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Rubio says January 6 committee is a "complete partisan scam"

Rubio: January 6 committee a "complete partisan scam"
Rubio says January 6 committee is a "complete partisan scam" 10:58

Washington — Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida lambasted the House committee examining the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, calling it a "partisan scam" that is harassing people as part of its probe.

"That commission is a scam. I think it's a complete partisan scam. And I think anyone who committed a crime on January 6 should be prosecuted and if convicted, put in jail," Rubio said in an interview with "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "I do not believe that we need a congressional committee to harass Americans that weren't even in Washington on January 6, that were not in favor of what happened on that day, have condemned what happened on that day, but they want to smear them anyway."

The Florida senator said the House panel has expanded the scope of its investigation beyond the January 6 attack.

"The purpose of that commission is to try to embarrass and smear and harass as many Republicans as they can get their hands on," he said.

Still, Rubio said those who committed crimes on January 6 should be charged.

"If you entered the Capitol and you committed acts of violence and you were there to hurt people, you should be prosecuted and they are being prosecuted," he said. "But the January 6 commission is not the place to do this."

In the course of its investigation into the events surrounding the January 6 attack on the Capitol, committee members have interviewed more than 475 witnesses and received over 60,000 pages of records, according to an aide to the panel. Nearly all House Republicans opposed the creation of the select committee last year, and the Republican National Committee on Friday approved a resolution to censure GOP Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who both sit on the January 6 committee. 

The resolution rebuked the two Republicans for "participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse." More than 700 people have been charged by the Justice Department for their alleged actions in the Capitol attack, in which five people died as a result of the violence. 

The founder of the Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia group, and 10 others have also been charged with seditious conspiracy for their alleged roles in the January 6 assault, the most serious charges that have been brought related to the riot. 

In court documents, federal prosecutors have accused supporters of former President Donald Trump charged for their conduct on January 6 of wielding weapons including Tasers, tomahawk axes, crowbars, flagpoles, baseball bats and fire extinguishers. Others have been accused of spraying police officers defending the building with chemical irritants.

The rioters who breached the Capitol building succeeded in temporarily stopping Congress from tallying state electoral votes and reaffirming President Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election, though lawmakers ultimately reconvened to complete the count once the violence subsided. 

While the assault was more than a year ago, Trump has continued to claim that Vice President Mike Pence could have rejected electoral votes from key battleground states where he lost, and alleged in a statement last week that the vice president "could have overturned the Election!"

Pence, though, rejected Trump's claim Friday, saying during a speech that "President Trump is wrong."

"The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone," he said. "And frankly, there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one American could choose the American president. Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election."

Rubio, too, said he does not believe the vice president has the authority to toss out state electoral votes.

"If President Trump runs for reelection, I believe he would defeat Joe Biden, and I don't want Kamala Harris to have the power as vice president to overturn that election, and that's the same thing that I concluded back in January of 2021," he said. "You know, when that issue was raised, I looked at it, had analyzed it and came to the same conclusion that vice presidents can't simply decide not to certify an election."

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