Jun 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Cheney slams GOP Rep. Gosar for saying Capitol Police officer "executed" Capitol rioter

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) during a news conference on June 15.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) during a news conference on June 15. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) accused Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) Tuesday of lying about the Capitol Police officers who helped defend the building from pro-Trump rioters on Jan. 6, following Gosar's comment on the officer who fatally shot rioter Ashli Babbitt that day.

Why it matters: Cheney accused Gosar, who has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the insurrection, of repeating "disgusting and despicable" lies about what happened.

Gosar in a hearing with FBI director Christopher Wray on Tuesday demanded to know why the FBI did not disclose the name of the officer that shot Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, in the left shoulder as she was climbing through a broken window on a door into the Speaker's Lobby, which is located just off the House chamber floor.

  • Gosar accused the officer of "lying in wait" for Babbitt and giving her no warning before shooting. He also repeated a claim he made during another hearing in May, saying the officer "executed" Babbitt.
  • Babbitt's family is suing Washington, D.C., for records that would reveal the identity of the officer.

State of play: The Department of Justice announced in April it would not pursue criminal charges against the officer that shot Babbitt, since federal prosecutors would be unable to prove that the officer was not acting in self-defense or in defense of the members of Congress.

What they're saying: "On January 6, as the violent mob advanced on the House chamber, I was standing near [Gosar] and helped him open his gas mask," Cheney, the former House Republican Conference chair, tweeted Tuesday.

  • "The Capitol Police led us to safety. It is disgusting and despicable to see Gosar lie about that day and smear the men and women who defended us," she added.

The big picture: Gosar joined 20 other House Republicans in voting against awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the officers who protected the Capitol during the riot Tuesday, according to the Washington Post.

  • On Jan. 6, he was among the 147 Republicans who voted not to certify state election results, and he has promoted former President Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud on numerous occasions.

Go deeper: Florida has seen the most arrests linked to Jan. 6 Capitol riot

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