‘TORTURE! TORTURE! TORTURE!’ CNN’s John Avlon Cuts Off Wild Interview With Capitol Riot Lawyer Screaming About Jail Conditions
CNN’s New Day went off the rails during a wild interview with an attorney for an alleged Capitol rioter.
The trainwreck segment took place during the show’s first hour on Tuesday. John Avlon, filling in as New Day co-host, interviewed Joseph McBride — the lawyer for Richard Barnett, who was photographed in a viral image seated behind the desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during the Capitol riot. McBride noted Monday’s sentencing for Paul Hodgkins — who pleaded guilty to a single charge of obstructing an official proceeding, and was given eight months behind bars — and said that his client would not accept a similar deal.
As part of his plea agreement, Hodgkins recognized Joe Biden as the President of the United States. Avlon asked McBride if his client would acknowledge that fact. The lawyer declined to discuss his client’s mindset, citing the nature of the ongoing criminal proceeding, but instead defended Barnett’s actions as being Constitutionally protected.
“My client believes that his actions were protected by the First Amendment of the United States,” McBride said. “That he showed up to peacefully protest, to petition this government for a redress along with throngs of other citizens. We all know what happened that day—”
“Just so I’m clear,” Avlon interjected. “Are you saying that attacking the Capitol is, according to yourself and your client, an extension of First Amendment rights?”
“No, I’m saying that there are people who showed up to attack the Capitol, there are people who showed up to protest, and there are people who showed up to protest that got involved with the greater events of that day,” McBride said. “And it is very important not to lump everybody in, not to define every protester that showed up that day as an insurrectionist — which, by the way, no one has been charged with.”
Avlon took umbrage with that point.
“I think showing up to protest and winding up in the Speaker’s office seems to be a different standard,” Avlon said. “You don’t enter the Speaker’s office as part of a violent mob, and just sort of end up there willy nilly. I think there’s a clear difference on that point.”
The CNN anchor cited an essay McBride wrote in which he argued that the federal government is like the Gestapo when dealing with its critics. McBride defended his position by making wild claims about the treatment of Capitol riot defendants ahead of trial.
“Like the Nazis, like the Soviets in the gulag, innocent men and women are being held in what we are calling D.C. Guantanamo Bay, pretrial, absent any finding of fact,” McBride said. “They’re being held for hundreds of days in solitary confinement. They’re being beaten, they’re being starved, they’re being denied medical care, they’re being denied the right to worship, they’re being cut off from their attorneys.”
Avlon asked McBride whether his client has been prevented from communicating with him. McBride clarified that Barnett has been released from prison while awaiting trial.
“These sentences and the decision of the Biden justice department not to charge insurrection would indicate this is nothing resembling anything involving Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany, obviously,” Avlon said. “But to belabor that point, if you went on a Russian television station to plead this case and make this point, do you think if an attacker broke into the Kremlin and sat at Vladimir Putin’s desk he’d be treated better or worse than your client’s been treated after attacking the Speaker of the House’s office?”
“If the media and the United States government does not want to hold itself accountable for the human rights violations that are taking place at D.C. Guantanamo Bay, then who better to hold us accountable than the inventors of the gulag themselves?” McBride said.
“That makes absolutely no sense,” Avlon said.
McBride pressed on.
“People are being tortured. Tortured!” McBride said. “Are you OK with people being tortured five miles from the White House?”
“You’re saying people are being tortured by the white house?” Avlon said. “I just want to be clear because that’s an extraordinary statement that would seem to be utterly un-based in fact.”
“Oh no, they are based in fact,” McBride said — without providing that basis. “And when the truth about the circumstances of confinement come out, you should hold yourself accountable for what you’re saying right now.”
The debate completely derailed when Avlon asked McBride whether those who attacked the Capitol should be held responsible. That set off a wild sequence in which the CNN anchor tried to pin McBride down on whether his client still believes the Big Lie that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election. From there, Avlon decided he’d had enough and cut off the segment.
“Mr. McBride, I want to thank you for coming on New Day,” Avlon said. ” But I’d hoped you would have a fact-based conversation with anything resembling a sense of perspective about an attack on our Capitol.”
McBride went out screaming.
“Torture is never OK!” McBride said. “TORTURE! TORTURE! TORTURE! TORTURE! TORTURE!”
“Keep yelling torture,” Avlon said. “We’ll stick with the facts.”
“The facts are torture!” McBride said, before being cut off.
Watch above, via CNN.
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