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A lone man stands in front of the Utah State Capitol building at a protest in Salt Lake City, Utah on Sunday.
Photo: George Frey/AFP via Getty Images
On January 13, the House impeached President Trump again, charging him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the Capitol riot. Meanwhile, federal law enforcement officers are still working to piece together what happened during the January 6 attack, identify insurrectionists, and file charges against them. Below, updates on the ongoing fallout from the riot.
To be clear, there does not appear to be any evidence that will happen, but this is nonetheless a chilling report from the Associated Press:
U.S. defense officials say they are worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, prompting the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event.
The massive undertaking reflects the extraordinary security concerns that have gripped Washington following the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. And it underscores fears that some of the very people assigned to protect the city over the next several days could present a threat to the incoming president and other VIPs in attendance.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press on Sunday that officials are conscious of the potential threat, and he warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problems within their ranks as the inauguration approaches. So far, however, he and other leaders say they have seen no evidence of any threats, and officials said the vetting hadn’t flagged any issues.
On Saturday, Defense One reported on the efforts to screen National Guard troops providing security for the inauguration, and noted that the Defense Department “broadly has struggled to get a handle on the problem of extremism, including white supremacy, in its ranks”:
A senior official told reporters on Thursday that the Pentagon has seen an increase in white supremacist beliefs among both active duty service members and veterans, but was unable to provide concrete figures. Several people arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol were current and former military members and at least one person arrested is a member of the Virginia National Guard. …
What is known as the Guard’s RUF card — their rules for the use of force that dictates under what circumstances Guardsmen may use force in the course of their duties — mandates that Guardsmen are armed only for their personal protection, [Major General William] Walker said. Some images of Guardsmen patrolling perimeters near the U.S. Capitol have shown them armed with M4 rifles, but with the magazine stowed safely in pouches on their vests.
The Washington Post reports police confronted him after they noticed his clearly visible handgun:
A 22-year-old Virginia man whose Facebook page features a photo from the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was arrested near the Capitol complex Sunday, and police said he was carrying three high-capacity magazines, 37 rounds of unregistered ammunition and a Glock 22 firearm.
The arrest of Guy Berry of Gordonsville, Va., was reported by D.C. police and confirmed by his aunt, who said she was his primary caregiver when he was a child and who asked not to be named to protect her privacy. The aunt said she saw Berry on Jan. 6 and knows he was not at the Capitol that day, when a mob of supporters of President Trump forced their way into the building to try to stop the certification of his election defeat.
Very few protesters showed up anywhere. The ones that did — often a handful at most — encountered fortified capitol buildings defended by police and National Guard troops. In several cases, the protesters were outnumbered by journalists. Though federal and state authorities were justifiably anxious the planned far-right protests following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, there thankfully were no reports of violence on Sunday.
The Wall Street Journal reports that “members of several far-right militant groups were charged or arrested over the weekend for allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, as investigators examine what kind of organization and planning might have gone into the attack.” One was Indiana resident and Oath Keeper member Jon Schaffer:
Schaffer, identified as a member of the heavy metal band Iced Earth, was arrested on charges of engaging in violence in a restricted building, disorderly conduct and other crimes, and was photographed wearing a baseball cap at the riot bearing the words “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member,” according to an affidavit for his arrest filed on Saturday. The Anti-Defamation League calls the group an “antigovernment right-wing fringe organization.” The affidavit alleged that at the riot Mr. Schaffer used bear spray on police officers.
The Daily Beast notes that Robert Gieswein, who was seen wearing body armor and wielding a baseball bat at the riot, has now been charged:
The Woodland Park, Colorado, resident was seen in photos wearing distinctive patches and military-style equipment on Jan. 5 and on Jan. 6 as he pushed through police barriers at the Capitol and confronted officers in the building alongside a number of rioters wanted by the FBI.
He is charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding a federal officer, depredation of U.S. property. obstruction of an official proceeding, and entering a restricted building with the intent to impede official functions. …
Gieswein’s Facebook page, now-deleted, also showed him to be a fan of right-wing militia groups. In November 2018, he posted pictures of himself flashing the “Three Percent” sign, an apparent reference to so-called Three Percenter militias, outside of Shooters Grill, a Colorado bar owned by Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO).
