Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the former House Republican conference chair, sharply criticised a member of her own party on Wednesday after he called for a police officer involved in the shooting death of one of the attackers who stormed the US Capitol to be named publicly.
Her comments came after Rep Paul Gosar demanded to know why the the name of the officer involved in the shooting of Ashli Babbitt, one of four rioters who died during the events of 6 January, had not been disclosed by FBI Director Christopher Wray during his testimony before the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday.
“It’s disturbing. The Capitol Police officer that did that shooting appeared to be hiding, lying in wait and then gave no warning before killing her,” Mr Gosar said on Tuesday.
His comments provoked a fiery response from Ms Cheney, one of just a handful of House Republicans who supported former President Donald Trump’s impeachment after the riot, on Twitter.
“On January 6, as the violent mob advanced on the House chamber, I was standing near @RepGosar and helped him open his gas mask. The Capitol Police led us to safety. It is disgusting and despicable to see Gosar lie about that day and smear the men and women who defended us,” Ms Cheney wrote.
The remarks by Mr Gosar, who has previously called the rioters “peaceful patriots”, fly in the face of actual video of the shooting, which was published by The Washington Post just two days after the riot. The attack, made up of supporters of the former president who sought unsuccessfully to halt the certification of Mr Trump’s election defeat, led to the deaths of four rioters and one Capitol Police officer, while two other officers died in the days following from suicide.
In the video, Ms Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, is seen angrily confronting armed Capitol Police officers inside the Capitol Building after rioters had overwhelmed several security perimeters and forced their way inside, breaking windows and causing extensive damage along the way.
After a few seconds of the video depict Ms Babbitt demanding officers withdraw from a barricaded door, she is seen attempting to breach the shattered door and being fired upon by an unidentified officer.
Ms Babbitt, 35, was struck in the left shoulder and later died from her injuries. In April, it was announced that the unidentified officer would not face charges.
“The investigation revealed no evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer wilfully committed a violation” of federal civil rights statutes, the Justice Department said at the time.