Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) appeared to have a rough encounter with a young activist asking him questions on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
One video posted by Kristy Fogle, the founder of the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition, showed Jake Burdett, wearing a blue shirt with a quote from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Burdett's videos appear to show his side of the encounters with the members of Congress doing a public press conference outside. Fogle's video shows only the end of the encounter when Higgins pushes him.
"Rep. Gosar, can you talk about when you did that rally with the neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes?" Burdett says in his video uploaded to his Twitter account.
A woman with long brown hair in a grey shirt is seen walking up to him and trying to take his phone away.
"Let this man talk," Higgins says approaching Burdett.
Higgins puts his hands on Burdett for the first time, which prompts him to say, "Please don't touch me, please don't touch me."
"I'll make you a deal," Higgins says. "Let this man talk and I'll come talk to you properly."
"But you can't answer the questions," for Gosar, Burdett explained to Higgins.
At that point, a congressional staffer with a badge on his suit jacket walks up with another person to Burdett's right.
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"No, I can answer the questions," Higgins claimed. "Listen I respect you for your—"
"Ok, what's your name?" Burdett asked.
"Clay Higgins. I represent south Louisiana. All I'm asking you to do is peacefully stand by with your camera, and I promise you, look at me," Higgins says taking down his round sunglasses. "I'll come talk to you straight up and answer all of your questions. Fair enough?"
It was clear that Burdett was there for Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who has been accused of close ties to white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
Burdett asked Higgins if he knew about Gosar's family and political issues. Higgins promised he'd answer it. Burdett agreed.
In the second video, Burdett shouted questions to Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), including asking about the recent announcement of her divorce from husband Jayson Boebert. Mr. Boebert has been accused of several incidents of public anger. Neighbors of the Boeberts alleged last year that he speeds off in his truck and sometimes threatens their mailboxes.
After Burdett shouts the questions to Boebert, an older man with a beard approaches again, touching him.
"Please do not touch me," said Burdett.
"What is your name, sir?" the older man asks.
At that point, Burdett began asking that someone "get off me. Get off me."
The older man says, "you're on me. You're on me."
That's when Higgins steps in again.
"You're out. You're out," the Congressman says, grabbing the young man's arms and pushing him toward the streets.
"Aren't you a congressperson?" the young man asked.
Higgins repeated over and over, "You're out, you're out."
Burdett tweeted the videos saying, "I am currently being detained by D.C. Police for asking tough questions to far right (sic) extremist congressmen (sic) Gosar and Lauren Boebert at a press conference. Rep. Clay Higgins proceeded to assault/physically remove me from the press conference. For this, the cops detained me, not him."
Florida Civil Rights attorney Andrew Laufer responded to a tweet from Burdett asking if any lawyers felt it would fall under assault.
"Yes, assault, battery, and potential civil rights violation," said Laufer.
Burdett asked if he was barred in Washington. Laufer said he wasn't, but advised Burdett to file a police report as his first step against Higgins and said that he'd recommend a Washington attorney.
The press conference was on the public sidewalk outside of a public building, which gave the public more access to the members of Congress instead of a typical Capitol press room that is inside.
It isn't the first time a politician has appeared to be attacking someone. Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) body-slammed reporter Ben Jacobs, who was interviewing him for The Guardian at the time. The questions, in that case were relatively easy healthcare questions.
All of a sudden, Gianforte "seemed to just snap," Jacobs said.
Gianforte donated $50,000 for a press group and Jacobs agreed not to sue.
See the videos from observers below or at the link here.
\u201cI am currently being detained by DC Police for asking tough questions to far right extremist Congressmen @RepGosar and @laurenboebert at a press conference. Rep Clay Higgins proceeded to assault/physically remove me from the press conference.For this, the cops detained me,not him\u201d— Jake Burdett (@Jake Burdett) 1684354539
\u201c@RepClayHiggins pushing an activist for asking tough questions is supposed to be normal?\u201d— Kristy Fogle PA-C (@Kristy Fogle PA-C) 1684355759