Per the San Francisco Chronicle, Daniel Goodwyn, a member of the far-right Proud Boys group, was also arrested and charged:
A San Francisco freelance web developer who calls himself a Proud Boy and has an extensive history of COVID denialism has been charged for his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
According to the [FBI’s] complaint, Goodwyn identified himself by his first and last name on a livestream posted by Baked Alaska, the stage name of popular right-wing agitator Anthime Gionet. Gionet was arrested Friday in Houston.
Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin, a county official in New Mexico, has also been arrested for his involvement in the siege, NBC News reports:
In an affidavit, a Metropolitan Police detective said a Cowboys for Trump videographer told authorities that after he and Griffin saw the group push past security barriers, they scaled the Capitol building’s wall before making their way to an outside deck. There, Griffin used a bullhorn to lead the group in prayer, the document states. …
In a Facebook post on the Cowboys for Trump page, Griffin later said he planned to return to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20 for a possible “2nd Amendment rally” that would include “blood running out of that building,” the affidavit says.
The same NBC News report adds that Bryan Betancur, who was seen in video carrying a Confederate flag inside the Capitol, was also arrested Sunday. The self-professed white supremacist “was on probation for a burglary conviction, was wearing an ankle bracelet, and GPS data showed he was in the area for three hours on Jan. 6, according to the documents.” Another suspected rioter arrested Sunday, Kentucky resident Chad Barrett Jones, “[appeared] to use a rolled-up Trump flag to smash a window in the Speaker’s Lobby, which leads to the House chamber.” He was identified by a family member who saw him in news coverage of the riot.
University of Kentucky student newspaper Kentucky Kernel helped identify fellow student Gracyn Courtright as one of the rioters. Courtright could be seen in video footage of the siege carrying a “Members only” sign up a staircase in the Capitol. She is also now apparently facing arrest, per the Kernel:
Courtright, a senior mathematical economics major and West Virginia native, entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 with other rioters as they took over the building[.] Courtright posted her presence on social media, where it was quickly recorded and reported by other users. Now, that online evidence has been used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to file an affidavit “in support of criminal complaint and arrest warrant.” …
The FBI also obtained direct messages between Courtright and an unnamed individual where Courtright says “I walked into the Senate like in the chamber where the desk are” and “idk what treason is.”
The witness then calls Courtright “embarrassing.” She responds with “It’s history idc” and then “I thought it was cool.”
Another suspected rioter facing charges, a South Carolina man named Andrew Hatley, reportedly took a selfie inside the Capitol in front of the controversial statue of former vice-president and notorious slavery advocate John C. Calhoun. WCBD News notes that according to the federal complaint against him, Hatley was using a mobile app which broadcasted his location to other users, and that data was used to help confirm that has among the rioters.
The Associated Press confirms that Trump campaign officials “played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to [a]review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president’s grassroots supporters”:
A pro-Trump nonprofit group called Women for America First hosted the “Save America Rally” on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, an oval-shaped, federally owned patch of land near the White House. But an attachment to the National Park Service public gathering permit granted to the group lists more than half a dozen people in staff positions for the event who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Other staff scheduled to be “on site” during the demonstration have close ties to the White House.
Read the rest of the AP’s detailed report here.
CNN reports that she the company temporarily suspended her account “for repeated violations of new rules the social media platform put in place following the violent US Capitol riot”:
“The account referenced has been temporarily locked out for multiple violations of our civic integrity policy,” the [Twittter] spokesperson said. As a result, the congresswoman will be locked out of her account for 12 hours. Greene, who has a track record of incendiary rhetoric and ties to the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, had tweeted a conspiracy-laden thread earlier Sunday about the Georgia Senate elections.
ProPublica has published more than 500 videos it pulled from Parler, the now defunct social media platform which was popular with far-right extremists. ProPublica, which arranged the videos on a timeline to form a remarkable video diary of the mayhem, notes that, “Taken together, they provide one of the most comprehensive records of a dark event in American history through the eyes of those who took part.”
