Updated Mar 24, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Two House Dems to attend visit to D.C. jail housing Jan. 6 defendants

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

Two freshman House Democrats will be part of a congressional delegation led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to the D.C. jail — where Jan. 6 riot defendants are being held.

Driving the news: A spokesperson for House Oversight Democrats said progressive Reps. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) and Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) "will cut through Republicans’ attempts to whitewash the dangerous realities of Jan. 6."

Between the lines: Don't expect the kind of bipartisan camaraderie sometimes found at CODELs led by lawmakers with aligned visions.

  • The spokesperson said the "MAGA-led tour" is "nothing more than Speaker McCarthy making good on his promise to give control of the Committee to extreme Republican voices.”
  • “We are not going to allow lies to take away from the clear truth that insurrectionists attacked our democracy and Capitol,” Garcia tweeted.

The intrigue: Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pa.), another progressive freshman, had been slated to go but pulled out before the Friday trip. Garcia was picked to go in her place.

  • Lee told Axios on Thursday, before withdrawing, “First of all, nothing that I do is ‘joining’ Marjorie Taylor Greene. She’s not my leader. But I’ll keep you [updated] on … whether we are going to be visiting incancerated Americans.”

The big picture: Lee and Garcia aren't the only ones who want to harness the right-wing focus on the treatment of accused Capitol rioters as an opportunity to highlight broader issue of prison reform and prisoners' rights.

  • "I have a Bureau of Prisons oversight reform [bill]. I'll go to any federal prison and talk about that," Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), a more moderate Oversight member, told Axios earlier this month.
  • "If we're going to visit the D.C. jail, we should be talking to all the defendants and not just a subset ... unless that subset is being treated differently, and I don't think they are," Armstrong said.

The big picture: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday met with the mother of Ashli Babbitt, the Trump supporter shot and killed by Capitol Police while attempting to force her way into the speaker's lobby on Jan. 6.

  • And in another sign House Republicans are forging ahead with their controversial push to re-litigate the insurrection, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) told Politico he's aiming to release the first "findings" from his investigation into the Jan. 6 committee next Tuesday.

The bottom line: "Typically ... [prison] reform has been problematic more-so on the Republican side than the Democratic side," said Armstrong. "Sometimes it's like bizarro world out here."

Editor's note: This story was updated with additional reporting.

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