Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) promoted a conspiracy theory during Tuesday’s hearing on the Jan. 6 insurrection that it was “fake Trump protesters” and “provocateurs” who stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Johnson read excerpts from an account written by J. Michael Waller, who he noted is a senior analyst for strategy at the Center for Security Policy — a rightwing think tank the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as “a conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement in the United States.”
Johnson read from Waller’s piece titled “I Saw Provocateurs At The Capitol Riot On Jan. 6,” published in The Federalist on Jan. 14.
At about 11:30, I walked from near Union Station to the Senate side of Capitol Hill on 2nd and D Streets NW and noticed a small number of Capitol Police dressed in full riot gear, with shin guards and shoulder guards.
Then [I walked]…up Pennsylvania Avenue toward an empty Freedom Park.
The mood of the crowd was positive and festive.
Of the thousands of people I passed or who passed me along Constitution Avenue, some were indignant and contemptuous of Congress, but not one appeared angry or incited to riot. Many of the marchers were families with small children; many were elderly, overweight, or just plain tired or frail—traits not typically attributed to the riot-prone.
Many wore pro-police shirts or carried pro-police “Back the Blue” flags.
Although the crowd represented a broad cross-section of Americans, mostly working-class by their appearance and manner of speech, some people stood out. A very few didn’t share the jovial, friendly, earnest demeanor of the great majority. Some obviously didn’t fit in.
Johnson then noted that Waller described four types of people who “didn’t fit in”: Plainclothes militants, agents-provocateurs, fake Trump protesters, and a disciplined, uniformed column of attackers.
“I think these are the people that probably planned this,” Johnsons said.
He continued quoting Waller’s account:
The DC Metropolitan police were their usual professionally detached selves, standing on curbs or at street crossings and exchanging an occasional greeting from marchers, but treating the event as routine and at the lowest threat level.
When we crossed First Street NW to enter the Capitol grounds where the Capitol Police had jurisdiction, I noticed no police at all. Several marchers expressed surprise.
The openness seemed like a courtesy gesture from Congress, which controls security.
Watch more (Johnson begins at -19:40)