(WASHINGTON) — Republicans on the House Oversight Committee said Wednesday they are planning a visit with some defendants who are being held in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer of Kentucky and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who also sits on the panel, told ABC News that the committee is planning to send a letter this week to lawmakers regarding the planned visit to the Washington, D.C., detention facility.
Greene said the visit would focus on the conditions of those jailed over Jan. 6, including what she claimed to be “reports of abuse.”
“They’re pretrial and they haven’t even been convicted and they’re not allowed to see their families, many times are not allowed to see their attorneys — the food has been a major complaint,” Greene alleged. “There’s been complaints of it tasting like cleaner.”
The vast majority of defendants charged in connection with Jan. 6 have not been ordered to be detained pending trial, but in the several dozen cases where individuals have been held, a judge has determined that there’s no combination of conditions that could be placed on them to ensure that they either wouldn’t pose a danger to the general public or risk obstructing justice in their case.
In late 2021, the U.S. Marshals Service conducted an inspection of the D.C. jail’s Central Detention Facility – a separate facility from where the Jan. 6 defendants have been detained — and said they would relocate roughly 400 inmates to a separate jail in Pennsylvania after finding the conditions there did not meet minimum federal standards.
An inspection of the facility holding the Jan. 6 defendants, however, “did not identify conditions that would necessitate the transfer of inmates,” the Marshals Service said in 2021.
Greene has previously visited some Jan. 6 defendants in jail where she saw they were “suffering greatly,” she said in 2021.
She was criticized in December for what she said was a “sarcastic joke” about the riot at the Capitol: “If Steve Bannon and I had organized that, we would have won. … Not to mention, it would’ve been armed.”
She said Wednesday that the jail visit would be open to members outside of the Oversight Committee but that a date has not been confirmed.
“We’re gonna try and see what it looks like … that’s part of what the Oversight Committee does with everything pertaining to the federal government, so we have some members that are going to hopefully tour that prison,” Comer told reporters.
The news comes as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy faces bipartisan backlash over exclusively sharing security footage from Jan. 6 with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who used the clips to try and downplay the Capitol attack — drawing a rebuke from the Capitol Police chief. McCarthy said Tuesday he released the video in the interest of “transparency.”
The Department of Justice said earlier this week that at least 1,000 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol assault, which sent lawmakers briefly into hiding. One of the people who breached the building, Ashli Babbitt, was also fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer.
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