02.12.21

Chair Grijalva: Trump’s Impeachment Defense Lawyers Just Lied About Events at Lafayette Square – Comparison to Jan. 6 Attack is Offensive and Inaccurate

Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) released the following statement on Trump impeachment lawyers’ false claims just now that the violent law enforcement crackdown against unarmed civilians at Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020, was a response to violence among the protesters.

“What we saw on Jan. 6 was a well-armed violent insurrection against our form of government. As Mr. Trump’s lawyers well know, the premeditated violence and murder that took place that day bears no resemblance whatsoever to the events of June 1, 2020, when civil rights protesters exercised their right to peaceably assemble and were attacked to clear the way for his photo op in front of a church whose own leaders publicly deplored his actions. After two hearings featuring whistleblower insights and eyewitness testimony, we can definitively state that the violent law enforcement crackdown at Lafayette Square was not prompted by, preceded by, or justified by violence among the protesters on June 1. Republicans desperately trying to prevent any accountability for Mr. Trump’s serious crimes need to look elsewhere for their historical analogy.”

As Radley Balko noted in a July 23, 2020, column in the Washington Post titled “Real police reform begins with Lafayette Square,” the Trump administration lied about the events of Lafayette Square immediately following the public backlash:

[T]he administration and its defenders have relentlessly lied about it all. Within days, Trump retweeted an unhinged screed published by the Federalist, which accused the media of inventing the police abuses we’ve now seen on video. His campaign demanded retractions. […] Administration officials have claimed the protesters were violent and that law enforcement was under “siege.” This is contrary to a mountain of video evidence; statements from protesters, witnesses and journalists at the scene; and even statements from National Guard troops on the other side of the police-protest line.

Today’s lies, Grijalva said, are in keeping with the longstanding tradition of Republican refusal to accept the fact that the crackdown was never justified, was not provoked, and remains a standing rebuke to their claims to support “law and order.”

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