It's fair to say Rolling Stone's report this week on the Jan. 6 attack has jolted Capitol Hill, at least a little. The new reporting, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, alleges that several members of Congress "were intimately involved in planning both Trump's efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent."
As the article circulated yesterday, some congressional Democrats raised the prospect of expelling Republican members who may have played a role in the attack, and several far-right lawmakers issued written denials, insisting they were not responsible for the insurrectionist riot.
Among those issuing denials was Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, who disputed the accuracy of Rolling Stone's reporting. But as AL.com reported late yesterday, that's not all the congressman said.
The congressman said he could not say whether his staff interacted with two anonymous Rolling Stone sources -- only identified as an organizer and a planner of the Jan. 6 rally and other protests -- because he had not spoken to them about it. "Quite frankly, I'd be proud of them if they did help organize a First Amendment rally to protest voter fraud and election theft," Brooks said of his staff.
It amazes me that Brooks thinks such rhetoric serves him well. Won't this serve as an invitation for the Jan. 6 committee's investigators to spend some quality time with the congressman's staff?
Let's not forget that the Alabaman — who's also currently a U.S. Senate candidate — has a deeply unfortunate record as it relates to Jan. 6. Circling back to our earlier coverage, after Joe Biden was named the president-elect, Brooks' support for Donald Trump reached a new level. The far-right Alabaman not only spent weeks insisting the election had been stolen, reality be damned, Brooks also vowed to spearhead the effort in Congress to contest the results.
He even appeared at the Jan. 6 rally near the White House and did his part to rouse the pro-Trump mob, telling the audience it was time to start "kicking ass" and asking those in attendance what they were prepared to sacrifice for the good of their country.
By his own admission, Brooks was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time.
The attack on the U.S. Capitol soon followed. Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell ultimately filed a civil suit, naming Brooks among the defendants. (By some accounts, the Alabaman avoided being served with the paperwork for a while, though the materials eventually reached the controversial congressman.)
This is the same Brooks who expressed tacit sympathy for extremists' motives in August, and who urged telecommunications companies not to cooperate with a bipartisan congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 attack in September.
If you're thinking the House select committee investigating the attack will probably want to have an under-oath chat with Brooks, you're not alone.
* Update: This post has been edited slightly for clarity since first being published.