On Tuesday, Aug. 4, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, chaired by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), held a hearing titled, The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence, where despite testimony and evidence presented on the violence in the riots around the country, Democrats attempted to deny and debunk it, Fox News reported.

The audience’s argument

Cruz began the hearing by condemning the violence perpetrated by anarchist and Marxist groups and pointing out the difference between peaceful protest and using protests as a shield to carry out an agenda of violence and destruction.

At the end of his speech he played a video that compares the great changes achieved by figures like Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi who in violent times responded firmly but peacefully to achieve their goals.

The images of violence, destruction, death, chaos, and looting that have been experienced in different cities of the United States, particularly in Portland, as a result of the protests over the death of George Floyd show the exact opposite.

Cruz also slammed the Democratic leaders of these cities who have not done their job. Instead of putting an end to the riots that had catastrophic consequences for local residents, they took the police off the streets, praised the protests as “peaceful,” passed laws to defund the police, and accused President Trump of using the riots for political gain.

Cruz announced his Reclaim bill whereby people who have suffered physical or property damage can sue government officials who failed to act to maintain law and order and protect them during the riots.

He then recognized Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai), a senior member of the subcommittee who used her speech to disprove the facts presented by Cruz.

The Democratic point of view

Hirono said, “The title of this hearing should be the right to demonstrate peacefully without being beaten up by unidentified federal agents.” 

Hirono said peaceful protesters were attacked by unidentified federal security forces, abducted at night, and taken away in unmarked vehicles. She used two examples of people who were injured during the riots and members of the press who were shot by rubber bullets while reporting at the scene.

Hirono spoke about what happened in Lafayette Square on June 1. She accused the U.S. attorney general of “cleaning up” a peaceful protest so that President Trump could have his picture taken at St. John’s Church. However, the police chief in charge of Operation Gregory Monahan told Congress that there was no order from the attorney general and that it was not done so that the president could have his picture taken, according to a Fox News article. 

Hirono also used a video prove her point, although when Democrats initially accuse the feds of not identifying themselves, at the end of the video they contradict themselves by showing the badges of the agents.

Hirono said at least 200 people have been killed in recent years by white supremacist groups but that no deaths have been recorded because of the antifa protests.

She condemned the sending of federal agents to these cities, saying that it only made the situation worse rather than better. 

Witnesses provide evidence 

Deputy Director of Homeland Security (DHS) Ken Cuccinelli, along with Texas District Attorney Dr. Erin Cox, were the first witnesses.

Cuccinelli showed images of weapons confiscated during the riots including firearms, lasers, homemade grenades, Molotov cocktail bombs, and rocks that they used to attack federal agents.

In July alone, 277 federal agents were injured in the riots, some of them blinded by lasers.

Cuccinelli was upset by the way mainstream media such as CNN, MSNBC, and others, as well as the Democratic leadership, have characterized the federal agents, who risk their lives and physical integrity to protect not only federal property but also innocent people and their civil liberties.

Cuccinelli said his agents are trained to de-escalate violence and told of an incident that occurred in Portland during the riots.

A protester who attacked the Feds was arrested. Immediately after this person had a seizure. The Feds coordinated to clear the way and the medical team gave him medication to reduce his heartbeat and stabilize the person, who had just attacked their colleagues.

When questioned about the cases of abuse of force, Cuccinelli said that every time excessive police force is used, an investigation is opened, and he pledged to report the results to the subcommittee.

With respect to journalists attacked during the protests, he said that after a directive from authorities in Portland to avoid interfering with the press doing its job there, the protesters showed up the next day wearing black T-shirts with the word “press” and stood between the Feds and rioters who were throwing projectiles at them. This made the work of the agents difficult and was seen more as a tactic.

The hearing ended with the testimony of Andy Ngo, an investigative journalist who was brutally attacked by antifa, and university professor Jonathan Turley who has documented the origins of antifa.