Former President Donald Trump suggested Sunday that the U.S. Capitol Police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol was the “head of security” for a “high-ranking” Democratic member of Congress.
That is false, according to a senior law enforcement official briefed on the matter.
The official said the officer who shot Babbitt, 35, was not a member of a security detail provided to a specific member of Congress, adding that the officer has not yet returned to duty.
Trump made the statements on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” program, hosted by Maria Bartiromo.
“Who shot Ashli Babbitt? People want to know and why,” Trump said.
Bartiromo asked Trump who he thought shot her.
“I will tell you they know who shot Ashli Babbitt. They’re protecting that person,” he replied. “I’ve heard also that it was the head of security for a certain high official — a Democrat — and we’ll see, because it’s going to come out. It’s going to come out.”
Bartiromo later said: “I want you to know that my team reached out to Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office to check on what he may know about who shot Ashli Babbitt. We have not heard back from Chuck Schumer’s office.”
Trump interrupted, saying, “I wonder why.”
Schumer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bartiromo made her own misrepresentations of the circumstances surrounding the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, saying Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, had gone to a “peaceful protest” and was shot “as she tried to climb out of a broken window.”
A representative for Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Video of the shooting showed Babbitt in front of a crowd of rioters trying to get through a door leading to where members of Congress were being evacuated on the House side of the building. The Justice Department found that Babbitt had “attempted to climb through one of the doors where glass was broken out.”
The Justice Department released a statement in April clearing the officer of any criminal wrongdoing.
The statement said in part that “the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber.”
Babbitt was a loyal Fox News watcher, according to thousands of tweets to Fox News hosts, NBC News has reported. Last year, she began to tweet with QAnon accounts and to use QAnon hashtags. QAnon conspiracy theorists subscribe to a false belief that high-profile Democrats and Hollywood celebrities are ritually sacrificing children and that Trump is fighting to stop it.
Her death has been touted as an unjust killing by some on the far right who have sought to downplay the violence at the storming of the Capitol, and they have demanded that the identity of the shooter be publicly released. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., has said Babbitt’s death was “an execution,” and he accused the officer who shot her of “lying in wait” to do so.