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Mo Brooks On Jan. 6 Capitol Riot: Speeches Didn’t Incite, At Least It Wasn’t Al-Qaeda

Every day Republicans try out a new argument to see if they can convince the American public that what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was anything but an insurrectionist riot led by right-wing radical groups. Today, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) used an interview on C-SPAN to offer up a new, truly astonishing formulation of the GOP whitewash.

(Photo by Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Brooks, of course, was one of the first of the featured speakers at Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse that January morning. Shouting into the microphone, he declared to the thousands of Trump-gear clad supporters in attendance, “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.” Not long after, many of those same people stormed the Capitol and assaulted law enforcement officers trying to protect the building – basically “kicking ass” as Brooks had encouraged.

But on C-SPAN Brooks downplayed the role his firebrand speech and those of others like Rudy Giuliani – who urged “trial by combat” – might have had in whipping the crowd into a violent frenzy. “It looks like it was planned well in advance,” he said of the riot. “It’s pretty clear that the Ellipse speeches, quite frankly, had nothing to do with the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6th in as much as the kind of planning that was initiated by this attack on the Capitol began many days and even weeks before the Ellipse speeches.”

The C-SPAN host asked Brooks if he accepted FBI Director Christopher Wray’s testimony in a Senate hearing the day before that while supremacist, domestic terrorist groups were responsible for the deadly riot. The Alabama congressman refused to commit, although he did allow that white supremacy “should be frowned upon.”

(Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“Let’s not rush to judgment,” Brooks said. “To date, it looks like the evidence is pretty strong that there were militant elements from different groups like Proud Boys, perhaps Boogaloo Boys, perhaps Oath Keepers — go down your list — that used the Trump rally as a means, a subterfuge for attacking the United States Capitol.”

Brooks also downplayed the threat from the attackers, even though they killed Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and the brutality of the assault caused two other officers to take their own life.

“But if you had 20 or 30 al-Qaeda suicidal types in there, it could have been a horrible scene,” he added.



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