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Mo Brooks wore body armor during fiery Jan. 6 speech near U.S. Capitol

Brooks told a Slate reporter he’d been warned things could turn violent, so he slept in his office and wore body armor.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama., speaks Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the "Save America Rally." (AP PHOTO/JACQUELYN MARTIN)

Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, slept on the floor of his office, instead of in his Washington D.C. condo, and wore body armor when he gave his Jan. 6 speech, telling the crowd that would go on to attack the U.S. Capitol that it was time to start “taking down names and kicking ass.” 

Brooks told a Slate reporter Tuesday that he did so because he’d been warned two days prior to the attack that there was the potential for violence. 

“I was warned on Monday that there might be risks associated with the next few days,” Brooks told Slate. “And as a consequence of those warnings, I did not go to my condo. Instead, I slept on the floor of my office. And when I gave my speech at the Ellipse, I was wearing body armor.”

“That’s why I was wearing that nice little windbreaker. To cover up the body armor,” Brooks said. 

Brooks did not tell the news outlet who had warned him, or who, specifically, could be a threat. 

The resulting attack on the U.S. Capitol injured hundreds of police officers and killed five people, including U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. 

Brooks’ comments about being forewarned of possible violence were given to the reporter to illustrate why Brooks thought the House select committee investigating the attack, which met for the first time that same day, should be investigating why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office wasn’t “doing a better job with respect to the Capitol Police and their level of preparation.”

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Brooks used his own story to explain that he was warned in advance, and questioned why Capitol Police weren’t better prepared. It’s unclear whether Brooks himself made any attempts to warn Capitol Police or colleagues of the potential violence. 

Brooks has said his “taking down names and kicking ass” phrase was meant to be about beating Democrats in upcoming elections, but the revelation that he was aware of the potential for violence, and took careful steps to protect himself in the days leading up to the rally, and during his speech, leave more questions unanswered. 

Did Brooks warn about the potential for violence, or only use that knowledge to protect himself? Why would he use such incendiary language to a crowd that he had been told could turn violent? Who warned Brooks, and who or what groups did they suspect could turn violent? 

Brooks’ office did not immediately respond to APR‘s questions Thursday morning. 

The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday rebuffed Brooks’ claim that he was performing his official duties as a congressman when he gave that Jan. 6 speech. 

Brooks, former President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Rudy Giuliani are being sued by Rep. Eric Swalwell, who was trapped in the House chamber along with numerous other members of Congress when the rioters broke into the Capitol. 

“The conduct at issue here thus is not the kind a Member of Congress holds office to perform, or substantially within the authorized time and space limits, as required by governing law,” the DOJ’s filing reads. 

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The House Administration Committee on Thursday also recommended that Brooks’ claim of immunity under the Westfall Act be denied.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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