Blaze Media releases never-before-seen video of Steve Baker in US Capitol on Jan. 6; Baker, others blast charges against him

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In the wake of the arrest Friday of Blaze News investigative journalist Steve Baker in connection with his reporting on Jan. 6, 2021, Blaze Media on Wednesday released never-before-seen video showing Baker's movements in and around the U.S. Capitol that day, which appears to stand in stark contrast to the narrative the federal government is floating about him.

The 47-minute video includes Baker's cellphone camera documentation of what went on inside the Capitol building alongside newly released footage from the Capitol's CCTV cameras that BlazeTV obtained primarily through the efforts of Republican U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia. Loudermilk and Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson (La.) have made providing access to Jan. 6 videos a priority.

Here's the unfiltered video showing Baker on Jan. 6 just before he entered the Capitol, his movements inside the building, and after he left it. Content warning: Language:

Steve Baker Inside the Capitol on January 6

With this new video as a backdrop, Baker and others are blasting his federal misdemeanor charges stemming from his independent journalistic activities on Jan. 6, before he joined Blaze News, as well as the related "statement of facts" from the FBI.

The four nonviolent charges against Baker are: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.

Image source: Blaze News

Baker told Blaze News in blistering fashion Tuesday night that the federal government needs "to establish a narrative needed to justify the charges," and in the end that essentially amounts to "damn freedom of speech, thought, opinion, and expression."

Blaze Media editor in chief Matthew Peterson — on the heels of the release of the video of Baker in and around the Capitol — asked in a Wednesday op-ed, "Is journalism still legal in America?"

"He is most certainly guilty of committing journalism, an act that until last week was protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution," Peterson wrote. "In short, Steve Baker did not riot. He reported. He exercised his First Amendment rights."

What's more, the criminal complaint against Baker and statement of facts are dated Feb. 21. Strangely, both documents were withheld from Baker and his legal team until after he turned himself in to the FBI in Dallas on Friday. Why? Apparently because the powers that be were concerned Baker would reveal the charges against him on social media.

What does the FBI's 'statement of facts' say?

Among the main points found in the FBI's 13-page statement of facts is a section highlighting Baker's commentary in a post-Jan. 6 video in which he notes being inside then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.

Was he violent or destructive? As usual, no. Instead the FBI calls out Baker's speech as he recollects the moment: "The only thing I regret is that I didn't like steal their computers because God knows what I could've found on their computers if I'd done that. But by the time I got into Pelosi's office, unfortunately there was some damage done."

Believe it or not, the FBI adds that Baker "expressed approval of the vandalization he claimed to have witnessed in Pelosi’s office" and quotes him as saying, "They got Pelosi's office, and you know, it couldn't happen to a better deserving bitch."

The FBI also says Baker recorded himself saying, “Look out your windows, bitches, look what’s coming" as he approached the Capitol just after 1 p.m. Again, more speech crime. The agency also says Baker "ignored instructions to move off" steps, according to body-worn camera footage.

The FBI notes that Baker "entered the United States Capitol through the broken Senate Wing Door" at approximately 2:19 p.m.

Notice Baker not engaging in a high five with a waiting protester at the entrance — Baker is inside the red circle in the image below holding aloft his cellphone camera. Instead he continues to document what was going down:

Image source: YouTube screenshot

The FBI also claims that at one point "officers attempted to keep Baker on the other side of a door jamb, but instead of heeding their instructions Baker antagonized them. Baker repeatedly asked, 'Are you going to use that [gun] on us?!' Baker eventually moved past these officers and took stairs down to the first floor. The remaining members of this crowd are pushed back down toward the House Chamber entrance."

Baker's response to Blaze News regarding the aforementioned FBI claim? "The only time I said a word inside the Capitol was when all the police officers near the House chamber suddenly drew their weapons. None of us near me knew that someone had just been shot. I hadn’t seen drawn weapons all day, then suddenly nearly every cop had them drawn and at high-ready," he said. "I simply wanted to know if we were about to get shot. ... Asking a question about your own potential life-or-death jeopardy is hardly abusive language."

The FBI also says Baker "moved toward the Hall of Columns where he was then led out of the Capitol by an officer with the United States Capitol Police." The agency said in its statement of facts that Baker left the building at approximately 2:56 p.m. and that he was "inside the building for approximately 37 minutes."

