Despite earning his law degree from the University of Alabama in 1978, Republican Rep. Mo Brooks appears to be mystified about the meaning of the word “evidence.”
Over the last 24-hours, social media has been flooded with a plethora of videos, photos, and testimonials showing that President Donald Trump’s supporters were responsible for overrunning police and storming the U.S. Capitol while Congress was formally counting the certified Electoral College votes. Attendees of the president’s Wednesday morning rally marched from the White House to the Capitol following a lie-riddled speech in which Trump directed them to march, saying they needed to “give our Republicans the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
But Brooks, a Trump acolyte, implored his Twitter followers to disregard their eyes and ears, saying “all may not be (and likely is not) what appears [sic].”
“Evidence growing that fascist ANTIFA orchestrated Capitol attack with clever mob control tactics. Evidence follows,” he wrote.
What followed, assuming the congressman was being entirely truthful, was nothing more than Brooks amplifying the unverified claims of an anonymous lawmaker, which allegedly originated from an anonymous police officer and promised more evidence without actually delivering any. It’s hearsay atop hearsay atop hearsay.
“1. A Congressman warned me on MONDAY of a growing ANTIFA threat & advised that I sleep in my office rather than leaving Capitol complex & sleeping in my condo. I heeded that advice & have slept on office floor for 4 straight nights,” Brooks wrote.
That same Congressman later told Brooks that “he was warned on TUESDAY by Capitol Police officer that intelligence suggested fascist ANTIFA was going to try to infiltrate the Trump rally by dressing like Trump supporters.”
He then added that “Capitol Police advised TUESDAY that it best not to leave Capitol complex,” before concluding that “Evidence, much public” was surfacing which showed that “many Capitol assaulters were fascist ANTIFAs, not Trump supporters.” Again, Brooks said fascist antifascists were to blame.
Brooks didn’t provide any of the “public” evidence he mentioned. The congressman and his communications director did not respond to emails asking him what evidence Brooks relied on in making the statements, or why he seemed to ignore the fact that multiple Trump supporters had already been identified as being part of the Capitol mob.
For example, D.C. Police were offering a $1,000 reward for information concerning 32-year-old “Qanon Shaman” Jake Angeli. The Arizona Republic described the local celebrity as follows: “Among the supporters of President Donald Trump who mobbed their way into the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, one—unmistakable in his fur, horned hat and painted face—was Jake Angeli, a QAnon supporter who has been a fixture at Arizona right-wing political rallies over the past year.”
Derrick Evans, a representative in the West Virginia House who is an unapologetic Trump loyalist and conspiracy theorist, livestreamed himself taking part in the insurrection.
Another pro-Trump rioter, Richard Barnett, filmed himself in Nancy Pelosi’s office and later confirmed that he stole a piece of her mail, leaving a quarter on her desk as payment for some reason.
He later said he was “pushed” into her office.
Before everything fell apart, Brooks spoke at the Trump rally and told his audience that Jan. 6 was a day of reckoning, where America would be saved or lost.
“Today, Republican Senators and congressman will either vote to turn America into a Godless, amoral, dictatorial, oppressed and socialist nation on the decline, or they will join us and fight against voter fraud and election theft, and vote for keeping America great,” he said.
Brooks even said it was time to start “taking down names and kicking ass.”
Not long after that, a Trump supporter was shot and killed by Capitol Police inside the Capitol Building.
CBS News reporter Christina Ruffini, who was at the Capitol Wednesday, pushed back on Brooks.
“We’ve covered protestors all summer. All groups. I talked to these people,” she wrote. “They were Trump supporters. They bragged that they broke windows and got inside. They made no secret of who they were. They threatened me. They threatened my colleagues. They threatened democracy. Enough.”
Others, such as Georgia State law professor Anthony Michael Kreis called for Brooks to be expelled from the House.
And Brooks wasn’t alone among GOP lawmakers in blaming “antifa” for pro-Trump mob violence. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) did so both in Congress and on Twitter, even sharing a false Washington Times story that claimed a facial recognition company identified rioters as antifa. The Washington Times has story has since been taken down.
Gaetz responded by saying “If it isn’t true, the point still stands that our nation has endured both left and right wing violence & I condemn it all.”
“Specifically, I condemned the attacks on the Capitol and on Speaker Pelosi’s home,” he said.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham, duped by fake news, later shared a BuzzFeed story debunking the Washington Times story without further comment.
[image via YouTube screengrab]
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