Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., on Sunday called claims by some GOP lawmakers downplaying the attack on the Capitol Jan. 6 as “absolutely bogus.”
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Upton refuted assertions there was no attack and it was akin to a normal day of tourists visiting the seat of government.
“It's absolutely bogus. I was there,” he said. “I watched a number of the folks walk down to the White House and then back. I have a balcony on my office. So I saw them go down. I heard the noise. The flash-bangs, I smelled some of the gas as it moved my way.”
“I was watching …the live video that was was carried on the networks at the time,” he continued, “I talked to a number of SWAT team members, talked to some of my colleagues who were in the chamber and spent time with… the Metropolitan Police officer whose bodycam was on,.. I saw firsthand what that was and it did not change my opinion from what I personally saw on Jan. 6.”
Upton said colleagues called the attack “terribly frightening.”
“They knew that by stopping some of those folks from getting inside to the House chamber, it probably saved their lives,” he said.
“I saw the gallows that were constructed,” he recounted, and added he spent time with a Capitol Hill police officer who is from Upton’s hometown.
“It was chilling what happened, absolutely chilling,” he said, “And that's why I think that it's important that we move forward with this bipartisan commission, get the facts out, try to assure the American public this is what happened, and let the facts lead us to the conclusion.”
Upton said he supports a bipartisan proposal for a Jan. 6 commission probe — and hopes Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., will back it as well.
“Initially [House[ Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] said that it was going to be a partisan commission. It was going to be seven Democrats, four Republicans, virtually all of us balked at that,” Upton said. “So the Democrats moved. … I think it's going to be fair. It should get a good number of votes.”
“The 10 people that are there, are going to subpoena a number of folks,” he added. “I suspect… it's important to get the truth and find out how widespread this thing was and what can we do to make sure it never happens again.”
Upton also argued that the GOP will suffer in 2024 if it doesn’t maintain a “Big Tent” as a party.
“We are not going to win unless we are a ‘Big Tent’,” he said. “And we are not going to win unless we add to our base, not subtract from it. Certainly in '24.”
“I have never been afraid to be for or against a particular president regardless of party and trying to get things done,” he added. “That has always been my mission. And I know that, as you look to the future, we have to have independent voices, particularly from purple states or districts. You can't be a rubber stamp. What works in southwest Michigan is entirely different than what happens in, you know, Plano, Texas.
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