The FBI then cites an interview between Baker and WUSA-TV in which he stated, “Yeah I was quite excited to see this going on,” and, “Do I approve of what happened today? I approve 100%.” Again, more wrong-speech.

How else did Baker respond?

Baker had a lot more to say to Blaze News in regard to the criminal complaint against him and the FBI's statement of facts.

"As to the charge of 'entering a restricted space,' I, along with approximately 60 other journalists of all types, did exactly that," Baker said. "The other three charges are just typical Department of Justice theater of the absurd. It is the MO of the DOJ — not just in January 6 cases — to significantly overcharge the accused in order to frighten them into a quick plea deal. In the case of the low-level J6 defendants, they all get these same four misdemeanors, whether they opened their mouths or not, and whether or not they ‘paraded and picketed' — which has a very specific meaning."

Baker added to Blaze News: "I used no loud or abusive language, and I certainly didn’t picket or parade. I had no flags or signs and wore no MAGA paraphernalia or any political messaging."

More from Baker's response to Blaze News:

As to the contents of the Statement of Facts, that is the FBI/DOJ’s attempt to establish a narrative needed to justify the charges. And when they don’t have evidence of the actions, deeds, or crimes they are accusing someone of, they look for speech and words by which they can establish "state of mind" or "intent." In my case, they had to use statements made before I arrived at the Capitol and after I left. All are made outside of the so-called restricted area. All are presented out of context. Ignoring the fact that once on the property and documenting the developing story, my personal opinions — indeed all thoughts about what I witnessed and experienced — were kept to myself while professionally doing my job while following that story where the story went. (As shown in our video presentation.) But for J6 defendants ... damn freedom of speech, thought, opinion, and expression. Like so many of these J6 cases, it is those "thought crimes" the DOJ puts in front of the prejudicial juries — no matter the basic tenet of classical liberalism, which should be the golden rule of our judiciary: "No victim, no crime."

How did Baker's attorney respond?

Baker's attorney William L. Shipley — who penned a Monday op-ed telling federal prosecutors "game on" — offered Blaze News the following response to the criminal complaint against Baker and the FBI's statement of facts.

"As I have seen in many other January 6 cases, the government has presented still images from longer videos and segments from longer written or audio recording of events that either lack context or are simply taken out of context. I know what some of the longer versions of this evidence actually shows, and those longer versions undermine the one-sided conclusions drawn by the special agent in the Affidavit. And that is all this document represents — the opinions of a single FBI agent who signed it," Shipley stated Wednesday.

He added, "In 32 years doing federal criminal trial work as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, I've seen these kinds of conclusions turn out to be incorrect many many times. I expect that will be the outcome here."

'The statement of facts is so weak'

Kyle Seraphin — a former FBI special agent and U.S. Air Force veteran — wrote about Baker's arrest in a Monday op-ed, saying that it "disgraces the FBI." But Seraphin on Wednesday also offered Blaze News additional perspective regarding the government's criminal complaint and statement of facts.

"Like every individual arrested for January 6/Capitol riot-related charges, Steve Baker was arrested on a criminal complaint. Using a complaint is a dramatic departure from any normal process for the FBI. Complaints are used for exigent circumstances, and as such, the FBI will rarely if ever file a criminal complaint to bring a subject into custody. Because the FBI engages in long-term investigations, like the Capitol riot case, there is more than enough time for them to take their case to a grand jury and receive an indictment. This means that the process involves citizens who are outside of the justice system to evaluate if there is 'probable cause to believe' the individual was involved in a federal crime. The complaint only involves a federal magistrate judge and the affiant — in this case — an FBI agent," Seraphin wrote.

He added, "Steve's complaint is like all of the complaints I have seen — it starts with a significant 'background' section which covers events of the day that have nothing to do with any 'allegation or information' regarding a federal crime Steve Baker is alleged to have committed. In Steve's case, there is also a significant amount of color commentary about his First Amendment-protected speech that did not happen during a time when he is alleged to have committed a crime."

Seraphin also stated that "the statement of facts is so weak, Agent Noyes and the magistrate judge who signed this complaint should be embarrassed they participated in this punishment theater of a journalist. The document itself is a microcosm of just how far the FBI has fallen from the once most respected law enforcement agency in America. They are now doing political hit jobs on perceived opponents of the Biden administration."

Jonathan Turley — the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at the George Washington University Law School — penned an op-ed for The Hill the day after Baker's arrest calling out the charges and the content of the FBI's statement of facts against Baker.

