7 whoppers peddled by House Democrats' Jan. 6 committee
From debunked incitement claim to refuted hearsay allegation about a Trump lunge for wheel of presidential vehicle, panel has provided high-visibility forum for fictions and fallacies.
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)
House Democrats' Jan. 6 committee has showcased numerous false allegations over the course of its hearings and investigations that have since been debunked and, in some cases, withdrawn.
The committee, which is made up of Democrats and two anti-Trump Republicans handpicked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has promoted inaccuracies and falsehoods regarding people and events in weaving its narrative about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, even refusing to back down from some of its allegations despite contradictory evidence. Below are seven whoppers that the committee has peddled to the American public:
- Trump incited the riot: The second impeachment of former President Trump was based on Democrats' claim that Trump incited the Capitol riot with his speech at the Jan. 6 "Stop the Steal" rally at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. The Democrats are still promoting this claim in the Jan. 6 committee, despite abundant evidence to the contrary. The intelligence community learned more than two weeks prior to the riot that there would potentially be violence on Jan. 6. Trump didn't meet the legal threshold for incitement, and, according to the timeline of events, the Capitol was breached before Trump's speech ended.
- The deployment of the National Guard on Jan. 6 was delayed: Both the Defense Department inspector general and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said that the National Guard wasn't delayed in its deployment. The DOD had offered to make the National Guard available four days before the riot, but was rebuffed by then-Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund. Sund later reversed his position, but his belated request for Guard troops was denied by Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger and House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving. Trump, however, signed an order on Jan. 4 to deploy 20,000 Guardsmen if requested by Congress.
- Ex-NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik was in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5th for meeting to discuss overturning November 2020 election results: In the transmittal letter with the subpoena served to Kerik by the committee, it provided three citations with its allegation that Kerik was in the nation's capital on Jan. 5. However, none of those citations claimed that Kerik attended such a meeting. According to Kerik's phone and tollbooth records, he was in New York City for a family emergency that day. The committee later admitted that it had made "an error."
- Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) asked Trump for a presidential pardon regarding Jan. 6th: The vice chair of the Jan. 6 panel, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), claimed that Perry "contacted the White House in the weeks after January 6th to seek a Presidential Pardon." Both Perry and Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington disputed the claim. Perry said that he "was in the Capitol doing my legislative duties on January 6" and that "the notion that I ever sought a presidential pardon for myself, or other members of Congress, is an absolute shameless and soulless lie." Harrington said that she talked with multiple people regarding Cheney's claim about Perry, and they all said that it wasn't accurate.
- Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) led a reconnaissance mission inside the Capitol on Jan. 5th: The Capitol Police refuted this allegation, citing an exhaustive review of security footage that turned up "no evidence" that Rep. Loudermilk entered the U.S. Capitol with constituents on Jan. 5, 2021." The congressman was with the tour only in the Rayburn House Office Building across the street from the Capitol, and the constituents didn't enter the Capitol building. Despite vindication by the police and the committee releasing the security footage afterwards, Democrats still claimed Loudermilk entered the Capitol with the tour.
- Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) was involved in a conspiracy to force alternate electors on Vice President Mike Pence: Johnson never handed slates of alternate electors to Pence as alleged. Rather, Johnson's staff received an urgent request regarding alternate slates of electors for Michigan and Wisconsin, asked Pence's staff about it, and stood down after the vice president's aide said they already knew about it and the information was supposed to have arrived in the mail.
- Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of a presidential vehicle to divert it to the Capitol on Jan. 6th: Cassidy Hutchinson, a former junior aide to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, told the Jan. 6th committee that she heard the account from White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Tony Ornato. Hutchinson also testified that Trump lunged for Secret Service agent Robert Engel after trying to grab the steering wheel, and that Engel was allegedly in the room when Ornato conveyed the account. However, Secret Service said that Trump didn't lunge for the steering wheel or Engel. Ornato, Engel, and the presidential vehicle driver also said they would testify under oath to dispute Hutchinson's testimony.