Who shot Ashli Babbitt, the pro-Trump Air Force veteran who was killed by police during the January 6 riot at the US Capitol building? The American people were told that it was a Capitol Police officer who fired the fatal shot. But Cockburn has stumbled across some information that points to a different explanation.
Sources close to and within the intelligence community tell Cockburn that Babbitt was actually shot by a member of then-vice president Mike Pence’s protective detail. The VP’s detail, of course, is provided by US Secret Service, not the Capitol Police. One person asserted to Cockburn over drinks in DC that this is ‘basically an open secret’ in the intelligence community.
Law enforcement sources suggested to Cockburn that the Capitol Police Department and Department of Justice have publicly identified the shooter as a Capitol Police officer in order to protect the reputation of the Secret Service. Cockburn also wonders if this isn’t an attempt to protect Pence from further anger or threats from Capitol rioters who wanted him to refuse to certify the results of the election on January 6.
A cover-up of this nature would also explain why the government hasn’t been forthcoming with other information about the alleged Capitol Police officer who they say shot Babbitt. Police officers who are involved in shootings are almost always identified publicly. The unnamed officer’s lawyer says that his client is being kept anonymous due to threats against his life. Babbitt’s family, however, argues that they have a right to know who shot and killed their beloved relative. Her husband, Aaron Babbitt, is suing Washington DC for access to records that would supposedly reveal the name of the officer.
Michael Brendan Dougherty floated the idea that Babbitt was shot by Secret Service on his Twitter account in early June, writing in response to Aaron Babbitt’s lawsuit, ‘I mean, at this point you have to suspect that it’s not a Capitol cop.’ He replied ‘SS’ when asked who he thought could have been responsible instead.
The video of Babbitt being shot as she attempts to climb through a broken window that leads to the Speaker’s Gallery shows a man in a suit jacket holding the gun. The Capitol Police do have plainclothes officers, but it is much more common for the Secret Service’s protective details to be spotted in suits while tailing the president or vice president.
There have been many other theories as to who may have shot Babbitt. Some on social media posited it could be Special Agent David Bailey, the Capitol Police officer who took down the Bernie Sanders supporter that opened fire on a Republican baseball practice. However, the Capitol Police issued a statement in February denying that theory:
‘As the investigation continues into the events of January 6, 2021, it’s important to correct misinformation some in the media have reported, and that’s been shared on social media. Reports identifying Special Agent David Bailey as the officer involved in the shooting in the Speaker’s Lobby are inaccurate. The Department will share additional information once the investigation is complete.’
Cockburn reached out to Pence’s team for comment and was redirected to the US Secret Service. The Secret Service had a full 24 hours to give comment. They did not respond.
UPDATE (7/1/2021 6:15 p.m. ET):
The Secret Service finally responded to Cockburn’s inquiry more than a full day after publication of this piece. A spokesperson did not issue either a confirmation nor a denial of Cockburn’s conversations with his sources. Instead, Cockburn was directed to again read the Department of Justice press release from April in which the DoJ announces it will not file any charges against the ‘U.S. Capitol Police officer involved in the fatal shooting of 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt.’