"The Justice Department leaves little doubt why they pursued Baker. The criminal complaint and an FBI agent’s affidavit repeatedly reference Baker’s support for those who stormed the Capitol," Turley wrote. "Entering through a broken door like hundreds of others, he walked past Capitol police, who stood by and even directed some protesters. Baker was in the building for only approximately 37 minutes before police led him out."

What's the background?

Baker told Blaze News the FBI instructed him to self-surrender on Friday morning, and Baker did just that.

While Baker said the agency told him to show up at the Dallas field office in "shorts and sandals" — which he said typically means authorities want to make it easier to prep an individual for a "humiliation" perp-walk routine — Baker, dignified as ever, arrived in a suit and tie.

— (@)

Later he was placed in handcuffs, walked by a pair of agents to a vehicle, and transported to a courthouse.

— (@)

Blaze Media editor in chief Matthew Peterson — who accompanied Baker to the FBI field office — posted the following reaction: "Tough to watch. Totally unnecessary. There was no reason to take him into custody and have U.S. marshals transport him to the courthouse. We expect and hope to see him on the other side of this in a few hours."

BlazeTV contributor Jill Savage noted Friday that she exited the courtroom with Baker, who "was able to wear his dress clothes but had shackles on his wrists and ankles. He is expected to be released today. His next hearing is set in DC for March 14th." Soon after, Baker was released.

Glenn Beck, co-founder of Blaze Media, wrote in a Friday morning op-ed that Baker's First Amendment battle is ours, too: "When the United States government can come after individuals, that's when you know our republic is crumbling. I've always said that if they can go after Donald Trump, they will go after people like you and me. And now they are. But Steve Baker is not deterred, and neither are we."

Beck on Thursday asked Baker how he was holding up. Here's how Baker responded:

— (@)

Beck interviewed Baker again after his release, and Baker said of his arrest, "I thought I was ready for it until they put the leg chains on." He added to Beck that he was placed “in a cage with a meth dealer" and had his hearing on the same day as a “felony defendant" who actually wasn't “guarded by U.S. Marshals with leg chains on.”

Baker announced in December that the FBI said the Justice Department would be charging him for his Jan. 6 reporting — but two days later, he noted that the FBI said his self-surrender was postponed until after Christmas.

It was a waiting game ever since.

Attorneys representing Baker in January told Blaze News that the Justice Department might be orchestrating a "retaliation" against Baker over his Jan. 6 reporting.

"Steve’s actions on January 6 have been known to the Department of Justice for 3 years," Baker's attorneys said in a January news release. "But it is only now — after Steve has broken two major stories greatly embarrassing to the DOJ — that he is possibly being targeted for arrest and possibly felony prosecution. Any action taken to put him in handcuffs, hold him in custody, and have him transported to court by federal law enforcement will be nothing other than retaliation for his recent reporting."

Baker discussed his legal saga in a pair of October commentary pieces for Blaze News (here and here), detailing the ins and outs of the federal investigation he's been under following his independent journalistic work on Jan. 6.

What has been uncovered as a result of Baker's investigations?

Baker's first Jan. 6 analysis for Blaze News came last October following countless hours in a House subcommittee office looking at frame after frame of Jan. 6 closed-circuit video — and it had him wondering: Did Capitol Police Special Agent David Lazarus perjure himself in the Oath Keepers trial?

Soon after, the slow pace of getting an unrestricted look at everything recorded on video prompted Blaze Media editor in chief Matthew Peterson's appeal to House Speaker Mike Johnson to release all the videos. On Nov. 17, Johnson did just that.

Baker's investigative efforts also resulted in two additional analyses, both focusing on Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn: "January 6 and the N-word that wasn't" and "Harry Dunn's account of January 6 does not add up. At all."

In December, Baker alleged that he uncovered major irregularities involving Dunn, the Capitol Police, the press, and U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland).

In January, Baker asserted that newly released U.S. Capitol closed-circuit TV video clips from Jan. 6 show Lazarus gave false testimony in the Oath Keepers trial.

Proof of Perjury | The Truth About January 6

Also in January, Baker and others were asking what the U.S. government has to hide in regard to the pipe bomb found on Jan. 6 at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. Baker in February wrote another analysis titled "Capitol Police diverted all CCTV cameras away from DNC pipe bomb investigation — except one."

Baker penned his latest analysis on Feb. 21, asking why Kamala Harris was at the DNC and not the Capitol on Jan. 6.

