From the moment he prematurely declared victory on Election Night, as millions of ballots had yet to be counted, former President Donald Trump was determined to sow seed after seed of doubt in the American public's faith in its democracy.
For months, then-President Trump and his enablers falsely insisted the election was "stolen" and the will of the people subverted by Democrats working with elections companies to facilitate widespread election fraud.
But as numerous county clerks, constitutional experts, state legislatures, and conservative courts continued to refute the deranged conspiracy, Trump and his rhetoric grew more violent.
It culminated in a mob of his extremist supporters marching from Trump's nearby rally to the United States Capitol, where Congress was holding a joint session to acknowledge now-President Joe Biden's victory. Minutes after Trump told them to "fight" to prevent the lawmakers from carrying out their constitutional duty, his followers shattered windows, beat police officers, and infiltrated the Capitol, calling for the execution of any lawmaker they perceived as disloyal to Trump.
Now, six months after the unprecedented attack, Trump's supporters in Congress are frantically downplaying both the severity of the riot and the role their party played in facilitating it. A key talking point is feigning collective ignorance at the idea Trump's rhetoric incited violence at all.
Republican Congressman Andrew Clyde of Georgia described likened the riots to a "normal tourist visit." Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin described them as nonviolent.
But a new detail is once again calling these ridiculous claims into question once again, and it's coming from the first House Republican who vowed to contest the electoral votes in swing states Trump lost.
Republican Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama spoke at Trump's rally ahead of the insurrection where he told the former President's supporters:
"Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass."
Brooks has furiously backpedaled since being sued by his colleague, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, for his role in inciting the violence. Since then, Brooks has furiously backpedaled, claiming in legal filings that he only gave the speech because Trump asked him to. Nevertheless, the Department of Justice announced it wouldn't represent Brooks in court, because "[i]nstigating an attack on the United States Capitol would not be within the scope of a Member of Congress's employment."
Now, Brooks has stepped in it again, this time in comments he made to Jim Newell of Slate.
The Congressman said:
"I was warned on Monday that there might be risks associated with the next few days, and as a consequence of those warnings, I did not go to my condo. Instead, I slept on the floor of my office. And when I gave my speech at the Ellipse, I was wearing body armor. That's why I was wearing that nice little windbreaker, to cover up the body armor."
The revelation introduced a host of new questions for Brooks—questions people want answered.
It seemed to contradict the GOP's characterization of the riots as a largely peaceful event that suddenly got out of hand.
It's unclear if Brooks will be called to testify before the House Select Committee investigating the riots.