A news conference by a group of House GOP firebrands protesting the jailing of “political prisoners” after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was abruptly ended Tuesday after noisy counter-demonstrators crowded around them.
GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Paul Gosar of Arizona had set up a podium outside the Department of Justice to protest the treatment of individuals arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 attack.
“We got to make sure … that they’re treated fairly when they get to jail,” Gohmert, a former judge, said.
“They’ve not been shown the evidence against them. They’re a lot of problems here,” Gohmert said, asking: “Do we have political prisoners here or not.”
“I, too, am happy to join my Republican colleagues and demand the answers to the very troubling reports that the Biden administration and Justice Department are mistreating non-violent prisoners in connection with Jan. 6,” Gosar said.
He claimed there are “disturbing reports” of some prisoners being abused and held in solitary confinement for as many 23 hours a day.
“These are not unruly or dangerous, violent criminals, these are political prisoners who are now being persecuted during the pain of unjust suffering,” he added.
But as the lawmakers got to the podium and were repeatedly interrupted, the counter-protesters got too close to the speakers.
“To the guy that’s blowing the whistle: we are not deterred,” Greene said, C-SPAN video of the news conference showed.
“And so for anyone that's here, being an activist and yelling today, here's the statement that I need everyone to understand: we will not back down, we will not stop asking questions, we are looking for the truth. And we believe the truth can be found by reaching out and answering and asking the right questions to the right people.”
Moments later, an unidentified man who appeared to be holding back the protesters as they inched closer to the lawmakers, said the event had to end.
“The left is interrupting the press conference, we need to end it,” the man announced, the video showed.
As the Republicans left the microphones at the DOJ, the protesters followed them down the street.
The event came after Greene, Gaetz, and Gohmert sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Saturday requesting information about the status of Jan. 6 defendants and related investigations. The lawmakers said Garland had not responded to their request.
“We're here today demanding answers to serious questions that the Department of Justice has ignored over these past several months despite repeated inquiries from my colleagues and other members of Congress regarding the treatment of the Jan. 6 defendants,” Rep. Bob Good, R-Va, said.
“In this country, there should be no question about the legal treatment of an American prior to their opportunity to answer the charges brought against them before a judge or a jury of their peers. Due process must be afforded to all Americans, period,” he added.
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