That’s the conclusion of a new Wall Street Journal analysis published Sunday:
On Jan. 3, three days before the attack on the Capitol, Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the far-right organization known as the Proud Boys, shared a cryptic post on the messaging app Telegram: “What if we invade it?” The message was sent to his more than 7,000 followers on the app, with the first reply reading “January 6th is D day in America.”
The Wall Street Journal reviewed thousands of posts from the Proud Boys and their members across Parler, Telegram and Gab, the social-media platforms where they rallied supporters online after mostly being banned from Facebook and Twitter. The messages show the group repeatedly invoking President Trump’s rhetoric in the weeks leading to the Jan. 6 protest as they built momentum toward what became a violent showdown. …
The Journal’s review, which included now-deleted posts that have been archived by researchers, suggests the Proud Boys viewed Mr. Trump’s messages as a call to action.
The New Yorker has published a long video from veteran war journalist Luke Mogelson, who followed the pro-Trump mob into the Capitol and filmed the events extensively using his smartphone. One clip:
NBC News’ Ken Dilanian spoke with federal law enforcement sources about the probe:
As part of the investigation, the bureau is examining payments of $500,000 in bitcoin, apparently by a French national, to key figures and groups in the alt-right before the riot, the sources said. Those payments were documented and posted on the web this week by a company that analyzes cryptocurrency transfers. Payments of bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, can be traced because they are documented on a public ledger.
Separately, a joint threat assessment issued this week by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and various other federal and D.C.-area police agencies noted that since the Jan. 6 riot, “Russian, Iranian, and Chinese influence actors have seized the opportunity to amplify narratives in furtherance of their policy interest amid the presidential transition.”
State capitols across the U.S. had stepped up security in anticipation of armed protests by far-right groups and Trump supporters planned for Sunday, stationing both police and National Guard troops to defend against any attempts to repeat what happened at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. So far, the protests have been uneventful. The Associated Press reports that the protests held outside at least three state capitols were small and peaceful:
About two dozen people, several carrying long guns, protested outside the Ohio Statehouse, observed by several of the dozens of state troopers positioned around the building. Several dozen people — some carrying American flags — gathered at South Carolina’s Statehouse. And at Michigan’s Capitol, a small group of demonstrators, some armed, stood near a chain-link fence surrounding the building as state police walked the grounds and National Guard vehicles were parked nearby.
In Oregon, journalists outnumbered the protesters on Sunday morning:
And in New Hampshire:
As the New York Times points out, in light of the increased security and scrutiny, there appears to have been an effort to discourage people from showing up by some of the same ones who called for the protests in the first place:
People posting on right-wing websites and social media have called for supporters to march on Washington and all 50 state capitols on Sunday, with plans in Washington for a march to end at the White House. In recent days, however, as officials have strengthened precautions, some online agitators began to discourage people from turning out, making it unclear what to expect.
Indeed, the Washington Post reported Saturday that the potential threat of more violence from right-wing extremists has remained amorphous:
The extraordinary show of security at statehouses that are normally lightly guarded reflected the anxious state of the country ahead of planned demonstrations. It came just days before the presidential inauguration, an event normally rich with pageantry but one that this year has become a possible pretext for insurrection.
Yet even as security forces conspicuously raised their profile in cities far from the nation’s capital, the exact nature of the threat remained fluid. Officials acknowledged they did not know what form the next burst of violent right-wing extremist, white-supremacist, anti-government grievance might take — or where it might strike.
There is also concern that the biggest threat is now from individuals, not groups, notes the Wall Street Journal:
“They’re not going to go marching up to some building, carrying a flag and using a bullhorn,” a former FBI agent who has worked on domestic terrorism cases said of the most worrisome current threat. “These are people that honestly are intent on doing what it is they’re going to do under the cover of darkness. They’re going to do it in a way that people are not going to see them coming.”
The fact that President Trump will no longer be president when his impeachment trial takes place has become a central sticking (and talking) point for many members of the Senate GOP, according to the Wall Street Journal:
Many Republicans are gravitating toward a technical argument: The Senate lacks jurisdiction to try him after he leaves office, they maintain, because he will be a private citizen. That could allow the Republicans to thread a political needle, voting against Mr. Trump’s conviction without having to defend his conduct, people familiar with the discussions say …
That argument is countered, however, by Democrats who say Mr. Trump shouldn’t be able to evade political sanction simply because his offenses occurred in the twilight of his term. They cite several historical examples where impeached officials, including judges, faced Senate trials after leaving office.
