CNN anchor Abby Phillip found herself regretting GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy his opinion about what really happened on January 6.
Ramaswamy was fielding questions at a CNN town hall at Grand View University in Iowa on Wednesday night when Phillip broached the matter of his recent comments about the Capitol riots and sought for him to clarify his view that it was an ‘inside job.’
More precisely, Phillip sought for Ramaswamy to revise his remarks to fit with the official narrative that January 6 was an ‘insurrection’ where Trump instructed his supporters to overturn the results of the 2020 election (of course, this never happened).
The transcript follows below, punctuated by necessary commentary:
PHILLIP: Let me ask you about something that you said at the debate last week. You used the phrase inside job to describe what happened on January 6th. The next day, Capitol Rioter, Alan Hoster highlighted your comments at his sentencing. He is going to prison for 11 years. Hoster threatened members of Congress. He brought a hatchet, knives, pepper spray, stun, batons, tactical gear to the US Capitol. Are you concerned that a convicted felon like that is now promoting your comments in court?
Just to note, this is a dishonest question known as “poisoning the well.” It insinuates that because an individual committed a crime on January 6 that someone questioning the official narrative about what happened on that day supports the crime. It is a perverse form of argument by anecdote or argumentum ad hominem.
Vivek Ramaswamy responded:
RAMASWAMY: So here’s my concern, Abby, and I want to tell you guys where I’m at. If you had told me — it’s close to three years ago that January 6th, 2021 happened — if you had told me three years ago, back when I was a biotech CEO, not steeped in this world, I was just consuming passive media but was focused on my world of developing medicines. If you had told me that January 6th was in any way an inside job, the subject of government entrapment, I would’ve told you that was crazy talk, fringe conspiracy theory nonsense. I can tell you now, having gone somewhat deep in this, it’s not. I mean the reality is this, we do have a government, first of all, we have to acknowledge that has lied to us systematically over the last several years about the origin of COVID-19, about the Hunter Biden laptop that we were told was false by 51 CIA experts and otherwise, before we now know that it was true, you can go straight down the list. The Trump-Russia disinformation collusion hoax, all of it. Now we come to January 6th. The reality is we know that there were federal law enforcement agents in that field. We don’t know how many. I think it’s shame, if I may finish this answer. This is really I important now…
Abby Phillip begins her crosstalk to start policing Vivek Ramaswamy’s answer in front of the CNN audience. But there is not a single untrue thing that he has said.
PHILLIP: I’m going to go ahead and interrupt you here because you’re saying that…
Here, Phillip acknowledges that she is “interrupting” Ramaswamy, who retorts.
RAMASWAMY: I know the establishment doesn’t approve this message…
The CNN anchor continued with her rebuttal and added a dismissive chortle in her answer, while Vivek insisted that the matter was “important to talk about.” The crowd applauded Vivek loudly as he tried to get his voice heard over her interruptions.
PHILLIP: You’re saying that there were federal agents… (Vivek affirms). You’re saying that there were federal agents in the pad on January 6. There is no evidence that there were federal agents in the crowd on January 6th.
Phillip’s response here is shameful, first of all, because it is patently false. According to court documents, at least twenty FBI and ATF agents were embedded around the capitol building on January 6. There are multiple videos, among the limited number that have been made public, of undercover police officers on January 6 — some of them even urging the protesters to ‘go to the Capitol.’
A Congressman recently stated there were “at least 200” undercover federal agents in the crowd on January 6; including official FBI agents and human assets. FBI Director Christopher Wray has refused to give the number of federal agents that were in the crowd on January 6 after repeatedly being questioned on the matter.
Phillip goes into high gear now trying to shut down Ramaswamy as he tried to make his case to an obviously receptive audience who might be hearing the counter-argument for the first time.
RAMASWAMY: So why before congressman pressed on what the number was, they didn’t say there were none. They just couldn’t say how many there were.
