House Republicans protest ‘treatment of 6 January prisoners’ as riot committee meets for first time

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Capitol Breach Misinformation on Trial (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Capitol Breach Misinformation on Trial (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

As the 6 January commission begins, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene will headline a counter-event to “demand answers” on the treatment of Capitol riot prisoners.

The two House representatives, fresh off their fundraising tour of the country, will join Louie Gohmert and Paul Gosar at the Department of Justice in Washington as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee begins its opening statements.

According to a media advisory, the four Republicans will hold a joint press conference demanding attorney general Merrick Garland give answers on the status of the prisoners and related investigations.

Dozens of defendants remain in jail awaiting trial, with some alleging harsh treatment like solitary confinement and another, Ronald Sandlin, alleging beatings and “mental torture” at the hands of correctional officers.

While the Justice Department denied the allegations of beatings, the claims of restricted housing – or isolation for 23 hours a day – was concerning enough for Democrats like Elizabeth Warren to worry solitary was being used to “break” the Capitol rioters.

“Solitary confinement is a form of punishment that is cruel and psychologically damaging,” Ms Warren told Politico in an interview. “And we’re talking about people who haven’t been convicted of anything yet.”

The four Republicans say they previously requested a meeting with Mr Garland to discuss the “unanswered questions”.

In addition to their press conference on the same day as the committee kick-off, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will hold a press conference with the five Republican picks who were rejected by Ms Pelosi, according to Forbes.

Ms Pelosi vetoed the GOP members in favour of Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who both voted to impeach Donald Trump.

Mr Gaetz on Monday called on McCarthy to remove Ms Cheney and Mr Kinzinger from their committee assignments as they were “no longer a member of our team”.

“I think the entire purpose of the 6 January committee is to create a series of criminal referrals to the Biden justice department, and I think that Kevin Mccarthy is the lead target,” Mr Gaetz said on Newsmax.

“I think most Americans think it’s unfair that Nancy Pelosi would get to pick her team and then would get to pick the players of the other team.”

The GOP ‘players’ of that team chosen by Ms Pelosi would be elevated to present the committee as bipartisan, according to The Washington Post.

Quoting two people familiar with the decision, the Post reported that Ms Cheney was scheduled to deliver one of the two opening statements at the committee’s first public hearing on Tuesday.

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