Members of the pro-Trump mob who joined the siege at the Capitol aren’t just getting arrested and fired, they are also getting deplatformed from dating apps, the Washington Post reported Saturday:
Tinder, Bumble, and other dating apps are using images captured from inside the Capitol siege and other evidence to identify and ban rioters’ accounts, causing immediate consequences for those who participated as police move toward making hundreds of arrests.
Women and men have in some cases also turned the dating apps into hunting grounds, striking up conversations with rioters, gathering potentially incriminating photos or confessions, then relaying them to the FBI. Using the dating apps to pursue members of the mob has become a viral pursuit, with tips shared on Twitter and some women changing their location on the dating apps to Washington, D.C., in hopes of ensnaring a potential suspect.
Bumble also temporarily disabled its politics filter last week, as the Verge’s Jon Porter noted on Friday:
The feature allows users to identify and filter matches with options such as “Apolitical,” “Moderate,” “Liberal,” and “Conservative.” In a statement given to Mashable, Bumble said it had temporarily removed the feature in the U.S. to “prevent misuse and abuse.”
News of the change emerged after Bumble users reported seeing individuals on the app who appeared to have participated in the riots at the Capitol building last week. On January 7, Twitter user Alia Awadallah reported seeing “dozens” of men on dating apps that appeared to be in Washington, D.C., on the day of the riots.
Bloomberg surveys the effort by the FBI and others to identify and charge people who stormed the U.S. Capitol, which has included examining a massive amount of imagery, video footage, and social-media messages:
[D]etails gleaned from court documents reveal how the FBI has quickly identified more than 275 suspects — the number is expected to grow quickly — related to last week’s Capitol riot. More than 98 have been arrested, often with the aid of video taken or social media posted by the participants themselves. And investigators, academics and citizen sleuths are still combing though broadcast footage and websites such as Twitter Inc., YouTube and even archives of the now-defunct Parler platform favored by right-wing activists.
More than 140,000 pieces of digital media have been obtained by the FBI. “And we are scouring every one for investigative and intelligence leads,” Steven D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, told reporters. “We continue to ask for more.” …
Arrest documents speak to the clues left in images, detailing all the co-workers and acquaintances who’ve led authorities to suspects after spotting their images in news reports or on social media.
As NBC News’ Kevin Collier points out, many of the rioters arrested thus far did not made identifying them very hard:
While federal law enforcement has significant legal and technical resources at its disposal — like the ability to get warrants to phone or tech companies to see whose phones were in an area at a specific time, for instance — that’s proven unnecessary for a number of people who have been charged so far.
Many were documented by journalists, then easily identified online. Adam Johnson, charged with theft of government property after a Getty photograph of him smiling as he carried off Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s lectern went viral, also posted a photo of himself that day to his Facebook account. Wearing the same clothing and distinctive hat, in front of a sign that says “Closed to all tours,” Johnson captioned the photo “No.”
Selfies inside the Capitol were common, and a number of people who took them have been charged with knowingly entering restricted grounds or disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told ABC News that he would cite the baseless voter-fraud claims that Trump used to incite the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to defend the president in his second impeachment trial over inciting that insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Giuliani said he is part of Trump’s impeachment defense team, and that he would introduce the allegations of voter fraud to prove Trump was innocent:
“They basically claimed that anytime [Trump] says voter fraud, voter fraud — or I do, or anybody else — we’re inciting to violence; that those words are fighting words because it’s totally untrue,” he said. “Well, if you can prove that it’s true, or at least true enough so it’s a legitimate viewpoint, then they are no longer fighting words.”
He also argued that Trump didn’t incite an insurrection because the insurrection didn’t start fast enough after Trump incited it:
“Basically, if [incitement] is going to happen, it’s got to happen right away,” he said. “You’d have to have people running out, you’d have to have people running out of that frozen speech, right up to the Capitol. And that’s basically, incitement,” Giuliani said.
