sen. Ron Johnson tells voters the FBI was aware of the January 6 riots but did nothing

sen. Ron Johnson tells voters the FBI was aware of the Jan. 6 riots but did nothing, says protesters were ‘generally’ peaceful, and claims congressional leaders on both sides are ‘to blame’

  • sen. Ron Johnson spoke to voters and told them things he wouldn’t say in public
  • He questioned how the FBI could have infiltrated Michigan’s right-wing militia ‘but they don’t know what happened on January 6’
  • ‘I’d say there’s a lot more to the story’
  • He has touted numerous conspiracy theories in the past
  • Also called the select committee of January 6 a ‘total sham’
  • “Are they going to talk about congressional leadership guilt?”

Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson told a group of voters that he believes the FBI had advanced knowledge of the Jan. 6 riots, but failed to act — even when he tore apart a select committee that deemed the events a “total sham.”

During his comments, he repeatedly downplayed the actions of the mob that took part in the Capitol riots, saying that there were “a few hundred really bad actors” among the thousands he defended.

“In general, those people were peaceful protesters,” Johnson said, days after four police officers testified about fighting members of the crowd outside the Capitol. He said most “wouldn’t even consider breaking the law.”

Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson said after an event in Milwaukee that he didn’t believe the FBI somehow “didn’t know about squatting” about Jan. 6, despite infiltrating militia groups — and also accused congressional leaders while downplaying the role of protesters

In comments captured after the completion of an event he held in Milwaukee, Johnson spoke to a small group of attendees. He went after the FBI for his part.

“I’m not saying this in public, but are you paying attention to what’s happening in Michigan?” said Johnson. “So you think the FBI has completely infiltrated the militia in Michigan, but they don’t know what happened on January 6 or what happened to these groups? I’d say there’s a lot more to the story,” he said, according to the video published by the Washington Post.

There is no evidence that the FBI collected information from Michigan about the riots and then sat on them. FBI Director Chris Wray has testified about information collected by an FBI field office in Roanoke and passed on to officials in Washington who warn of online threats of violence. It was provided on January 5, the day before the riots.

Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson made the comments after an event in his home state.  He also said he would not encourage people to get vaccinated

Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson made the comments after an event in his home state. He also said he would not encourage people to get vaccinated

“In general, those people were peaceful protesters,” said Johnson, who condemned people who engaged in violence

FBI Director Chris Wray told Congress that an FBI field office in Virginia picked up online chats about Jan. 6 that it sent to Washington the day before the riots

FBI Director Chris Wray told Congress that an FBI field office in Virginia picked up online chats about Jan. 6 that it sent to Washington the day before the riots

Johnson repeatedly went after the select House committee investigating the Capitol riot, naming GOP representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, both put on the panel by house speaker Nancy Pelosi. He called it a “sham.”

He accused Cheney and Kinzinger of trying to paint protesters with the same “broad brush” as “domestic terrorists.” He said he “immediately” condemned those who committed violence.

“Are they going to talk about congressional leadership guilt, on both sides?” said Johnson. “No. . . . They won’t even get over it.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-majority leader Senator Mitch McConnell were at the top of the Congressional leadership at the time, although the U.S. Capitol Police Department is overseen by a Capitol Police Board.

According to the Post, the video was provided by Republican Hospice employee Bridget Kurt, a Wisconsin resident who was staying at the hotel where Johnson’s event took place. She said she wanted Johnson to encourage people to get vaccines, but he declined.

‘I’m not going to do that. I don’t encourage or discourage,” Johnson told her.

Four days before the riots, Johnson was among a group of senators who said they would object to voting in “disputed states” amid Donald Trump’s bid to nullify the election.

But after the riots happened, he chose to vote and count the state-certified electoral votes. He said in a statement dated Jan. 7, “What follows is the speech I was due to give on the Senate floor explaining my concerns about the Arizona election. Unfortunately, lawless protesters entered the Capitol and by consensus we decided to expedite the proceedings.”

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