A day after statements in Senate hearing on Capitol insurrection, Ron Johnson issues questions ‘that must be addressed’

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs & Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing on Feb. 23, 2021, in Washington, D.C. The committee heard testimony about the law enforcement preparation for and response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has said “this didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me” about the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol.

But the Oshkosh Republican does have some questions about the violent events that shut down Congress for hours.

A day after Johnson’s statements in a Senate hearing defending Trump supporters gathered at the Capitol and suggesting the actions of police contributed to the violence, Johnson sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate committees posing a series of questions that he said “must be addressed.”

They included queries about overall security numbers, details of confrontations, numbers of shots fired by law enforcement and rioters, the cause of death of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and cost estimates to replace or repair damage at the Capitol.

He also sought an approximate breakdown of how many people attended then-President Donald Trump’s speech at the Ellipse, marched to the Capitol and breached the building.

In the letter, Johnson said, “it is important that we completely reconstruct what happened from all perspectives and vantage points.”

“All security-related questions as well as details about the breach and violent actions must be addressed and fully explained,” he added in the letter to Democrats Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Gary Peters of Michigan and Republicans Rob Portman of Ohio and Roy Blunt of Missouri.

Johnson came under criticism for his line of questioning during Tuesday’s hearing in which he defended Trump’s supporters at the Jan. 6 incident as pro-police and suggested a small group of “provocateurs” turned unsuspecting marchers into an invading mob.

“He seems to be in denial and somehow wants to blame everyone but President Trump for inciting this,” Klobuchar said of Johnson after the hearing.

During the hearing, Johnson read from an article that appeared in the conservative Federalist magazine. The piece by J. Michael Waller was billed as a first-person account of the beginning of the riot.

“The person who was quoted said things that are entirely counter to what I know to be true from law enforcement, by the way both in classified and unclassified settings,” Portman told CBS News. “So, I don’t think that’s helpful.”