And Giuliani said that Trump should challenge the legality of the impeachment, since the president will no longer be in office, and that he believed Trump would be justified in trying to pardon himself (for any other potential federal crimes).
The Bulwark reports:
Following his meeting with President Trump on Friday, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell said in a Facebook interview with Right Side Broadcasting News today that he’s praying that the military presence in Washington is part of Trump’s plan to retain power.
In Lindell’s interview — which has garnered hundreds of thousands of views on Facebook in just a few hours — he recounts the details of his meeting with the president and rattles off a series of unintelligible conspiracies in a Minnesota lilt.
When the Right Side Broadcasting News interviewer suggested that “people are hoping that this military presence is a response” to the election fraud, Lindell replied, “that’s where my hope lies.”
U.S. Capitol Police arrested an armed man at a security checkpoint near the Capitol on Friday after he showed them an “unauthorized” inauguration credential and officers found an unregistered handgun and a large cache of ammunition in his truck, which was adorned with gun-rights bumper stickers. Wesley Allen Beeler, 31, was charged Saturday with carrying an unlicensed pistol, possession of an unregistered firearm, and possession of unregistered ammunition. He later told the Washington Post “it was an honest mistake”:
In a tear-filled interview, he said he has spent the past week working as hired security in downtown Washington ahead of the inauguration. He said he forgot that his firearm was in his truck when he left his home in Virginia, where he said he has a license to carry. He said he realized it was there halfway through his trip but that he was running late, so he didn’t turn around. He denied that he had the more than 500 rounds of ammunition listed in his arrest report.
“I pulled up to a checkpoint after getting lost in D.C. because I’m a country boy,” he said. “I showed them the inauguration badge that was given to me.”
A person with knowledge of Beeler’s actions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is pending, said Beeler properly coordinated with Park Police, worked with them and had a pass with them. But Park Police had not communicated that to agencies overseeing the checkpoint, this person said. Beeler has no extremist ties, cooperated fully with law enforcement, and was cleared from further investigation, except for the charge of violating District law by carrying a pistol without a license, the person said …
Beeler said he was given a credential by his employer, MVP Protective Services. A man who answered a phone number connected with MVP said, “Unfortunately, at this time I am not authorized to speak,” when reached by a reporter Saturday evening.
Capitol Police said in the charges against Beeler that he was not authorized to enter the restricted area with the “non-government-issued” credential he showed officers. It does not appear that law enforcement officials view Wheeler as a threat, as he was released on his recognizance on Saturday.
Loews Hotels announced on Saturday that it was no longer hosting a February fundraiser in Florida for Republican senator Josh Hawley. “We are horrified and opposed to the events at the Capitol and all who supported and incited the actions,” Loews said on Twitter. “In light of those events and for the safety of our guests and team members, we have informed the host of the Feb. fundraiser that it will no longer be held at Loews Hotels.”
Representative Lou Correa announced Saturday that he had tested positive on Friday. Axios reports that on January 6, the California Democrat “did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.”
It is not clear if Correa contracted the coronavirus at the Capitol. Three other Democratic lawmakers who were inside the Capitol have tested positive since the attack.
The white nationalist Tim Gionet, who goes by the moniker “Baked Alaska,” is the latest high-profile member of the Capitol mob to be arrested by federal authorities. The FBI took him into custody on Saturday in Houston, the Associated Press reports, on charges of violent and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds as well as unlawful entry of a restricted building:
FBI Special Agent Nicole Miller said in an affidavit filed in the case that Gionet streamed live for about 27 minutes from inside the Capitol and could be heard encouraging other protesters not to leave, cursing and saying “I’m staying,” “1776 baby,” and “I won’t leave guys, don’t worry.”
She wrote that Gionet entered various offices and when told by law enforcement officers to move, identified himself as a member of the media. Miller wrote that Gionet then asked officers where to go before cursing a law officer while alleging the officer shoved him, then leaving the building.
