Rep. Paul Gosar’s outspoken support for the rioters who briefly occupied the US capitol building in a recent congressional hearing has reignited calls by some Democrats for a censure resolution.

However, Gosar has in the meantime doubled down on his description of the rioters as “peaceful patriots” and the shooting death of a demonstrator climbing through a broken window as an execution. In his most recent action, he’s blasting the US Department of Justice for allegedly interfering with the Arizona Senate’s effort to audit all the Maricopa County ballots in search for fraud.

Rep. Gosar and several other Republicans vehemently defended the rioters who broke into the US capitol building during a recent House Oversight Committee Hearing. The representatives in the hearing asserted that police have been harassing the more than 400 people arrested for breaking into the capitol, beating police and ignoring orders to disperse. Stop the Steal organizers have referred to him as the “spirit animal” of their movement. . Gosar has said he’s proud of that designation, but says he has never urged or condoned violence, but merely said people have a right to defend the integrity of the US elections.

Gosar has long insisted the election in Arizona was “stolen” as a result of fraudulently cast ballots and manipulation of voting machines, although half a dozen judges dismissed lawsuits claiming fraud in the Arizona results. Gosar was in the act of urging the House to set aside the election results in Arizona when rioters broke into the capitol building — forcing the hasty evacuation of the representatives.

House colleagues have in the past criticized Gosar for his frequent tweets claiming election fraud and referring to President Biden as an “illegitimate usurper,” his appearances before militia groups that later participated in the riots and his frequent calls to action to fight election fraud.

His comments last week prompted several fellow representatives to support a censure resolution prepared by David Ciccilline (D-R.I.). A censure motion would not remove Gosar from congress or affect his participation in committees and votes. The House has censured only 23 members in its long history. The resolution would also censure Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) and Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ala) for comparing the events of Jan. 6 to “a normal tourist visit” and saying the demonstrators “marched peacefully and patriotically to make their voices heard at the capitol.”

The rioters injured at least 138 officers — 73 from the Capitol Police and 65 from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington — were injured during the siege, the departments have said. Injuries included bruises and lacerations, broken ribs, concussions, burns and a mild heart attack. One officer lost the tip of his index finger, several were hit in the head with baseball bats, flag poles and pipes, one lost consciousness after rioter used a metal barrier to push her into the stairs as the surged up onto the capitol steps. One officer — Brian Sicknick — died sometime after he was sprayed with pepper spray by the rioters. Two officers committed suicide in the days after the confrontations.

During the oversight hearing, Gosar stressed that the coroner’s report indicated Sicknick died of natural causes, although the corner said the events that took place during the riots were a contributing factor. Gosar also stressed that the police had not confiscated firearms from the arrested demonstrators.

In his most recent objection to the Justice Department’s handling of the issue of possible election fraud, Gosar wrote a letter to the Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan objecting to a letter expressing concerns about the conduct of a ballot audit ordered by the Arizona State Senate.

The senate hired a private contractor — Cyber Ninjas — to conduct a recount of more than 2 million ballots cast in Maricopa County as well as a review of all of the ballot machines used in the election.

The Justice Department letter said that “Maricopa County election records, which are required by federal law to be retained and preserved, are no longer under the ultimate control of elections officials and are not being adequately safeguarded by contractors and are at risk of damage or loss.”

The letter grew out of media reports that the ballots and voting machines had been left unattended during certain periods of time and that people with partisan connections had been given access to the ballots and machines in the course of the audit.

Gosar objected that the Justice Department assertions mirror claims by “left leaning” organizations — the Brennan Center for Justice, The Leadership Conference and Protect Democracy.

“Cribbing from these Leftist groups suggests you are more concerned with your political fellow-travelers than election integrity,” Gosar wrote.

He asserted the Maricopa County elections officials had been the ones who carelessly handled materials — including allegedly deleting an entire “database directory of election information.”

That assertion stemmed from a statement made by State Senate President Karen Fann, suggesting Maricopa County elections officials had somehow deleted a database before turning over the ballots and elections materials to the senate consultants, under threat of lawsuit. Former President Donald Trump in a statement had also commented on the alleged deletion saying “the entire Database of Maricopa County Arizona has been DELETED! This is illegal and the Arizona State Senate, who is leading the Forensic Audit, is up in arms.”

Republican Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer tweeted in response to Trump’s statement, “wow. This is unhinged. I’m literally looking at our voter registration database on my other screen. Right now.”

The auditing consultants subsequently said they found the supposedly deleted database in the materials Maricopa County had provided.

Gosar called the Justice Department letter to the Sen. Fann as a “attempt at intimidation, with the goal of convoluting this important audit…Unlike yourself, Congressman Andy Biggs personally visited the site of the election audit and we are confident in the integrity of the process and look forward to reviewing the results, no matter what is found. In a constitutional republic, the most important thing you can do is make sure the integrity of our election system is protected, free, transparent and open. That is what is taking place today.”

Peter Aleshire covers county government and other topics for the Independent. He is the former editor of the Payson Roundup. Reach him at paleshire@payson.com

(13) comments

cakeman

Arizona is "THE GONG SHOW" of the USA. Never seen so many crazies.