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Democrat John Fetterman waves Israeli flag right at furious, anti-Israel protesters getting handcuffed at US Capitol

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Democrat U.S. Sen. John Fetterman on Thursday totally trolled anti-Israel protesters who were being handcuffed at the U.S. Capitol — simply by walking past them while waving a miniature Israeli flag.

"You're a horrible human being!" one of the protesters — all of whom wore Veterans Demand Ceasefire T-shirts — yelled at Fetterman as he approached the oh-so-annoyed demonstrators.

Here's what that looked and sounded like:

— (@)

They booed, they shouted, "Shame!" and they chanted, "What do we want? Ceasefire! When do we want it? Now!"

Fetterman, towering over all of them, appeared to stay silent as he walked past the demonstrators.

What else?

Progressive group About Face called Fetterman a "jackass" and added on X that the Democrat "saw veterans getting arrested and laughed. We asked to see @SenGillibrand. We were put in cuffs. We need leaders who listen to veterans demanding a #CeaseFireNow."

— (@)

This wasn't the first time Fetterman stood up for Israel.

Last month, he called out lawmakers from his own party who jumped the gun to blame Israel for a Gaza hospital bombing when it was soon revealed Hamas was behind the deadly act.

"It's truly disturbing that Members of Congress rushed to blame Israel for the hospital tragedy in Gaza," Fetterman said. "Who would take the word of a group that just massacred innocent Israeli civilians over our key ally?"

Also in October, Fetterman announced that he would highlight the identities of those Hamas abducted following its deadly surprise attack against Israel: "My office will display every last one of the innocent Israelis kidnapped by Hamas until they are safely returned home. We won't stop sharing their stories until then."

He also said last month, "Now is not the time to talk about a ceasefire. We must support Israel in efforts to eliminate the Hamas terrorists who slaughtered innocent men, women, and children. Hamas does not want peace, they want to destroy Israel. We can talk about a ceasefire after Hamas is neutralized."

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Did Rashida Tlaib lead an 'INSURRECTION' on Capitol grounds?

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January 6 has remained an obsession of politicians on the left, but it appears a new January 6 has emerged. A mob of protestors stormed a building on Capitol Hill and disrupted official proceedings.

However, because the protestors were egged on by left-wing politicians like Rashia Tlaib, Glenn Beck doubts anything will be done.

“In this case, nothing will happen because it’s not Donald Trump,” Glenn says.

Before the “insurrection,” Tlaib is captured on video spouting lies about the hospital bombing in Gaza before appearing to threaten the president.

“People think it’s okay to bomb a hospital with children,” Tlaib told her audience through shaky tears, before adding, “President Biden, not all America’s with you on this one. And you need to wake up and understand that.”

After her tear-soaked speech, what Glenn calls an “angry extremist crowd” then went to the Capitol and filled the House building, where they attempted to disrupt proceedings.

“Oh my goodness, it is an insurrection,” Glenn says, before noting that any rebuttal to his statement would claim that Donald Trump’s “insurrection” was a result of him “lying” about the election.

“The one thing you don’t have is actual proof that he was lying or lying knowingly,” Glenn says.

However, there is proof that Tlaib was lying.

An audio translation has been leaked of Hamas the night the hospital was bombed, in which operatives discuss the missile actually belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“They’re saying that the shrapnel from the missile is local shrapnel and not Israeli shrapnel,” Glenn notes before the audio captures the Hamas members saying the missile was shot from the cemetery behind the hospital, where it misfired and fell on them.

“So, Rashida Tlaib, is anything going to happen? Is anything going to happen to her? Is she going to be impeached for inciting an insurrection, anything?” Glenn asks.

Stu Burguiere believes that at the very least, Tlaib should “at least get a nomination for best actress out of it.”

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis, and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

Republican lawmaker wants bust of Ukraine's Zelenskyy displayed at US Capitol

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Long-serving Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina has put forward a resolution that calls for displaying a bust of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the U.S. Capitol.

"Resolved, That the House of Representatives directs the Fine Arts Board to obtain a bust of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, for display in a suitable, permanent location in the House of Representatives wing of the United States Capitol," the resolution states.

Wilson has served as a House lawmaker for more than two decades.

The U.S. has spent billions of dollars backing Ukraine as that beleaguered nation strives to fight against a Russian invasion.

Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine "fully understand the meaning behind the American Revolution mottos of Don't Tread On Me and Live Free or Die," Wilson said in a December tweet. "The United States stands with Ukraine for victory."

\u201caround the world. They fully understand the meaning behind the American Revolution mottos of Don\u2019t Tread On Me and Live Free or Die. The United States stands with Ukraine for victory. (2/2)\u201d
— Joe Wilson (@Joe Wilson) 1671661583

Last month, while addressing a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, Zelenskyy declared, "Your money is not charity. It's an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way."

Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky responded by tweeting, "It is not charity. Charity would be given freely. The American taxpayers have been conscripted into making welfare payments to this foreign government." Massie had previously tweeted, "I'm in DC but I will not be attending the speech of the Ukrainian lobbyist."

\u201cIt is not charity. Charity would be given freely. The American taxpayers have been conscripted into making welfare payments to this foreign government.\u201d
— Thomas Massie (@Thomas Massie) 1671671249

Last month, Congress passed an around $1.7 trillion omnibus package that ran thousands of pages long — the mammoth measure included billions of dollars in assistance for Ukraine.

"Congratulations to @GOPLeader on his election as the Speaker," Zelenskyy tweeted after Republican Kevin McCarthy of California secured the House speakership last week. "U.S. support in all fields has been vital for [Ukraine]'s success on the battlefield. We're counting on your continued support and further U.S. assistance to bring our common victory closer."

\u201cCongratulations to @GOPLeader on his election as the Speaker of \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 House of Representatives. U.S. support in all fields has been vital for \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\u2019s success on the battlefield. We\u2019re counting on your continued support and further U.S. assistance to bring our common victory closer.\u201d
— \u0412\u043e\u043b\u043e\u0434\u0438\u043c\u0438\u0440 \u0417\u0435\u043b\u0435\u043d\u0441\u044c\u043a\u0438\u0439 (@\u0412\u043e\u043b\u043e\u0434\u0438\u043c\u0438\u0440 \u0417\u0435\u043b\u0435\u043d\u0441\u044c\u043a\u0438\u0439) 1673072187

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Man crashes car into barricade near Capitol, vehicle goes up in flames, he fires gun, then shoots himself

A man shot himself after crashing his car into a barricade near the U.S. Capitol building early Sunday morning.

An unidentified man rammed his car into a barrier at East Capitol Street and Second Street. The man escaped the vehicle while it "became engulfed in flames," according to a statement from the U.S. Capitol Police.

The man then reportedly fired shots into the air along East Capitol Street. Capitol Police approached the man, and he then committed suicide by shooting himself in the front area of the Capitol building.

Authorities say nobody else was hurt.

"At this time, it does not appear the man was targeting any Members of Congress, who are on recess, and it does not appear officers fired their weapons," the statement from the Capitol Police read.

Capitol Police are " looking into the man's background."

Washington D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department has launched an investigation into the man's death.

This is a developing story and will be updated when more details become available.

US Capitol lifts face mask mandate just in time for Biden's State of the Union address

Just in time for President Joe Biden's State of the Union address, face masks will no longer be required in the United States Capitol.

What are the details?

Capitol physician Brian Monahan advised Congress in a memo published Sunday that masks will no longer be required at the Capitol complex because of plummeting COVID-19 cases. Monahan cited new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to bolster his decision.

"The Washington DC region is now in the 'green level' or low level in this new CDC schema allowing for reduction in coronavirus prevention measures such as coronavirus testing frequency and indoor mask wear," Monahan said, Axios reported.

"COVID19 layered protection measures such as vaccination emphasis, and daily home health screening inventory prior to coming to work should continue," Monahan explained.

Monahan also reversed instructions from House Sergeant at Arms William Walker that said every member of Congress attending Biden's State of the Union address on March 1 must wear an N95 or KN95 face mask.

"KN95 or N95 mask wear is no longer required and mask wear is now an individual choice option," Monahan said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ultimately controls face mask guidance for the House floor, but she has deferred to Monahan's guidance in the past and will likely do so now, Politico noted. The Senate never adopted mask requirements.

What is the background?

The CDC released updated indoor masking recommendations last week, which now determine the necessity for masking based on COVID-19 positivity rates and hospital admissions in a particular community. The changes mean that more than 70% of Americans can go indoors without a face mask.

The CDC's updated recommendations and Monahan's new guidance come as Democratic leaders nationwide drop pandemic-related mandates.