The Anchorage Daily News notes that the far-right personality has other problems, too:
Federal authorities aren’t just interested in Gionet, the man behind the camera: One of posters released by the FBI cataloging persons of interest is made up entirely of faces captured on Gionet’s livestream. …
[Gionet] was also sought by prosecutors in a criminal case in Scottsdale, Arizona, for breaking his terms of release on a December assault charge — he allegedly pepper sprayed a bouncer — by traveling to Washington, D.C., for the rally, and for “unlawful conduct.” On Friday, he posted a $3,000 bond in that case, the Arizona Republic reported.
BuzzFeed News reports that the ban will last until at least January 22:
Following complaints from Senators and employees, Facebook on Saturday said it was temporarily halting ads for gun accessories and military gear in the US through next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The move follows a BuzzFeed News story that revealed the world’s largest social network displayed ads for gun holsters, body armor, and other military-related paraphernalia in the News Feeds of people who had engaged with content about the attempted coup at the US Capitol building earlier this month.
The research firm Zignal says that election-fraud misinformation dropped 73 percent in the week after Trump was banned by Twitter and other social-media platforms. Reports the Washington Post:
The new research by the San Francisco-based analytics firm reported that conversations about election fraud dropped from 2.5 million mentions to 688,000 mentions across several social-media sites in the week after Trump was banned from Twitter …
Zignal found that the use of hashtags affiliated with the Capitol riot also dipped considerably. Mentions of the hashtag #FightforTrump, which was widely deployed across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social-media services in the week before the rally, dropped 95 percent. #HoldTheLine and the term “March for Trump” also fell more than 95 percent.
The research by Zignal and other groups suggests that a powerful, integrated disinformation ecosystem — composed of high-profile influencers, rank-and-file followers, and Trump himself — was central to pushing millions of Americans to reject the election results and may have trouble surviving without his social-media accounts.
Jenna Ryan, who was arrested by the FBI on Friday, told CBS 11 in Texas that she did not deserve to go to prison and would like President Trump to pardon her:
Ryan, who took a private plane to Washington, D.C., on the day of the riot, faces charges of knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
“I just want people to know I’m a normal person. That I listen to my president who told me to go to the Capitol. That I was displaying my patriotism while I was there and I was just protesting and I wasn’t trying to do anything violent and I didn’t realize there was actually violence,” Ryan said. “I’d just like to apologize for all of the families that are affected by any of the negative environment and I’d just like to say I really love people and I am not a villain that a lot of people would make me out to be, or people think I am, because I was a Trump supporter at the Capitol.” …
“I think we all deserve a pardon. I’m facing a prison sentence. I think I do not deserve that and from what I understand, every person is going to be arrested that was there, so I think everyone deserves a pardon, so I would ask the president of the United States to give me a pardon.”
Dominic “Spaz” Pezzola, a 43-year-old member of the far-right Proud Boys group, was arrested on Friday and charged “with obstruction of an official proceeding, destruction of government property, and illegally accessing a restricted area,” the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported:
According to the complaint, Pezzola used a Capitol Police shield to break an exterior building and then went inside. He posted a video of himself smoking a cigar and saying, “Victory smoke in the Capitol, boys … I knew we could take this [expletive] over if we tried hard enough,” according to court documents.
An unidentified witness who spoke with Pezzola after the riot said that he and others stated they intended to kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, according to the criminal complaint. The witness said Pezzola and others intended to return to Washington on Inauguration Day to “kill every single ‘mf-er’ they can.”
Lt. Tarik Khalid Johnson was suspended over the footage of him wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap during the Capitol riot, but the Wall Street Journal reports he did so in an effort to assist his fellow officers amid the chaos:
The MAGA cap was a ruse that was part of an unusual plan to rescue more than a dozen trapped police officers during the Jan. 6 riot, the officers said he told them. And one witness said the lieutenant’s action enabled a set of doors to the Capitol to be closed, shutting off an entry point to more intruders … Fellow officers said Lt. Johnson, who voted as a registered Democrat in the primary in Maryland last year, isn’t known to them as a supporter of Mr. Trump, and some were surprised when a picture circulated of Lt. Johnson wearing the MAGA cap during the riot.
Lt. Johnson has told fellow officers that he put on the cap in an effort to win the trust of a handful of protesters whose help he enlisted to push his way through the crowd and mount a rescue of officers trapped and in danger inside the Capitol, according to one of the colleagues. A video taken on an iPhone 12 and reviewed by the Journal shows Lt. Johnson freeing about 16 officers from the violent mob. The video doesn’t show when he put on the cap, nor where and how he got it.
