WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 06: Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) questions Chad Wolf, acting Secretary of Homeland Security, appears before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on August 6, 2020 in Washington D.C. The committee held a hearing on "Oversight of DHS Personnel Deployments to Recent Protests."  (Photo by Toni Sandys/Pool/Getty Images)
'Asinine on every level': Keilar blasts GOP senator for Capitol riot claim
08:18 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

Supporters of then-President Donald Trump brought dozens of weapons to Washington on the day of the insurrection, according to the Justice Department, undermining claims from at least one Republican senator who said the attack wasn’t an “armed insurrection,” according to a CNN review of court records.

Some of the weapons that were confiscated had been seen being used inside the US Capitol including a baseball bat, a fire extinguisher, a wooden club, a spear, crutches, a flagpole, bear spray, mace, chemical irritants, stolen police shields, a wooden beam, a hockey stick, a stun gun, and knives.

Many of these weapons were used to attack police officers who were protecting the Capitol.

In this photo submitted in court filings by the Department of Justice, a rioter throws a sharpened pole at Capitol Police Officers.

One leading theory into the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick is that the suspects sprayed an irritant, perhaps bear spray, that caused Sicknick to suffer a fatal reaction, a US official told CNN. Federal investigators are narrowing their suspects in the murder probe.

The hand-to-hand combat sent more than a dozen officers to the hospital, including some who sustained concussions and bone fractures. The former chief of the US Capitol Police said his officers fought off the armed crowd for about an hour before the rioters overpowered the police lines.

Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, made waves this week after downplaying the attack that killed five people and injured more than 100 police officers. In addition, two officers died by suicide in the days after the insurrection.

Photo submitted in court filings by the Department of Justice.

In an interview with a Milwaukee radio station, Johnson condemned the assault on the Capitol and said it was “reprehensible and never should have happened.”

But then he claimed that “edited” videos made the situation look worse than it was, and seemingly defended the violent mob.

“This didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me,” Johnson said in an interview with WISN in Milwaukee. “When you hear the word ‘armed,’ don’t you think of firearms? Here’s the questions I would have liked to ask: How many firearms were confiscated? How many shots were fired?”

Police said they found a gun on Christopher Alberts while he was exiting the Capitol. The Maryland native tried to flee but was restrained by officers, who also found 25 rounds of ammunition, according to court documents. Alberts allegedly told police he had the gun for “personal protection,” and he hasn’t yet entered a plea, according to court records.

Other Trump supporters who came to Washington but didn’t enter the Capitol were discovered with a wide array of extremely dangerous weapons, according to the CNN review.

This photo from court filings by the DOJ, shows eleven mason jars and related items were parts designed to create a Molotov cocktails, a dangerous incendiary explosive, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms concluded.

Lonnie Coffman of Alabama was arrested near the Capitol shortly before the attack and was found with what one judge called a “small armory” in his truck. Investigators discovered three guns, 11 Molotov cocktails, a crossbow with bolts, smoke bombs and a stun gun, according to court documents. Coffman, 70, pleaded not guilty last month to a 17-count criminal indictment.

Photo submitted in court filings by the Department of Justice

Prosecutors have not accused Coffman of participating in the attack on the Capitol, and his lawyer said at a hearing that Coffman was “innocent” of the charges.

Someone placed two pipe bombs near the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee headquarters, blocks from the Capitol. The FBI said the bombs were real but didn’t go off, and they have increased the cash reward for information about the bomber.

The nonpartisan fact-checker PolitiFact gave Johnson a “pants on fire” rating for his false claim that the rioters weren’t “armed.” Johnson’s office hasn’t answered CNN’s request for comment.