The swift changes have raised suspicion that midterm polls — and particularly the fact that a majority of polls show Democrats could lose big-time in November — are driving the decisions as opposed to public health considerations, but Democratic leaders say decreasing COVID case numbers and hospital admissions are behind the mandate rescissions.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky also stressed the importance of rolling back mandates now to bolster government credibility should they be deemed necessary in the future.

"None of us knows what the future may hold for us and for this virus," Walensky said Friday. "We need to be prepared and ready for whatever comes next. We want to give people a break from things like mask-wearing, when levels are low, and then have the ability to reach for them again, should things get worse in the future."

Democrat invokes Jan. 6 to condemn lawmakers who do not wear face masks in Capitol: 'Undermining our democracy'

Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) claimed last week that members of Congress who do not wear face masks are subverting democracy and compared such actions to the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

What is the background?

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), chairwoman of the congressional black caucus, accused Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) of telling her to "kiss my ass" after she requested he wear a face mask while riding the underground subway that transports members of Congress from their offices to the Capitol.

"This is the kind of disrespect we have been fighting for years, and indicative of the larger issue we have with GOP Members flaunting health and safety mandates designed to keep us and our staff safe," Beatty said on Twitter.

Rogers later said he met with Beatty and apologized for his behavior.

What did Jayapal say?

The Washington Democrat claimed on CNN last Wednesday that Rogers committed what she believes is "absolutely assault" and said that it underscores a lack of civility in Congress.

“This is where the lack of civility has come to in the United States Congress," Jayapal said on CNN. "And I think it is a massive problem. It undermines our ability to get work done, and it is intolerable in a workplace where we are going to work to do the work of the American people."

But Jayapal did not stop there. She went on to claim that not wearing a face mask where they are mandated is behavior that subverts democracy — and yes, she invoked Jan. 6.

"Let me just remind your viewers that this was about wearing a mask, which is mandated in the Capitol. It is mandated in the Capitol, and it is to protect our safety — our collective safety, the safety of our staffers," Jayapal said. "And so the idea that — and this has happened to me — where you get on an elevator and people refuse to wear a mask, and your choices are to either get off the elevator or to get on the elevator and to tell them to wear a mask.”

“That should not be a problem in the United States Congress," she continued. "I really believe that our colleagues who refuse to even adhere to the basic norms of civility are undermining our democracy, and of course we’re seeing it in all kinds of even more serious ways like the Jan. 6 insurrection is just part of that and part of the attempt to take down a legitimate democracy from functioning in the way it should."

Rep. Pramila Jayapal says unmasked Congressmembers are "undermining our democracy."\n\n"You get on an elevator and people refuse to wear a mask and your choices are to either get off the elevator or to get on the elevator and to tell them to wear a mask."
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) 1644787529

Jayapal's comments came as Democratic authorities have begun loosening COVID restrictions, including in Washington, D.C. As Democratic leaders increasingly roll back restrictions and face mask mandates, one wonders if Jayapal will retract her harsh and dramatic rhetoric once masks are no longer required anywhere in the Capitol.

After all, masks are currently only required in the House chamber; in the Senate chamber, masks are optional.

Rep. Cheney indicates Jan. 6 committee will seek details of McCarthy's phone call with Trump

Rep. Cheney indicates Jan. 6 committee will seek details of McCarthy's phone call with Trump

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol held its first hearing on Tuesday. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a fierce Trump critic and one of two Republicans Pelosi personally asked to serve on the committee, said in her opening statement that the events of that day must be fully investigated, indicating several of her House Republican colleagues and former President Donald Trump won't escape the committee's scrutiny.

"We cannot leave the violence of Jan. 6 – and its causes – uninvestigated. The American people deserve the full and open testimony of every person with knowledge of the planning and preparation for Jan. 6," Cheney said in her opening remarks.

The Wyoming Republican's inclusion on the committee at Pelosi's request was a slight against House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and the rest of the GOP conference, who had kicked her out of Republican leadership for her vocal criticism of Trump. Cheney was the highest-profile Republican to vote to impeach Trump, whom she blamed for instigating the violence at the Capitol, claiming he "summoned" the rioters there and then "lit the flame of this attack."

She has been highly critical of her Republican colleagues who have opposed the Jan. 6 committee and defeated a bipartisan bill that would have established an independent 9/11-style commission to investigate the events of that day. Republicans have claimed that law enforcement and previous bipartisan investigations in the House were sufficient and that any further examination of the Jan. 6 riot would be "duplicative" and "potentially counterproductive", as well as politically motivated on the part of Democrats.