Read the rest of the Journal’s report here.
Rosanne Boyland, the 34-year-old Georgia woman who was one of three people who died because of medical emergencies suffered amid the Capitol riot, was trampled as she and others tried to enter the Capitol, according to a New York Times analysis published Friday. Per video footage reviewed by the Times, around 4 p.m. on January 6, Boyland and a friend, Justin Winchell, joined the mob, which was trying to force its way into a tunnel entrance on the west side of the Capitol. Rioters were attacking police officers defending the entrance and attempting to use their body weight to push them back, and Boyland apparently fell amid the violent crush:
At 4:09 p.m., the mob can be seen making another push into the doorway. Less than a minute later, the police pushed back, and the mob can be seen tumbling out of the door and down the steps. Mr. Winchell, in a bright blue hooded sweatshirt, is just visible at the top of the steps.
For the next seven minutes, he can be seen pulling people away, appearing to search for Ms. Boyland as rioters continue to tumble out of the door. … It is unclear from the videos if Ms. Boyland was alive at this time, but two rioters — one wielding a stick and the other a crutch — launched a new attack on the police at 4:17 p.m., making it virtually impossible for officers to give her aid, if they were able to notice her at all. Boyland is visible in a video lying on her side in front of the door, her black hooded sweatshirt, arm and face partially visible, as men clash with police above her.
Boyland is eventually pulled away, and two people can then be seen trying to resuscitate her, before carrying her back to the police line. She was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead just after 6 p.m.
ProPublica found the video and published it on Friday:
The memo, which was reportedly sent to all USCP command staff, is another huge red flag which authorities apparently failed to heed in the days before the Capitol riot. Per the Washington Post:
In a 12-page report on Jan. 3, the intelligence unit of the congressional police force described how thousands of enraged protesters, egged on by Trump and flanked by white supremacists and extreme militia groups, were likely to stream into Washington armed for battle.
This time, the focus of their ire would be members of Congress, the report said.
“Supporters of the current president see January 6, 2021, as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election,” according to the memo, portions of which were obtained by The Washington Post. “This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent. Unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter-protesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th.”
D.C. Metro police officer Daniel Hodges was the cop seen in video footage of the Capitol riot bloodied and screaming in pain while he was pinned and crushed by a door being pushed by rioters as they tried to force their way into the U.S. Capitol. He told NBC Washington that he was able to escape the situation without any serious injuries, and that he was happy to be there, otherwise. “If it wasn’t my job, I would have done that for free,” he said. “It was absolutely my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurrection and I’m glad I was in a position to help. We’ll do it as many times as it takes.”
Hodges, who is 32 and has been a patrol officer for six years, said that while he was immobilized, a rioter tore off his mask and stole his baton and hit him in the head with it. “At that moment in the hallway where I was pinned, I was there to do my best to keep them out, obviously, and the way I was doing that was with my body,” he explained. “Unfortunately, at that moment, my arms were pinned. I was unable to defend myself.”
“I’m glad that video’s going around, because it shows people that we absolutely fought tooth and nail to keep the Capitol safe, to keep our congressmen safe and keep them out,” he added.
The New York Times reported Friday that “prosecutors in Georgia appear increasingly likely to open a criminal investigation of President Trump over his attempts to overturn the results of the state’s 2020 election, an inquiry into offenses that would be beyond his federal pardon power”:
The new Fulton County district attorney, Fani Willis, is already weighing whether to proceed, and among the options she is considering is the hiring of a special assistant from outside to oversee the investigation, according to people familiar with her office’s deliberations.
At the same time, David Worley, the lone Democrat on Georgia’s five-member election board, said this week that he would ask the board to make a referral to the Fulton County district attorney by next month. Among the matters he will ask prosecutors to investigate is a phone call Mr. Trump made in which he pressured Georgia’s secretary of state to overturn the state’s election results.
