January 6 Was ‘Shameful Mob Violence’

Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C., February 22, 2021. (Al Drago/Pool via Reuters)

The Republican National Committee’s formal censure of Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger states the following (emphasis added): 

WHEREAS, Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger purport to be members of the Republican Party; and WHEREAS , Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger are participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse, and they are both utilizing their past professed political affiliation to mask Democrat abuse of prosecutorial power for partisan purposes, therefore, be it 

RESOLVED, That the Republican National Committee hereby formally censures Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger ofIllinois and shall immediately cease any and all support of them as members of the Republican Party for their behavior which has been destructive to the institution of the U.S. House of Representatives , the Republican Party and our republic, and is inconsistent with the position of the Conference.

Nebraska GOP senator Ben Sasse issued a brief statement in response to the censure: “January 6th was not ‘legitimate political discourse’ and I’ll say it again: It was shameful mob violence to disrupt a constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress to affirm the peaceful transfer of power.” 

Following Sasse’s statement, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee sent me this statement from RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel: 

“Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger crossed a line. They chose to join Nancy Pelosi in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol. That’s why Republican National Committee members and myself overwhelmingly support this resolution.”

To justify McDaniel’s claim that the January 6 committee is engaging in “persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol,” the RNC spokesman sent me this Federalist article titled “Only 10 Percent Of J6 Committee Subpoenas Relate To The Capitol Riot.” 

The article doesn’t give a precise breakdown of which subpoenas don’t “relate” to the Capitol riot but tells readers the following:

According to a Federalist analysis of the 84 subpoenas publicly issued by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Select Committee on Jan. 6, only 8 have targeted individuals or groups with any connection to the Capitol riot. The rest have taken aim at former government officials and private citizens in a smear campaign for exercising their constitutional right to protest. . . .

Eight subpoenas from the committee have sought information more directly related to the Capitol unrest, including subpoenas to three right-wing groups and their leaders. Proud Boys International LLC, Oath Keepers, 1st Amendment Praetorian, and each of their chairmen have been summoned by the probe.

In other words, the censure’s reference to “persecution” of “ordinary citizens” was apparently intended to refer to subpoenas sent by the January 6 committee to people such as Steve Bannon, the organizers of the January 6 “Save America Rally” outside the White House, and John Eastman. The January 6 committee has also subpoenaed members of Congress and White House officials — including Kevin McCarthy, Mark Meadows, and Ivanka Trump — who were in touch with President Trump on January 6.