February 24, 2021

Look how many Republican senators are still pushing crazy conspiracy theories, Alysin Camerota said by way of introducing John Avlon's reality check today.

"Look, January 6th is one of those days that gets worse the more perspective we have on it," Avlon said.

"Yesterday's Senate hearing was the beginning of getting more answers about how our Capitol was overrun by a violent mob trying to overturn an election based on the Big Lie. But hyper-partisan denial is a hell of a drug. It can cause you to see things that weren't there, ignoring the obvious, while always jones-ing for another confirmation-bias quick fix. Just listen to Senator Ron Johnson, who spent almost five minutes suggesting this was a false flag attack by cleverly disguised leftists."

He describes four different types of people, plainclothes militants, agent provocateurs, fake Trump protesters, and a disciplined column of attackers. I think these are the people that probably planned this.

"This is pathetic. The FBI has stated there's no evidence of an antifa involvement in the attack, while we know the rioters have repeatedly said they were doing what Trump told them. In addition to the members of the pro-Trump paramilitary groups that have been arrested and the flags and the signs. But we have come to expect no less from Johnson, who seems to reach for partisan conspiracy theories when confronted with uncomfortable facts."

This didn't seem like an armed insurrection to me. I mean, when you hear 'armed,' don't you think of firearms?

"Since he's just asking the question, here's the former Capitol police chief."

I witnessed insurgents beating police officers with fists, pipes, sticks, bats, metal barricades, and flagpoles. These criminals came prepared for war.

"And that's not counting the rioter found with a handgun and 25 rounds, or the man with what a judge called a small armory, including three guns and 11 Molotov cocktails. The news isn't that Johnson is wrong. That's just table stakes at this point. It's that in the face of evidence, he fans the flames of disinformation, and all that has an effect. A recent USAToday/Suffolk University poll showed 58% of Trump voters believe that the assault on the Capitol was a, quote, 'mostly antifa-inspired attack' that only involved a few Trump supporters. And Trump's handmaidens, like Johnson, are responsible for this continued embrace of unreality. Even Ted Cruz is now calling this --

The terrorist attack that unfolded on the capitol.

"Yes, that Ted Cruz who tried to delay the electoral vote count after the attack is now admitting it was terrorism -- at least, when he wasn't playing with his phone during the hearing. But a lot of right wing deflections are biting the dust as more information arrives. For example, Cruz's comrade Josh Hawley tried to establish a toehold on the conservative conspiracy theory that Nancy Pelosi delayed the National Guard response. No dice. But even for a guy whose lawyers have argued that he's not expected to tell the truth, this one ends badly.

There's no evidence that white supremacists were responsible for what happened on January 6th. That's a lie.

"Okay. because when Senator Amy Klobuchar asked, 'would you agree this attack involved white supremacists and extremist groups?' all the officials testifying answered yes. And that's your reality check."

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