White House press secretary Jen Psaki says President Joe Biden has directed his intelligence community to study the threat of domestic extremism in the U.S., an effort launched weeks after a violent mob loyal to Donald Trump stormed the Capitol. (Jan. 22)
Rep. Andy Biggs hit back at his political foes and the media in an extended statement late Friday intended to establish he did nothing to incite the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The Arizona Republican – who voted to set aside election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania and has been linked to one of the prominent organizers of the pro-Trump protests in Washington – said he and other conservatives have endured death threats amid the continuing fallout from the riot.
Biggs cast the recent coverage of him as political, defamatory and likened it what he views as the unfair treatment endured by former President Donald Trump.
“All of the allegations are false. I do not know why the rumors started, why the media has repeatedly ignored the evidence, or how to state the truth more clearly,” Biggs said in his statement.
“This assault on my reputation is difficult to watch. The Left’s lies have resulted in death threats against my family and me, as well as several other conservative Members of Congress who’ve been similarly defamed.”
Much of Biggs’ recent scrutiny stems from a videotaped statement by Ali Alexander, who helped organize the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, which was one of several that brought together Trump supporters on Jan. 6.
Rep. Andy Biggs’ brothers: ‘Andy spread election fraud lies’
In his taped comments before the event, Alexander singled out Biggs, along with Reps. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and Mo Brooks, R-Ala., as having been integral to an event intended to put “maximum pressure” on Congress.
Biggs has strenuously denied he had any connections to Alexander. In his statement Friday he repeated that he had not “had phone, text, social media, or email contact” with Alexander.
Even so, he made audio remarks that Alexander played at a December rally in Phoenix. As The Arizona Republic has previously reported, a spokesman for Biggs said the taped remarks were made at the request of Gosar’s aides and provided to them, not Alexander.
Neither Gosar nor Alexander have responded to requests for comment.
Biggs’ denials, however, have done little to quell the call for investigations of him and other Republicans who were vocal critics of the presidential election results.
Election officials from both parties across the country have concluded there was no widespread fraud. Dozens of lawsuits fell flat for lack of evidence, and William Barr, Trump’s former attorney general, said there was no sign of significant fraud.
Still, in a Nov. 10 interview with conservative Charlie Kirk, Biggs and Gosar discussed what they viewed as an election tainted by fraud.
Biggs, who is in his third term representing the southeast Valley and heads the conservative House Freedom Caucus in Washington, focused on Pennsylvania, a state where Trump’s initial lead vanished as mail-in ballots were tallied, especially in perennially Democratic Philadelphia.
“Well, you’re talking about fraud, pure and simple. We’re talking about Pennsylvania is an utter disaster, and really your immediate remedy is to basically nullify Pennsylvania’s election,” Biggs said, acknowledging that “sounds drastic.”
Throughout the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, Biggs called for a forensic audit of election systems in his own state of Arizona. And he has maintained that his primary intent all along has been to ensure confidence in election integrity, a point he said has gone unnoticed.
“Once the Leftists in the media generate a false narrative, it is so hard to prove a negative,” he said.
The Alexander tape is only part of a flurry of unwanted attention on Biggs in recent days.
Biggs’ statement noted that some have falsely suggested he led “reconnaissance tours” of the Capitol ahead of the rioting.
He has also been linked to other controversies.
Biggs has suggested in interviews that the rioters at the Capitol included people from the left.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that there were just pissed off Trump people there that had come in. And then there were other people that were definitely not Trump people,” Biggs said on Tucson’s 1030 KVOI-AM days after the riot. “You probably had some insurgents, you know, some antifa or BLM type folks … we don’t know.”
The FBI and the U.S. Justice Department say there is no evidence to suggest the loosely tied groups of “anti-fascist” activists known as antifa were involved in the Capitol invasion.
On the day police evacuated Congress from the mob, Biggs and other House Republicans were taped defiantly refusing to wear masks in a crowded room. At least three House members contracted coronavirus shortly afterward. It is unclear how they got it, but many quickly blamed GOP resistance to masks as contributing to the spread of the disease.
On Wednesday, Biggs’ two brothers sent The Arizona Republic a letter to the editor calling him “at least partially” responsible for the violence at the Capitol and urged his timely removal from office.
On Thursday, a reporter with NBC News noted that Biggs set off metal detectors at the Capitol but refused to stop for inspection by police.
On Friday, the left-leaning Campaign for Accountability asked the Office of Congressional Ethics and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington to investigate Biggs, Gosar and another member, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., for possibly inciting a riot and bringing discredit to Congress, among other potential violations.
Their allegations were largely based on social media and prior reporting.
Biggs, however, made clear he has had enough.
“My reputation as an honest man, who believes in this country and the rule of law, has been deliberately tainted by people who have no regard for the truth,” he said.
Follow Ronald J. Hansen on Twitter @ronaldjhansen.
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