Welcome to the final Friday night of the Trump administration: Hardcore Trump loyalist and MyPillow CEO Michael Lindell had a meeting with the president on Friday, and beforehand he could be seen holding a piece of paper on which there appeared to be some kind of plan for Trump holding onto power:
Intelligencer contributor Ben Jacobs called one of the people listed on the page, and he had no idea why his name appeared on Lindell’s document.
Then on Friday night, the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman talked to administration officials and Lindell himself about the meeting and tweeted out what she learned:
I got a bit more information about the Lindell meeting. It was a brief meeting, Trump sent him upstairs to the White House counsel’s office to be escorted by an admin official sitting next to Lindell in the meeting. … Once up there, he insisted on meeting with White House counsel Pat Cipollone. It got contentious, in part because supposedly on the blacked-out part of his notes was something about how Cipollone should be fired.
Lindell tells me that he was carrying the notes for an attorney he’s been working with to prove the election was really won by Trump, wouldn’t say who it was. Said some of it related to reports Trump is now unable to see because he doesn’t have Twitter. Lindell insists the papers he was holding, which were photographed and visible, didn’t reference “martial law.”
An administration official says they definitely referenced martial law.
But an administration official says Trump wasn’t really entertaining what Lindell was saying. Lindell also seemed frustrated he wasn’t getting more of a hearing.
The FBI has conducted dozens of interviews during their investigation into the death of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol police officer who died of his injuries after he was reportedly hit with a fire extinguisher during the Capitol riot on January 6. The New York Times reports that an FBI memo sent Friday mistakenly said that the Bureau was investigating 37 people over Sicknick’s death.
On Friday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed concerns that some Republican House members may have helped rioters with logistics in the days leading up to the attack, saying if that proves to be true those members may face criminal charges.
“We must trust each other, respect the people who sent us here. We must also have the truth, and that will be looked into,” Pelosi said, per The Hill. “If, in fact, it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection — if they aided and abetted the crime — there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress, in terms of prosecution for that.”
Earlier this week a group of 30 Democrats wrote a letter to the head of the Capitol Police and the acting sergeants-at-arms calling for an investigation into rioters’ “suspicious behavior and access” to the Capitol on January 5, which may have been facilitated by some GOP lawmakers.
“Members of the group that attacked the Capitol seemed to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex,” the Democrats wrote. “The presence of these groups within the Capitol Complex was indeed suspicious.
It took 14 minutes from the moment Capitol Police reported a breach of the Capitol complex for Vice President Mike Pence to be moved to a secure location. Many in the mob were targeting Pence — at one point they were heard chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” — because he refused to go along with President Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. The Washington Post reports:
About one minute after Pence was hustled out of the chamber, a group charged up the stairs to a second-floor landing in the Senate, chasing a Capitol Police officer who drew them away from the Senate.
Pence and his family had just ducked into a hideaway less than 100 feet from that landing, according to three people familiar with his whereabouts, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. If the pro-Trump mob had arrived seconds earlier, the attackers would have been in eyesight of the vice president as he was rushed across a reception hall into the office.
During an interview with CNN on Thursday, D.C. Metro Police officer Michael Fanone recounted how he was beaten by pro-Trump rioters who tried to take his gun, then was able to escape after some members of the mob tried to protect him after he screamed out, “I’ve got kids!”:
In a new court filing, federal prosecutors pointed to chilling evidence that the Capitol riot could have been far worse. In a memo asking an Arizona judge to keep Jacob Anthony Chansley — better known as the “QAnon Shaman” who wore a horned headdress in the Capitol — detained before his trial, prosectors said they found evidence that rioters were planning to harm lawmakers, and left a threat for Mike Pence. The Washington Post reports:
In a court filing late on Thursday, federal prosecutors in Phoenix wrote that “strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government.”
The 18-page memo, which asked a judge to keep Chansley detained before his trial, said the 33-year-old Arizona man left an ominous note for Vice President Pence at his desk in the Senate chamber: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”
Chansley — who goes by Jake Angeli — was arrested and charged last week in connection to his role in the riot. As of early on Friday morning, court documents said he was being represented by the federal public defender’s office in Phoenix.
This post has been repeatedly updated to include new reporting, analysis, and commentary. Read Intelligencer’s previous coverage of the Capitol riot here.
Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