Dismissing those concerns, Cheney said Monday that McCarthy and others were attempting to "whitewash" the mob violence at the Capitol and that it was "a disgrace."

Speaking Tuesday, she called on the committee to investigate "every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack" — which would include a Jan. 6 phone call between McCarthy and Trump where the two men reportedly got into a shouting match over Trump's response to the riot. McCarthy would later claim that he contacted the president to inform him of what was happening at the Capitol and that after their talk Trump agreed to put out a statement urging the rioters to cease and desist. Trump eventually released a video statement that told the rioters to "go home" and that "we love you" while repeating his claims that the election was stolen.

However, McCarthy's account of the phone call is disputed by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), who said in February that McCarthy told her that Trump had repeated a false claim about Antifa breaching the Capitol in disguise to frame Trump supporters.

Democrats have previously indicated they will seek to learn whether Trump purposefully delayed deploying the National Guard to stop the riot. Cheney's remarks indicate she will support that effort.

"If those responsible are not held accountable, and if Congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our Constitutional Republic, undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democratic system," Cheney said.

Full transcript:

Thank you very much, Chairman Thompson. Thank you to all of my colleagues on this committee, and thank you to each of the witnesses appearing before us today. It is because of you — you held the line, you defended all of us, you defended the Capitol, and you defended the Constitution and our Republic, and every American owes you our undying gratitude. Every American, I hope, will be able to hear your testimony today and will watch the videos. The videos show the unbelievable violence and the inexcusable and intolerable cruelty that you all faced, and people need to know the truth.

I want to begin by reflecting briefly on the investigation that we are launching today. Every one of us here on the dais voted for and would have preferred that these matters be investigated by an independent non-partisan commission, composed of five prominent Americans selected by each party, and modeled on the 9/11 Commission. Although such a commission was opposed by my own leadership in the House, it overwhelmingly passed with the support of 35 Republican members, it was defeated by Republicans in the Senate. And that leaves us where we are today.

We cannot leave the violence of January 6th – and its causes – uninvestigated. The American people deserve the full and open testimony of every person with knowledge of the planning and preparation for January 6th. We must know what happened here at the Capitol. We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House – every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack. Honorable men and women have an obligation to step forward. If those responsible are not held accountable, and if Congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our Constitutional Republic, undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democratic system. We will face the threat of more violence in the months to come, and another January 6th every four years.

I have been a conservative Republican since 1984 when I first voted for Ronald Reagan. I have disagreed sharply on policy and politics with almost every Democratic member of this committee. But, in the end, we are one nation under God. The Framers of our Constitution recognized the danger of the vicious factionalism of partisan politics – and they knew that our daily arguments could become so fierce that we might lose track of our most important obligation – to defend the rule of law and the freedom of all Americans. That is why our Framers compelled each of us to swear a solemn oath to preserve and protect the Constitution. When a threat to our constitutional order arises, as it has here, we are obligated to rise above politics. This investigation must be non-partisan.

While we begin today by taking the public testimony of these four heroic men, we must also realize that the task of this committee will require persistence. We must issue and enforce subpoenas promptly. We must get to objective truth. We must overcome the many efforts we are already seeing to cover up and obscure the facts.

On January 6th and in the days thereafter, almost all members of my party recognized the events of that day for what they actually were. One Republican, for example, said: "What is happening at the U.S. Capitol right now is unacceptable and un-American. Those participating in lawlessness and violence must be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." No Member of Congress should now attempt to defend the indefensible, obstruct this investigation, or whitewash what happened that day. We must act with honor and duty, and in the interest of our nation.

America is great because we preserve our democratic institutions at all costs. Until January 6th, we were proof positive for the world that a nation conceived in liberty could long endure. But now, January 6th threatens our most sacred legacy. The question for every one of us who serves in Congress, for every elected official across this great nation, indeed, for every American is this: Will we adhere to the rule of law? Will we respect the rulings of our courts? Will we preserve the peaceful transition of power? Or will we be so blinded by partisanship that we throw away the miracle of America? Do we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country and revere our Constitution? I pray that that is not the case. I pray that we all remember, our children are watching, as we carry out this solemn and sacred duty entrusted to us. Our children will know who stood for truth, and they will inherit the nation we hand to them – a Republic, if we can keep it.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.