Rep. Steve Scalise, who was grievously injured when a shooter opened fire before the 2017 congressional baseball game, slammed the former FBI deputy director for expressing uncertainty about the attacker’s motive.
The Louisiana Republican said the comments by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe were “unbelievable” before outlining three points about the gunman in the June 14, 2017, shooting in Alexandria, Virginia.
Scalise said the gunman “came [to the baseball field] with a list of Republicans,” then he “verified [the congressmen] were Republicans before shooting,” and “was in the Facebook group ‘Terminate the Republican Party.'”
“[The motive is] a real mystery,” he quipped in conclusion.
Unbelievable. Andrew McCabe says the FBI isn’t sure why we were attacked playing baseball.
– The gunman came with a list of Republicans
– He verified we were Republicans before shooting
– He was in the Facebook group “Terminate the Republican Party”
A real mystery.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) June 15, 2021
McCabe, who served as FBI deputy director from 2016 to 2018, and was acting director of the bureau from May to August in 2017, said he was “not sure” of the gunman’s reason for the ambush.
“[Attorney General Merrick Garland] did it very carefully by saying the shooting by someone who committed the shooting only after he confirmed that the players were Republicans,” McCabe said Tuesday on CNN, referencing Garland’s reference to the congressional baseball attack when discussing new Justice Department initiatives combating domestic extremism.
“So, I think that reflects at the fact that the FBI still doesn’t exactly know what that shooter was up to. They never really uncovered the sort of detailed evidence that laid out a specific plot or an objective, but it is undeniable that he was targeting Republicans,” he added.
During the Republican practice ahead of the annual congressional baseball game, an annual summer charity event that pits Democratic and GOP members of Congress on opposing baseball teams, Scalise and others were shot by a man with a rifle.
In June 2017, James Hodgkinson, a man from Illinois living out of a van in Alexandria, opened fire at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park after asking GOP Rep. Jeff Duncan, who left practice early, if the players were Republicans or Democrats. Hodgkinson struck Scalise in the hip, hit lobbyist Matt Mika in the chest, and injured two U.S. Capitol Police officers, Crystal Griner and David Bailey. Scalise nearly bled to death and required multiple surgeries before returning to Congress.
Hodgkinson, an avid liberal and supporter of Democratic presidential primary candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, was killed by law enforcement. He had posted on Facebook that “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.” and joined other groups such as “Terminate The Republican Party” and “Join The Resistance Worldwide!!”
Scalise criticized the FBI’s handling of the case in recent weeks, blasting the bureau’s decision to designate the shooting as “suicide by cop.”
“This was not ‘suicide by cop.’ Anybody who’s studied the police report, who was there on the ball field that day, all of us know what happened,” he said on Fox News on April 24 of this year. “He went to that ball field to target and kill Republicans. He made it clear that was what his intention was. He actually had a list of Republican members of Congress in his pocket who he was targeting to kill.”
The FBI quietly conceded last month the 2017 shooting was classified as “domestic terrorism” carried out by a “domestic violent extremist” who targeted Republicans.
The FBI told the Washington Examiner the bureau’s “understanding” of domestic terrorism continues to “evolve,” pointing to the new developments such as a joint report conducted by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security where the “domestic terrorism” language first appeared, as evidence the shooting would have been investigated as an incident of domestic terrorism had it occurred in 2021.
“The FBI’s understanding of domestic violent extremism continues to evolve, just as the domestic terrorism threat is persistent and evolving. Many of these violent extremists who have committed attacks in the U.S., much like the shooter at Simpson Field in 2017, appear to have been motivated and inspired by a mix of ideological, socio-political goals, and personal grievances against their targets,” the FBI spokesperson said. “In this case, the FBI considers the Simpson Field shooting an act of domestic terrorism, under the umbrella of domestic violent extremism. Were the same tragic events to occur today, the FBI would open a domestic terrorism investigation into the perpetrator. [Jill Sanborn, the executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch] said as much during her recent congressional testimony. This conclusion, along with the assessment of the attack, is included in the joint FBI DHS report.”
McCabe, who now serves as a contributor at CNN, was fired from the FBI in early 2018. He later sued the Justice Department for wrongful termination in the hopes of regaining his job and collecting back pay, alleging former President Donald Trump was behind a scheme to force him out just before he was set to retire.
A federal judge ruled in September McCabe’s lawsuit should be allowed to move toward discovery, rejecting the Trump administration’s attempt to dismiss the case.
Author : Carly Roman