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Thursday, January 6, 2022

OPINION:

What started as a day to contest the 2020 election results due to troubling irregularities quickly spiraled into an infamous riot that has filled our airwaves and TVs for the last year – leaving little room to report on President Biden’s self-inflicted crises that continue to plague the American people. Those irregularities continue to this day, with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s announcement of pending subpoenas over strong evidence of illegal ballot harvesting.

Yet as we reflect on the last year, I’m concerned by the lack of sufficient reporting and information surrounding the truth behind January 6 – the truth that deserves to be told.  


January 6, 2021, was a very troubling day in our nation’s history – I know because I was there. Determined to protect the chamber from rioters, I stayed on the House floor with several Republican colleagues and helped Capitol Police barricade the doors. I also heard the shot when an officer discharged his pistol that killed Ashli Babbitt.

Throughout my service as a three tour Navy combat veteran, I’ve seen the results of violence up close, and I do not believe it should be used as a form of political protest. But we must also have honest conversations about what truly transpired and what can be done to prevent another January 6 from ever happening again.

Unfortunately, this has been all but impossible in the current political climate, as our mainstream media lies about and berates any discussion that does not fit the Democrats’ narrative.

Due to their bias and intolerance, I quickly became a favorite target.

For the last seven months, the D.C. media machine has falsely claimed I was attempting to “whitewash” January 6 by simply pointing out in an Oversight hearing that video evidence of individuals walking through the Capitol in an orderly fashion – in contrast to violent protestors – indicated the event was a riot and not a planned insurrection. In that same statement, I condemned the violence of that day, which made their attacks even more insidious – yet totally unsurprising.

Moreover, according to both current and former law enforcement officials, the FBI agreed with this position, noting back in August that after the arrests of over 570 individuals (over 700 to date), that “…there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages.” But again, this information doesn’t fit the Left’s “Republicans are the enemy” narrative.
Americans deserve answers, but Democrats have subverted the truth at every turn.

My Republican colleagues and I warned that there would be dire consequences if a Congressional investigation were not carefully structured in a fully bipartisan manner. That is exactly what has happened. First, the Democrats removed Republican members from the House Select Committee on January 6 that they did not like, leading Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy to remove all Republicans from the now sham Committee. Since then, all nine Democrats on the Committee have continued to abuse their power to harass both Congress and private citizens and gain access to communications records dating back as far as April 2020 that have nothing to do with that day’s events.

The Select Committee has had very little time, it seems, to gain access to the Department of Justice’s trove of 14,000 hours of video footage, investigate who planted pipe bombs at Republican and Democratic party headquarters, determine who directed Capitol Police to remove barricades and thereby allow hundreds of protestors through the doors of the Capitol, or conduct a review of the egregious failures by senior leadership of the Capitol Police to pass on intelligence that left rank and file officers stranded without any direction or communication. It is further puzzling, why after a year, no clear adjustments have been made to security protocols at the U.S. Capitol, except for useless magnetometers positioned around the House floor, and why the police force remains roughly 400 officers below authorized staffing levels – especially with the President and Vice President scheduled to be at the Capitol complex later this week. 

These questions and others will likely never be answered in the short term, as Speaker Pelosi continues to block investigations into specific concerns, including why she refused six requests by Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irvine to deploy the National Guard in the early hours of the siege. 

Additional questions and frustrations surround the number of individuals that have been arrested for committing non-violent crimes on January 6, such as parading or trespassing. All Americans should be infuriated that many of these crimes carry sentences far lower than the year many detainees have already spent in pretrial confinement in the D.C. jail.

While the liberal media has turned a blind eye to reports of neglect, nothing can hide the Left’s desire to persecute their political dissidents through solitary confinement, insufficient medical care, and other inhumane conditions. Congress must swiftly investigate these atrocious allegations – failing to do so signals to the American people that House Democrats condone this egregious abuse of power and violation of civil liberties.

President Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” 

I have always supported an honest and thorough investigation of the events on January 6. Still, I stand against all theatrics that slander Republicans as domestic terrorists to use the heavy hand of government to castigate and silence the Democrats’ political rivals. Furthermore, I refuse to allow the Left to vilify President Donald Trump’s voters, as well as use the events of January 6 as a distraction from the dangerous policies of the Biden Administration, including the border crisis, energy crisis, crime wave crisis, and hyper-inflation, that have destroyed our economy and thrown our nation into turmoil in just the first year of President Biden’s tenure.

Now is the time for all Americans to be unified in rejecting Big Government Socialist authoritarianism and partisan gamesmanship and stand strong in defense of our great Republic, our Constitution, Civil Liberties, and Freedoms.

• Congressman Andrew Clyde represents Georgia’s Ninth District in the U.S. House of Representatives.


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