Vtrone

Gosar is delusional, unpatriotic and unamerican. The american people are not stupid, they know a violent attack on our country when they see it. Jan. 6th was an attack on our country.

Airwuf

You are quite correct about the American people. They know when agent provocateurs from leftist agitators and others were dispatched to instigate unlawful actions among the "legal" assembly guaranteed by the 1st amendment. I say Gosar is a patriot and a good congressman who calls a spade a spade...

cakeman

Like I said, never seen so many crazies.

Vtrone

Hummm, interesting that Gosar would claim "Stop the Steal" because of fraud in the 2020 Maricopa county elections when Trump's own campaign attorney, Kory Langhofer admitted to Maricopa County Judge, Daniel Kiley on Nov. 12,2020 in court, that Trump's lawsuit on fraud.... "This is not a Fraud case" and it is not a "Steal the Election Case." Either Trump's own lawyers are liars or Gosar is a liar and useful idiot. In addition, in 63 lawsuits of fraud in other states, Trump's own attorneys, Guliani, Goldstien, either admitted there was no fraud or could not present any evidence of fraud. Kinda sounds similiar to the false allegations by Trump 4 years ago where he claimed 3 million votes were illegally cast for Hillary Clinton and charged a panel with proving it, only to find that there was nothing to to find that would prove Trump's false allegations. If Gosar was a good, patriotic congressman, he would not be spreading already disproven lies that only serve to undermine our constitutional electoral system and our country.

Airwuf

Peter...you seem to be making quite a few assertions yourself. There are plenty of eyewitness accounts that counter your article's "assertion" that the people in and around the capitol on January 6th were "rioters". Who's house is it anyway???

Regarding the audit "assertions"...it does appear that you have drunk deeply from the wellspring of progressive, democratic kool aid.

scarroll

My dad would have said that this looney tune was missing on three cylinders and 2 quarts low on oil. Putin should be proud of this traitor.

pioneerfamily

Number of Airwuf's friends arrested 550. Number of leftists impersonating trumpsters arrested, ZERO. Ouch. Airwulf, math doesn't lie like you do.

Airwuf

Look up the definition of "lie"-" A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood". Observations are not "lies" and contradictory opinions to Mr. Aleshire's assertions kinda fits the description of this "discussion" does it not? The ridiculous notion that any "opinion" not yours is erroneous and void of consideration is the very grist of the leftist, progressive lack of civil debate. Ouch...you've been unmasked!! Btw...show me the sources of your so-called math.

cakeman

Like I said, never seen so many crazies. (Think I'll get a rubber stamp made just for Airwuf's posts)

Vtrone

Airwuf, when you posted your non-factual contradictory opinions, you invite others to consider and correct your false assertions with factual observations and opinions of their own. Facts are specific truths and one of those specific truths is that your right wingnut posts lack evidence and reality bordering on delusional. Webster's definition of delusional: "A false belief. a persistent belief that is a symtom of mental illness." Everbody is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own set of facts is true. The facts are that the Jan.6 insurrectionists who attacked our nation's capitol with the admitted intent to hang the Vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, kill Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and take over our constitutional U.S. government by violence, can only be labeled as killers and traitors. They are the ones that Trump, Gosar, McConnell, Mcarthy and the useful idiot trumpanzees republicans are defending.

Airwuf

Vtrone..are you appointing yourself the arbiter of whether my opinions are "non-factual" and "contradictory"? I'm impressed but I really must see your credentials.

And I also must see your attributions of the "facts" you speak of on Jan 6 and the "intent" of the patriots who's right to protest is enshrined in the 1st amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, was to hang, kill, or do violence to anyone! Your own set of "non-factual contradictory opinions" I'm sure. I'm sure you have a fun set of facts explaining the murder of Ashley Babbitt as well...

Vtrone

Airwuf, nobody has to be appointed an arbiter of facts, least of all you, in infering that WMI reporter Mr. Aleshire"s article is misleading and not true. You present no factual evidence to prove Mr. Aleshire is wrong. You also don't present any other factual evidence that my posts, as well as the posts by others are factually wrong. My credentials for posting an opinion contrary to yours is the same credentials that you have to post an opinon contrary to Mr. Aleshire's article and contrary to all other posts by other people. For you to think that you are the only subscriber of WMI allowed to post an opinion is factually incorrect. The 1st Amendment gives the Right to the people to assemble "peaceably" only..... not violently. The republican Jan. 6th attacks on the capitol police,on our congress, in an effort to destroy our electoral system, our U.S. government and set up a Trump Fascist Dictatorship, meets the definition of violent insurrection, rebellion or attempted coup. All are against the constitution and the law. You are again factually incorrect. Your delusion knows no end Airwuf. The Ashley Babbit shooting by the capitol police was investigated by the FBI and the Washington D.C. Metropolitan police, both concluded it was justified. Where are your facts to prove your allegations that she was murdered? Where are your facts to prove that the republican sexual predator, money swindler, racist, bigot,unpatriotic, authoritarian, Fascist Trump won the 2020 elections? The bigger question that now needs asked is, why republican politicians say they don't want to relitigate the past concerning the Jan. 6 violent, deadly insurrection but yet they keep trying to relitigate further into the past, the 2020 elections where all state election authorities,democrat and republican, confirmed were free of any fraud.

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