Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert was trying to make the point that the scales of justice are tilted against Republicans these days. He did it in the worst possible way.
“If you’re a Republican, you can’t even lie to Congress or lie to an FBI agent or they’re coming after you,” Gohmert said in a Friday interview on NewsMax. “They’re going to bury you, they’re going to put you in the DC jail and terrorize and torture you and not live up to the Constitution there.”
Last time I checked, it is against the law to lie to Congress. As CNN’s Laura Jarrett noted in 2017:
“Federal law makes it a crime to ‘knowingly and willfully’ give ‘materially’ false statements to Congress, even if unsworn – which is not to be confused with the more general crime of perjury for lying under oath.”
It is also – surprise, surprise! – against the law to lie to the FBI. It’s right there in the US Code – and carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.
The point that Gohmert was trying, inarticulately, to make was in relation to the arrest Friday of former Trump adviser Peter Navarro for his refusal to appear before the January 6 committee. (Navarro has said he can’t testify because former President Donald Trump has claimed executive privilege for conversations he had that day.)
Gohmert tried to cast Navarro’s treatment with the not guilty verdict issued last week by a federal jury in the case of Michael Sussmann, a Hillary Clinton lawyer accused of lying to the FBI over his role in that campaign.
Of course, Navarro, like Sussmann, will eventually get a trial by his peers – and have a chance to make his case for why he is innocent. (Navarro may represent himself in those legal proceedings.)
Making outrageous claims is, really, nothing new for Gohmert.
“Over the years, Gohmert has compared homosexuality to bestiality, endorsed a column likening Barack Obama’s presidency to Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship and warned anyone who will listen that evil-doers are making ‘terror babies’ who – like human time bombs – will be trained abroad only to return some day to wreak havoc in America.”
More recently Gohmert has pushed false claims about January 6, including that some of the insurrectionists were being targeted for prosecution. “Where is the outrage about young people being unfairly treated,” said Gohmert. “Joe Biden’s Justice Department is criminalizing political protest.”
He has also been a longtime skeptic of mitigation measures to limit the spread of Covid-19. When he contracted the virus in July 2020, he blamed mask-wearing. “I can’t help but wonder if by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, if I might have put some… of the virus on the mask and breathed it in,” Gohmert said.