PHILLIP: So you’re saying that you have not seen any evidence that there we’ve seen multiple…
RAMASWAMY: So we’ve seen multiple informants suggesting that there were we, we know people were FBI informants. So we’re asking you, is there…
PHILLIP: Is there any evidence…
RAMASWAMY: I finish, come back…
PHILLIP: Question. Let me clarify…
RAMASWAMY: Because I know it is very uncomfortable for you.
PHILLIP: I’m going to clarify my question because I know this is uncomfortable should
RAMASWAMY: Many people, but we have to do the truth
PHILLIP: Here. I’m going to clarify my question. I want to make sure that you understand what I’m asking.
RAMASWAMY: Oh, I understand this deeply and I told you I was working, working three years ago. I’m not there
PHILLIP: Now. Where’s the evidence? Yes. Where’s the evidence that the government had an inside job…
RAMASWAMY: I’m going to tell you what an inside job is.
PHILLIP: Federal agents in the crowd on January 6…
RAMASWAMY: I’m not going to let you put words in my mouth, I’m going to put my words in my mouth and I’m going to tell you what I mean by…
PHILLIP: There is the evidence that the government was involved in entrapment planning or executing January 6th.
RAMASWAMY: I’m going to give you hard facts and if I may, Abby, I know this’s going to be a little uncomfortable, but we’re going to go through this and you can push back on it after and you can push back on that. And let’s do this fairly, why did they suppress footage of now what’s been released, 200 hours of footage of shooting rubber bullets into that crowd, shooting tear gas into that crowd. You didn’t see that before. You saw what the response was to that. Now you see footage coming out of actually rolling out the red carpet for Capitol Police allowing in right through the front door.
The audience applauds, because several people have seen the videos showing Capitol Police officers holding the doors open for protesters or otherwise standing idly by as they penetrated the Capitol building. Phillip again pushes back with a dishonest talking point.
PHILLIP: Mr. Ram— again, the vast majority of the footage evidence shows… police officers being overrun by violent rioters. That’s what the footage shows. You can’t cherry pick…
The crosstalk here is non-stop because Phillip will not let Ramaswamy answer the question. It’s even worse because she is the one cherry-picking the footage that is publicly available. Out of more than 40,000 hours of footage available, only about 200 hours has been released thus far, despite Congressional promises to the contrary. Thus, she cannot possibly know what the “majority of footage shows.” Beyond that point, there are hours of footage of peaceful protesters walking around the Capitol building, taking pictures and merely observing the events, and only a fraction have been charged with violent offenses.
None of the January 6 protesters were charged with homicide and only a handful were charged with “insurrection.”
Ramaswamy then makes the argument that the January 6 riot was a classic case of “entrapment.”
RAMASWAMY: Cherry picking was the government, not me. Release the whole thing. And let just finish one thing too. This is super important as a topic. So I think there’s a civil libertarian issue of our time when we are talking Whitmer’s kidnapping. I want to be really clear on this. It’s the same issue in the same FBI, same even part of the FBI, three people who were in an alleged plot to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer were acquitted at the end of trial because it was entrapment. That is government agents put them up to do something they otherwise wouldn’t have done. They gave him credit cards with spending limits of up to $5,000, encouraged them to buy munitions plan something they weren’t otherwise willing to plan so much. And I want people at home to know this, especially CNN viewers to know this, that one of the jurors went to those defendants and apologized afterwards, gave them a hug, apologized seeing what the government had put a poor guy up to who had to go to some Mexican restaurant across the street to get hot water.
These people were exploited with credit cards up to $5,000. FBI agents putting them up to a kidnapping plot that we were told was true but was entrapment. Same thing with the Capitol Police letting many of those people..
Abby Phillip can continue her track record of dissembling however she likes, but Ramaswamy laid out only a fraction of the case that the FBI and Capitol Police, as well as D.C. power players like Mayor Muriel Bowser and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, allowed the riot to take place in order to disrupt the election challenges and to frame Donald Trump for an “insurrection.”
There is further support for this argument: The Department of Justice is prosecuting a highly flawed case against former president Donald Trump for the events of January 6, thereby committing election interference.