Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson read en eyewitness account into the record at Tuesday’s hearing on Capitol riot security that alleges without specific evidence that it was ‘agents provocateur’ who turned ‘unsuspecting marchers into an invading mob’ during on January 6th.
Johnson, a Republican Donald Trump loyalist who probed Hunter Biden when he was a committee chairman but who also voted to count electoral votes in states like his own that went for Joe Biden, introduced the conspiracy theory at a Senate hearing Tuesday.
He spoke after former Capitol Police chief Steven Sund described his officers being overrun by a MAGA mob armed with flags, poles, and bear spray.
Johnson read from a piece by J. Michael Waller, an analyst for the Center for Security Policy who produced his own eyewitness account of the event.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) floated a conspiracy theory by reading from a witness to the Jan. 6th riot who wrote there were agents-provocateur within the crowd that triggered the riot
Johnson read from an article published in the Federalist by J. Michael Waller, an analyst for the Center for Security Policy who produced his own eyewitness account of the event.
The account concluded that a small group of armed attackers who ‘probably’ planned the event and led other rioters to take part.
It comes after Trump allies put forward theories of a ‘false flag’ operation rather than a riot by Trump supporters seeking to overturn the election result. Some pointed to the left wing antifa, despite video footage of people decked out in Trump gear and dozens of arrests of people who said they went to the Capitol in support of Trump’s claims of a stolen election.
Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who co-chaired the hearing, blasted the claim afterwards as ‘disinformation.’
‘As our hearing concludes, I want to make one thing clear: “provocateurs” did not storm the Capitol. They were not “fake Trump protestors.” The mood on January 6th was not “festive.” That is disinformation.’
Sen. Johnson read from an account by J. Michael Waller about what he saw at the Capitol Jan. 6th
Johnson read from a piece by J. Michael Waller, an analyst for the Center for Security Policy who produced his own eyewitness account of the event claiming there were ‘agents provocateur’ behind the Jan. 6 riot
Johnson read the statement after other Trump loyaists promoted narratives that left-wing forces infiltrated or caused the MAGA mob riots
The account read by Johnson describes different groups within the protests outside the Capitol
A protester holds a Trump flag inside the US Capitol Building near the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC
‘He said the mood of the crowd was positive and festive,’ said Johnson, reading from Waller’s account as he joined a crowd marching to the Capitol.
‘Of the thousands of people I passed or who passed me along Constitution Avenue, some were indignant or contemptuous of Congress, but not one appeared angry or incited to riot,’ Waller wrote in the Federalist.
He said many were ‘families with small children, many were elderly, overweight, or just plain tired or frail, traits not typically attributed to riot prone.’
‘Many wore pro police shirts or carried pro police black and blue flags,’ according to passages Johnson read.
‘A very few didn’t share the jovial, friendly, earnest demeanor of the great majority. Some obviously didn’t fit in,’ he continued.
‘He describes four different types of people,’ said Johnson: plainclothes militants, agents provocateurs, big truck protesters, and then a disciplined uniform column of attackers. ‘I think these are the people that probably planned this,’ he said.
The statement Johnson read described D.C. police as their ‘usually detached selves,’ and said he noticed ‘no police at all’ on Capitol grounds.
‘The openness seemed like a courtesy gesture from Congress,’ Waller wrote. ‘Everyone squeezed closer and closer together with mostly high spirits.’
Several times he identified himself as within earshot of flare-ups.
‘Some trouble began up in the front’ near the inaugural platform, he said, ‘but we cannot see what was happening.’
Then there was a ‘scuffle’ and people started chanting ‘USA, USA.’
He described a group of ‘plainclothes militants,’ adding they ‘fit right in with MAGA people.’
Then he said police fired tear gas into the middle of the crowd, which ‘changed the crowd’s demeanor.’
‘The pro police crowd when from disbelief to confusion to anger,’ according to the account Johnson read.
‘I’ll stop right there. The last five pages is titled provocatuers turning unsuspecting marchers into an invading mob,’ Johnson added, before asking a few questions of witnesses.
The article Johnson read from described the supposed agents-provocatuer as ‘scattered groups of men exhorting the marchers to gather closely and tightly toward the center of the outside of the Capitol building and prevent them from leaving.’
It claimed there were ‘fake Trump protesters,’ described as ‘a few young men wearing Trump or MAGA hats backwards and who did not fit in with the rest of the crowd in terms of their actions and demeanor, whom I presumed to be Antifa or other leftist agitators.’
The passages read by Johnson came as yet another person picked up by the FBI claimed to have Trump sympathies.
Thomas Webster, a former NYPD officer, surrender to agents in New York Monday. Prosecutors say Webster, a former Marine, attacked a Capitol Police officer with a pole.
His defense lawyer said he wasn’t part of any group and that he went at the behest of the former president of the United States.
The Souther Policy Law Center describes the center as having ‘gone from a respected hawkish think tank focused on foreign affairs to a conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement in the United States.’
Johnson also said he found videos of incident ‘sickening’ and blasted the ‘reprehensible racial slurs’ rioters can be heard hurling at police.