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A house divided

Republican congressman defends Capitol rioters, says Ashli Babbitt was 'executed'

paul gosar

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) claimed that Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot by police during the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, was "executed."

During Wednesday's House Oversight Committee hearing, Gosar asked former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, "Who executed Ashli Babbitt?" He made sure to first mention that "Babbitt was unarmed," and then "referred to her death as a homicide," reports Vice News. The Arizona representative invoked a similar sentiment via tweet. Prosecutors determined the officer who shot Babbitt will not face charges.

Gosar then went on to accuse the Department of Justice of "harassing peaceful patriots across the country," seemingly referring to those implicated in the DOJ's investigation. Five people died in connection with the Capitol riot, and more have faced charges such as violent entry and disorderly conduct.

Analysts were quick to weigh in, calling Gosar's comments a "new low" and "nauseating."

Gosar has "repeatedly been criticized by other lawmakers and outside groups for spreading conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and other issues," writes The Hill. He has also been named as someone who helped plan the events of Jan. 6, according to The Washington Post.

The defense of Capitol rioters was a general theme of the Wednesday hearing, wrote CNN's John King.

Watch the full C-SPAN video here.