Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) claimed without evidence on Thursday that U.S. Capitol Police had been briefed ahead of time about potential involvement by members of Antifa in the riots on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that left five dead, including one Capitol Police officer.
According to NBC News, FBI Assistant Director Steven D’Antuono told reporters Friday that the bureau has seen “no indication” that Antifa activists infiltrated the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol. The statement from the FBI came after Republican congressmen including Gohmert and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) repeated the allegation online and in TV interviews.
Gaetz, for his part, cited on Wednesday evening “a poorly sourced and later-retracted report to claim [A]ntifa was ‘masquerading'” as supporters of President Donald Trump in an attempt to promote violence on the Hill, NBC reported.
Gohmert makes his claim
The next day, Gohmert said he’d spoken with Capitol Police, who allegedly told him they were expecting as much.
“I’ve got to say, two nights ago — the night before last, rather — I talk to Capitol Police a lot, they’ve got a lot of good people…and they told me, the night before last, that they had been briefed that Antifa, they were putting out the word [that] their folks were to come, to wear red, wear Trump stuff, wear [a] Trump hat, [a] MAGA hat, and try to blend in to confuse them as to who was whom,” Gohmert told One America News Network (OAN) on Thursday.
“And they were obviously well-trained,” the congressman added.
Gohmert also warned Thursday against “rushing to judgment to condemn Trump.”
“Every mainstream, including Fox News…they’re all rushing to judgment to condemn Trump. It may turn out that the real bad guys in all of this yesterday — it wasn’t conservatives, it wasn’t Trump supporters, it may turn out that they were all leftists that support Democrats’ bottom line,” Gohmert claimed. “So let’s reserve judgment, let’s get all the information in.”
The investigation continues
The unrest Wednesday came as members of Congress were meeting in a joint session to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the Electoral College. After the Capitol grounds were cleared late in the evening, Congress reconvened to finish the job, cementing a 306–232 win for the former vice president, over the objections of some Republicans.
In the days since, Democrats and even some in the GOP have called for those who they feel incited the Wednesday violence, including Rep. Gohmert and fellow Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, to face retribution — or even be forced to resign — and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has promised to move forward with an attempt to impeach President Trump for his own alleged role, as NBC has reported separately.
Meanwhile, investigations remain underway as authorities seek to identify and indict the individuals who wreaked havoc at the Capitol building. So far, more than 80 arrests have been made, according to the Los Angeles Times.