House Speaker Mike Johnson just accidentally obliterated the Republican Party’s favorite conspiracy theory: that the January 6 insurrection was carried out by undercover federal agents and members of antifa.
Johnson told a press conference Tuesday that the GOP is editing footage of the insurrection to prevent the Justice Department from potentially identifying rioters.
“We have to blur some of the faces of persons who participated in the events of that day because we don’t want them to be retaliated against and to be charged by the DOJ,” he said.
And with just one sentence, Johnson has given away the entire game. Republicans have spent the past nearly three years insisting that the riot was caused by antifa, Black Lives Matter protesters, and even undercover FBI agents. But if that’s true, then why would the GOP want to shield those people from identification?
Republicans have thrown out conspiracy after conspiracy in an attempt to divert blame from their supporters—so much so that it’s hard to capture the full scale of it in this piece. In 2021, Texas Representative Louie Gohmert said that federal agents had embedded in extremist groups and then “egged on” rioters to incite the January 6 attack.
Just last month, Representative Clay Higgins said “ghost buses” packed with “FBI informants” descended on Washington, D.C., the night of January 5, so they could pretend to be supporters of Donald Trump.
One Trump supporter, Ray Epps, sued Fox News in July for defamation. Prominent right-wing figures on the network, including former Fox host Tucker Carlson, repeatedly claimed Epps was an FBI agent.
In reality, hundreds of people arrested for participating in the January 6 attack said they went to Washington because they felt Trump had personally told them to. And now, Johnson has revealed that Republicans don’t want any more people who tried to overthrow the government to face any repercussions.