In latest weeks he has come underneath renewed scrutiny for claiming in a collection of radio interviews in his dwelling state that the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol was not an “armed insurrection” and for using his time during a Senate listening to to learn a first-person account that posited “provocateurs” and “pretend Trump supporters” had been behind the assault.
Mr. Johnson has a fame for being among the many most accessible, high-profile Republicans in Washington, often defending his views to the mainstream information media — one thing lots of his G.O.P. colleagues don’t do.
He spoke with The New York Occasions on Thursday about his theories of who was accountable for the assault on the Capitol and what he want to see included within the congressional investigation of it. The interview has been frivolously edited and condensed.
You had been on the radio not too long ago speaking about the way it wasn’t an armed rebel. I used to be curious what the origin of that perspective was for you.
Once I assume armed, I feel firearms. And yeah, we don’t know. I do not know. That’s one of many questions I’ve bought is, what number of firearms had been seen, had been confiscated? What number of photographs had been fired? I imagine the one ones that had been fired had been from legislation enforcement. And I’ve mentioned I’ll defend legislation enforcement for taking motion. I don’t perceive what the uproar is. However apparently, there’s uproar someplace. Any individual takes offense to it.
And I might say, if it’s correctly termed an “armed rebel,” it was a fairly ragtag one. And once more, I don’t dispute the destruction, or damaging functionality of issues like flagpoles and bats and that kind of factor, however once more, phrases have that means.
Effectively, what’s your feeling about who made up the group that stormed the Capitol?
I don’t know, and I’m asking the query. I’m making no assumptions.
There are simply so many unanswered questions, which appears to be form of the essential scenario in so many issues I’m making an attempt to resolve. However right here we’re virtually two months later, and there are simply fundamental items of knowledge which might be lacking right here.
Within the Senate listening to the opposite day, you learn the piece from The Federalist that urged there have been form of provocateurs and “pretend Trump supporters” that had designs on producing hassle from the gang. And I puzzled, do you share that evaluation?
I feel it’s vital, if we’re going to actually get the entire reality, to know precisely what occurred, we have to have a look at totally different vantage factors, totally different views.
I learn that article, I feel, as quickly because it was printed, which was shortly after Jan. 6. And I used to be intrigued by it. As a result of right here was a person that, once more, I didn’t know him on the time. I truly spoke to him yesterday for the primary time. However I didn’t know who he was. It simply seems to be like he had a fairly good background. That is an teacher, specializing in any such psychological kind of warfare and that kind of factor. So he appeared to be a educated observer.
And I used to be simply fascinated by the truth that he wrote down his ideas, about 14, 15 pages, with out taking a look at any information. So it’s form of an unblemished accounting. And that’s actually form of the eyewitness accounts you wish to study. I’m not saying you settle for all the things. You don’t essentially settle for his conclusions. I feel you form of need to take at face worth what he mentioned he noticed.
Do you imagine that, because the Federalist creator Michael Waller wrote, that there have been pretend Trump protesters within the crowd?
That’s what he mentioned he thought he noticed. I feel later within the article, he didn’t see any who he would have thought had been pretend Trump protesters, he didn’t see them have interaction in any violence. I feel he writes that in his article. Yeah. I’m letting his testimony stand by itself. I wasn’t there.
Once more, I’m drawing no conclusions by any means. Once more, quite a lot of press reviews are assuming, imputing all types of conclusions. They’re saying I’m saying issues that I’m not saying in any respect. All I’m saying at this time limit is we have to ask quite a lot of questions.
I’m wondering why you assume there’s advantage to giving an viewers to Mr. Waller’s assertions that there have been both provocateurs or pretend Trump supporters within the crowd, given the shortage of proof.
I’m not questioning his veracity. I imagine he’s most likely telling the reality. That’s what he noticed. I’m not agreeing with any conclusions. I’m unsure he’s actually making too many conclusions, aside from he concluded he noticed 4 particular person forms of teams that stood out from the gang.
It could be a flawed a part of the proof, however why exclude it? Simply because it doesn’t essentially tie into no matter narrative someone else desires to inform concerning the day? I’m not within the narratives, I’m within the reality.
There’s been quite a lot of speak amongst a few of your Republican colleagues in Congress about antifa or Black Lives Matter being concerned in instigating what occurred. Do you share that perception?
It doesn’t actually look like that was the difficulty. It seems, once more, that is all early, I haven’t drawn any conclusions, however it seems if there was any preplanning by teams, it was white supremacist teams, just like the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers, that kind of factor. That’s what it seems.
I’ve seen movies of different folks claiming to be antifa of their lodge rooms. I don’t know if any of that’s been verified. However no, once more, I’m drawing no conclusions in any respect. However proper now, it seems that there have been provocateurs or agitators. It might seem it might most likely be from the white supremacist teams which have already been named. However I haven’t talked to the F.B.I.
You had been on with Maria Bartiromo and talked about being in opposition to violent extremists from the left or the correct. And it sounds such as you’ve form of landed on the place that these had been right-wing teams that had been concerned in organizing what occurred on Jan. 6. Is that proper?
It looks as if these white supremacist teams appear to be accountable for this. I actually condemn it. I imply, I’m not proud of it.
I’ve attended quite a lot of Trump rallies. You speak to lots of people. You see the temper in these crowds. And it’s festive. It’s joyful. You’re loving America. And it’s undoubtedly pro-law enforcement and anti-breaking the legislation. Which is, once more, why I definitely don’t suspect, even a big pro-Trump crowd, I didn’t count on any violence from them.
You mentioned you need what you say to be correct. And also you learn Mr. Waller’s piece, however with out essentially doing any due diligence to see whether or not what he was saying checked out.
What do you imply, checked out? It’s his eyewitness account. What else is there to take a look at about it? I learn what his credentials had been, the place he was instructing, at Fort Bragg. I imply, you’ll be able to see within the article what his credentials are. He appeared to be fairly stable.
A pair days later The Washington Post wrote an article that was very near form of describing issues as Mr. Waller did, too. In order that added additional credence, from my standpoint, that what he noticed, different folks form of noticed and observed and drew comparable forms of conclusions. Once more, it’s only one piece of knowledge that must be checked out, must be thought of, must be examined, must be verified, in contrast in opposition to different issues.
Once more, I’m not afraid of knowledge. I’m amazed at how many individuals are. And the way fast individuals are to place the conspiracy idea label on one thing, or name it disinformation.
You’ve mentioned tens of tens of millions of Individuals didn’t belief the election outcomes. I’m wondering, how a lot do you assume that’s as a result of Republican leaders, from President Trump on down, advised them to not belief the election outcomes?
I feel that there’s a spread of the explanation why. However I’d say the primary cause is that they noticed their TV screens, observers not having the ability to observe. They see in states the place all these different counties can flip in tens of millions of votes, however in a number of massive counties in swing states, they only can’t get the vote totals in by 10 o’clock at night time, for some cause. It simply raises a degree of suspicion.
Effectively, in Wisconsin that’s because —
It’s unlucky the mainstream media’s revealed themselves to be so unbelievably biased that folks on the opposite aspect of the aisle, the opposite aspect of the political spectrum, merely don’t belief them anymore. That’s a part of the difficulty, too.
One final thing. The place are you on operating for re-election subsequent yr?
Haven’t determined. Don’t have to determine for some time.
Do you have got a timeline for that?
Yeah. However I’m not essentially going to disclose it to you.