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Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) denounced his Republican colleagues' attempts to downplay the Jan. 6 insurrection as "absolutely bogus," during an interview Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union".

Why it matters: Several GOP lawmakers have attempted to downplay the Jan. 6 insurrection, which left five people dead. by saying the mob was similar to "a normal tourist visit" and calling pro-Trump rioters "peaceful patriots."

  • One lawmaker suggested the massive federal investigation into hundreds of suspects charged in connection with the attack — which the Department of Justice has labeled as likely its most complex investigation to date — as a national harassment campaign, per AP.

What he's saying: "It's absolutely bogus. I was there, I watched a number of the folks walk down to the White House and then back," Upton said Sunday. "I've got a balcony on my office. I saw them go down, I heard the noise, the flash bangs, smelled some of the gas as it moved my way."

  • "Obviously I was watching the live video that was carried on all the networks at the time," he said. "Talked to a number of the SWAT team members after it was over, obviously talked to some of my colleagues who were in the chamber."
  • "And I spent some time with Officer Fanone ... I saw first-hand what that was, and it did not change my opinion from what I personally saw on January 6th," he said, referring to the body camera footage of D.C. Metro Police officer Michael Fanone, in which he pled with the mob to let him go as he screamed in pain.

"I don't know what their motivation is," Upton said about members who have downplayed the riot. "But I know that as I talked to some colleagues, even this week, who were in the chamber, it was terribly frightening ... it was chilling what happened."

What to watch: House negotiators reached an agreement last week on the parameters of a bipartisan 9/11-style commission to investigate the "facts and circumstances" surrounding the Jan. 6 attack.

Go deeper

First person pleads guilty to assaulting officer during Capitol riot

FBI and ATF law enforcement push out supporters of President Trump as they protested inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

A New Jersey man on Friday became the first person to plead guilty to assaulting a law enforcement officer during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Friday's ruling could guide the sentencing of dozens of other cases in which rioters assaulted police officers on Jan. 6, AP writes.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker