Greene, Democrats offer tale-of-two-jails after visit with Jan. 6 defendants

·5 min read

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and a pair of Democratic lawmakers offered a tale-of-two-jails on Friday after a group visited the Washington, D.C. jail, where pre-trial defendants from Jan. 6, 2021, are being held.

Greene led the trip to the D.C. jail and was joined by other members of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee from both parties. Greene — who previously visited the facility in November 2021 and has been pushing to return since — earlier this month said she wanted to tour the jail to address “the human rights abuse” inside.

But after emerging from the facility, lawmakers from opposite parties offered contrasting accounts of the conditions they had just witnessed.

“What we saw today is exactly what we’ve known all along — it’s a two-tiered justice system, and there’s a very different treatment for pre-trial Jan. 6 defendants and the inmates or, you know, other charged defendants and inmates,” Greene told reporters outside the jail. A protester blew a loud whistle during her remarks.

“These men are being held, their due process rights were being violated, and they have been mistreated,” she added, calling the defendants “political prisoners.”

Greene said the group was not able to tour the entire jail, but they did go into the Jan 6 pretrial defendant wing.

“They told us stories of being denied medical treatment, they told us stories of assault, they told us stories of being threatened with rape and guards laughing about it,” she said.

The congresswoman did, however, say that there had been “some changes” since her previous visit to the facility, noting that the jail was cleaner. But she claimed that the inmates had to “clean up, scrub the floors, scrub the bathrooms, scrub their cells and paint the entire area, and that happened in this past week” before lawmakers were allowed to tour the facility.

After the visit, the two Democrats who took the trip to the jail — Reps. Robert Garcia (Calif.) and Jasmine Crockett (Texas) — rejected Greene’s description of the conditions Jan. 6 defendants were in.

“These are people that are being treated quite fairly,” Garcia told MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” during an interview. “These were conditions where they have access to medical care 24 hours a day, they have tablets for entertainment. Obviously they are being treated by the folks that are there with what their needs are, they can communicate with their families, and they’ve done a huge harm to our country.”

“And so to see Marjorie Taylor Greene right now going on media, lying about the visit, saying that they were in terrible conditions, is just not true,” he added.

Crockett — who previously worked as a public defender — said she witnessed “privileged people” during her visit to the jail in an interview with MSNBC’s “The ReidOut.”

“The privilege that I saw was actually quite astounding, even though we were supposed to talk about or review how bad the conditions were,” she added. “If anything, I have never seen a jail that afforded so many privileges to anyone and as I said, I’ve been licensed in Texas, Arkansas and in federal courts for almost two decades.”

The Texas Democrat said “it’s kind of like there’s seemingly two versions of what happened on Jan. 6; I had a completely different experience walking into this jail.”

Greene and two other GOP lawmakers sent a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) earlier this month asking that she direct the D.C. Department of Corrections to arrange for lawmakers “to visit and review” the facilities.

“The DC Jail Facilities’ reported mistreatment of pre-trial detainees connected to the events at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, raise the Committee’s and Members’ concerns that DC and DOC is violating detainees’ constitutional and human rights,” the letter reads.

Last year, dozens of Jan. 6 detainees asked to be transferred to the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, claiming that there was “black mold” in the facility and “worms” in their food.

The request came to fruition on Friday, when a group of bipartisan lawmakers visited the facility. The Washington Post noted that the Jan. 6 defendants were in the newer Correctional Treatment Facility, and not the Central Detention Facility, which is older.

Garcia and Crockett were the only two Democrats to attend. A spokesperson for Oversight Democrats on Friday said the Democrats on the trip “will cut through Republicans’ attempts to whitewash the dangerous realities of January 6.”

“There has to be someone that was gonna keep them honest,” Crockett said after the visit. “I mean, we know that the people that were going on this trip — especially the one that led this trip — they have a little bit of an issue with the truth.”

A number of other Republican lawmakers joined Greene, including Reps. Byron Donalds (Fla.), Eli Crane (Ariz.) and Anna Paulina Luna (Fla.).

Following the visit to the jail, Greene claimed that Jan. 6 was not an insurrection.

“Now for two years, we’ve heard the story from the people on the Jan. 6 committee, we’ve heard the story about how it was an insurrection and I’m gonna tell you something right now, it was not an insurrection,” Greene said. “And President Trump did not tell anyone to go into the Capitol that day. And as a member of Congress who lawfully objected against Joe Biden’s electoral college votes, I was following my duty and so were my colleagues that also did the same thing.”

“What we have to do is we have to work as hard as possible to defund the two-tiered justice system. And we have to return freedom and due-process rights to these pre-trial Jan. 6 defendants,” she added.

Garcia said the “worst part” of the visit was “when we actually saw the inmates, the Republicans rushed to them like they were celebrities.”

“Talking to them, patting them on the back, interacting with them. These are folks that showed no remorse,” he added, referring to the Jan. 6 defendants.

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