Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) has defended the Capitol Police officer who shot rioter Ashli Babbitt, parting with former President Donald Trump's version of events.
Speaking on C-Span for its January 6 Views From the House show, ahead of its Sunday release, Rep. Mullin firmly defended the officer's actions in the Capitol as rioters stormed the building.
Mullin broke from Trump's condemnation of the officer and said: "He was the last person in the world whoever wanted to use force like that and he wasn't prone to do that.
"I know for a fact because after it happened, he came over. He was physically and emotionally distraught. I actually gave him a hug and said, 'Sir, you did what you had to do.'"
Mullin continued: "He was doing his job. He got put in a situation where he had to do his job because there were (House) members still in the balcony.
"And if you're going to present your weapon...and give commands and they still don't listen and they still approach, you don't have a choice. Either you have to at that point discharge your weapon in...self-defense or that weapon is going to be taken away from you, it's going to be used on you and put all of our lives in danger too."
His comments contrast sharply with the former president who has openly gone on the attack over Babbitt's death and turned the fatal shooting into a partisan talking point.
Earlier this month, Trump spoke about the riot in an interview with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo and claimed the officer who shot Babbitt was "a Democrat."
He said: "Who shot Ashli Babbitt? Why are they keeping that secret? Who was the person that shot an innocent, wonderful, incredible woman, a military woman?"
Trump added: "I've heard also that it was the head of security for a certain high official, a Democrat. And we'll see because it's going to come out."
Babbitt, 35, was an Air Force veteran who shared numerous social media posts about the QAnon conspiracy theory and also posted pro-Trump messages.
In a statement, the Justice Department said it did not find evidence the officer violated federal laws or information that conflicted with his account that he believed the shot had to be taken.
The release said: "Officials examined video footage posted on social media, statements from the officer involved and other officers and witnesses to the events, physical evidence from the scene of the shooting and the results of the shooting."
It added: "Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution."
Newsweek has contacted Rep. Mullin and Trump's office for comment.