The following is a transcript of a report from "Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson." Watch the video by clicking the link at the end of the page.
This past week, prosecutors announced the police officer who shot and killed an unarmed protester during the U.S. Capitol riots, Ashli Babbitt, will not face criminal charges. Also, the inspector general issued scathing findings... telling Congress that Capitol Police were ill-prepared, had faulty equipment and didn't share intelligence. Senator Ron Johnson, a lead Republican on the Homeland Security Committee recently spoke with me about still-lingering questions from the riots.
Sharyl: What kinds of questions are you asking?
Ron Johnson: I'm trying to recreate accurately what happened. Obviously, I've been a vilified because I'm asking these questions, because I'm pushing back on what I believe is an inaccurate narrative, that there were literally thousands of armed insurrectionists intent on overthrowing the government. I just don't think that's an accurate assessment of exactly what happened.
Ron Johnson: One, which prompted my question of the FBI witness, “How many firearms”— because when I hear “armed," I really think “firearms” again, cognizant of the fact that you can use other things as a weapon, I don't condone that, I've condemned all of this. But when I asked her “how many firearms were confiscated,” that witness said zero. The narrative is that there were thousands of armed insurrectionists. And they're trying to broaden that to make people believe that the 74 million Americans that voted for Donald Trump are somehow suspected domestic terrorists or potential armed insurrections themselves. And I think we have to push back on that narrative because that's just not true. The vast majority of people came to the Capitol— now, they're trying to put pressure on people like me to vote the way they wanted me to vote, and I didn't do so, but that's the First Amendment right— but there's much smaller subset that actually breached the Capitol and committed violent acts.
Sharyl: Do you think the First Amendment is under attack?
Ron Johnson: Yes. It's very dangerous for our democracy. I think freedom of speech is under attack. The cancel culture. You need to be able to express yourself. But I don't know why all of a sudden people are afraid of information. It started on university system. That was supposed to be all about free expression of ideas and teaching and exposing our young people to the broad spectrum of knowledge and of political thought. And now you've got to cancel culture occurring in the academia. Very few conservative professors. It’s all leftist, and probably at that point, even radical leftist, and it's filtering through our society in general. It's a very dangerous place for democracy to be in.
Sharyl: The FBI has really pulled out all of the stops to try to identify with photographs and the records they have everybody who was in the Capitol. They’re rounding up people and arresting them, bringing them here to Washington, DC for prosecution. On the other hand, do we still know much about who shot the rioter who was breaking through a window? Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed apparently unarmed. And I'm not sure I've heard the name of the person who shot her, apparently some sort of law enforcement official, being released or many details. Do you know any?
Ron Johnson: I don't know anything about it. We also don't know how officer's Sicknick, what his cause of death was. We do know that New York Times ran a false report, had to know that their report is inaccurate, I would think within days, and they didn't correct the story for weeks. What agenda are they trying to promote in terms of withholding that information from the American public? So what you're speaking to is what concerns me so much is unequal justice.
Sharyl: Well, one thing I don't ever remember, at least in my experience in 40 years, there being a fatal shooting of an unarmed person, and months later, we don't know the name of the person who did it.
Ron Johnson: No, I agree. It, again, speaks to unequal justice.
Sharyl: did you get some answers to what happened leading up to the Capitol riots?
Ron Johnson: I've gotten no response from either the former or acting Sergeant of Arms. We did get a pretty good response from Capitol police. Raised more questions, so we're going to go back and ask some follow ups and to get a briefing. But again, this is two months later. There's no reason why we shouldn't have more information.
Sharyl (on-camera): Regarding Ashli Babbitt’s death, prosecutors acknowledged what they call the tragic loss of life and offered condolences to her family. But they said they could not establish that the officer who shot her did not reasonably believe he acted in self defense or to defend members of Congress.