Two progressive Democrats are planning to join Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) as she leads a group of House lawmakers to visit a jail in Washington, D.C., where several Jan. 6 defendants are being held.
Freshman Reps. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) and Summer Lee (D-PA) are planning to join the congressional delegation as they seek to bring an ideological balance to Friday’s visit, according to Axios. The pair emphasized their presence is not meant to be interpreted as supporting Greene’s endeavors to paint Jan. 6 defendants as “political prisoners” but rather to highlight broader matters of incarceration reform.
“[Crockett and Lee] will cut through Republicans’ attempts to whitewash the dangerous realities of Jan. 6,” a spokesperson for House Oversight Democrats said. “[The tour is] nothing more than Speaker McCarthy making good on his promise to give control of the Committee to extreme Republican voices.”
The trip comes weeks after Greene and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) sent a letter to Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser requesting access to the district jails where several protesters arrested in connection to the Capitol riot are being held.
At least 20 Jan. 6 defendants are being held in Washington correctional facilities as of March 13, according to a list by the district Department of Corrections. Seventeen of those inmates are accused of assaulting law enforcement officers, with six of those already pleading guilty to those charges. Another two have already been convicted on assault charges.
Greene has long made it a top priority to defend those who have been arrested in connection to the Capitol riot and expose what she considers to be inhumane treatment inside the correctional facilities.
“Eyewitness accounts of conditions at the DC Jail Facilities — particularly regarding the treatment of January 6 detainees — paint a picture of despair, hopelessness, and a severe abuse of justice. No prisoner in the United States should be treated in this fashion,” Greene and Comer wrote in their March 9 letter. “The Committee is concerned by reports that January 6 detainees are facing a unique form of mistreatment due to their politics and beliefs, representing potential several human rights abuses.”
Greene visited inmates inside the Washington jail in November 2021, later releasing a report detailing what she called “evidence of abuse and neglect.”
The visit comes as Republicans refocus on the Jan. 6 riot, using their new majority in the House to flip the narrative that has largely been controlled by Democrats over the last two years. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Thursday met with the mother of Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted to enter the speaker’s lobby during the riot.
House Republicans are also gearing up to release findings of their own Jan. 6 investigation. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) said he plans to publish the initial findings from his investigation into the Democratic-led Jan. 6 committee as soon as Tuesday, according to Politico.