Rep. Ken Buck rips Colorado GOP letter about Jan. 6 defendants’ treatment

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, ripped the Colorado GOP’s letter about treatment of Jan. 6 defendants, as he broke down the “false claims” that the state’s party outlined.

In a response circulated publicly Tuesday, Buck wrote to El Paso County Republican Party Vice Chairman Todd Watkins about the claims he made in the state party’s letter, which garnered more than 200 signatures.

“The letter makes a number of factually incorrect claims, and then proceeds to overstate the threat to our Republic based on these false claims,” Buck wrote in his response, dated Sept. 1. “There has been significant misinformation proliferated on the Internet about the status of the January 6th defendants, and I assume these Internet rumors are the source for much of the incorrect information contained in the letter.”

He debunked several arguments championed by some far-right members of the House Republican Conference and by many loyal supporters of former President Trump.

Buck, who is fiercely conservative, has at times displayed an independent streak and has voted against the majority of his conference on some issues. He recently called on Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and avoid violence in response to the four indictments Trump faces. He’s also criticized Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for toying with the idea of impeaching President Biden.

Buck rejected the claim that anyone was jailed “pending charges,” as he outlined the number of detainees held at any one moment, noting there were 56 in the spring of 2021, 40 in the fall of 2021 and 20 in the spring and summer of 2023. He also noted that 85 percent of those held in custody at the time he wrote his letter were charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer, which he said was a felony. He said claims that defendants were held without bond for misdemeanors are also “pure fiction.”

The congressman acknowledged many of the concerns about treatment in Washington, D.C., jails, noting that it “has been a concern of civil rights activists for decades, who argue it maintains substandard treatment of inmates.” But he added that “your letter misleads the reader by portraying worse conditions at the jail for January 6 defendants than for other inmates. That is simply not true.”

Among the claims Buck refuted was that Jan. 6 defendants were being treated differently because of their political beliefs. Drawing on his experience as a prosecutor for 25 years, he noted that trial courts tend to carefully consider the merits of motions alleging violations of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments, since they try to avoid the case being overturned on appeal.

“It is irresponsible to allege without evidence, as your letter does, that Americans are being systematically denied their most basic Constitutional rights based on their political beliefs,” he said.

Pushing back on arguments alleging failure to provide due process, Buck wrote, “While many January 6 defendants have decried the process they face as unfair, it is the process every federally indicted criminal defendant in this country goes through. That is not to say that reforms to our criminal justice system are unnecessary, but for you to argue this specific set of defendants have been singled out and denied due process is misleading.”

Buck concluded the letter urging grassroots activists to focus on “failed policies of the Biden administration” and on “restoring commonsense conservative policies,” writing, “It is sad that Republican leaders are misdirecting the energy and resources of Republican activists at a time when this country is facing crises after crises as a result of the failed policies of the Biden administration.”

In response to Buck, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) took to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and attacked his positions and sought to undermine his credibility. She noted that he had not visited the Jan. 6 defendants in jail and that, more recently, he has expressed doubts about impeaching Biden. She also raised the fact that he voted to certify the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Ken Buck’s letter to Mr. Watkins of the El Paso County GOP appeared to show full support of Biden’s Weaponized Government and a total disconnect from the cruel reality of J6 defendants and the American people,” Greene wrote.

“Draining the swamp means impeaching criminal politicians, stopping a communist weaponized government, and objecting to stolen elections. Not apologizing for communists abusing their power to persecute their political enemies,” she added.

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