initially misstated the publication date of Lofgren’s report. It was originally posted on Feb. 26.

To read more member exclusives, join today and save 30% on an annual Prime membership
view all options
Latest Member Exclusives
  • |
    April 11, 2021 4:10 p.m.

    From TPM Reader DG … I too have experience as a union organizer. What XX says is right on target….

  • |
    April 10, 2021 9:56 a.m.

    From TPM Reader LV … Like the previous reader, I too was a union organizer earlier in my career. His/her…

  • |
    April 9, 2021 12:22 p.m.

    On the unionization vote in Bessemer, Alabama, a note from TPM Reader XX … I hesitate to comment before the…

Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: