Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) is defending raising claims that “provocateurs” and “fake Trump protesters” planned the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
“I think it’s important, if we’re going to really get the whole truth, to understand exactly what happened, we need to look at different vantage points, different perspectives,” Johnson said.
He argued the author of the piece, J Michael Waller, looked like “he had a pretty good background.”
“So he seemed to be a knowledgeable observer,” Johnson said. He called Waller’s piece “kind of an unblemished accounting.”
Johnson continued, “I’m not saying you accept everything. You don’t necessarily accept his conclusions. I think you kind of have to take at face value what he said he saw.”
The lawmaker was asked how he could give “an audience” to Waller’s claims there were either “provocateurs” or “fake Trump supporters” in the crowd when there is no evidence that it is true.
“I’m not questioning his veracity. I believe he’s probably telling the truth. That’s what he saw. I’m not agreeing with any conclusions,” Johnson explained.
He added, “I’m not sure he’s really making too many conclusions, other than he concluded he saw four individual types of groups that stood out from the crowd.”
Johnson acknowledged it could be “a flawed part of the evidence.” He asked, “But why exclude it?”
“It might be a flawed part of the evidence, but why exclude it? Just because it doesn’t necessarily tie into whatever narrative somebody else wants to tell about the day? I’m not interested in the narratives, I’m interested in the truth.”
The Times pressed Johnson on whether he checked Waller’s story out to make sure it was true.
He replied, “What do you mean, checked out? It’s his eyewitness account. What else is there to check out about it?”
Johnson continued, “I read what his credentials were, where he was teaching, at Fort Bragg. I mean, you can see in the article what his credentials are. He seemed to be pretty solid.”
He claimed people are “quick” to label something a conspiracy theory or disinformation.
During the hearing, Johnson noted, “[Waller] describes four different types of people – plainclothes militants, agents provocateurs, fake Trump protesters, and then disciplined uniform column of attackers.”
He suggested, “These are the people that probably planned” the insurrection.