Capitol police officer offered to let January 6 rioter stay at his home and arrange a tour of the building ‘legally next time,’ feds say

journalists capitol riots cameras
Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol building in Washington on January 6.

  • A Capitol Police officer invited a January 6 rioter to his home and offered him a legal tour of the Capitol.
  • The officer also tried to help the unnamed rioter avoid law enforcement by telling him to delete online photos.
  • Officer Michael Angelo Riley has been indicted on two felony counts of obstruction.

A Capitol Police officer accused of helping a January 6 rioter invited the man to stay at his home and get a tour of the Capitol building on his next trip to Washington DC, messages obtained by prosecutors show.

Michael Angelo Riley, the officer, who worked with the K-9 unit and has been in the force for almost 25 years, was indicted on Friday on two counts of obstruction. Federal prosecutors say he told a rioter he agreed with his “political stance” and told him to remove online photos to avoid being pursued by the FBI.

Riley has since been placed on leave until the case is completed, the Capitol Police Department told Insider.

In the days after the insurrection, Riley exchanged messages with the accused rioter about fishing and invited the man to stay at his home.

“Next time you want to come to DC just call me, you can stay at my house on the shore for free and bring your daughter to museums,” he wrote, according to a message included in the indictment.

“If you want to see the Capitol building, let’s do it legally next time… I know a guy who can get you a tour… lol. It’s behind you now,” he continued. “Lesson learned! Just ask your attorney what’s next.”

According to the indictment, Riley and the accused rioter became Facebook friends on January 1. The two were both avid fishermen and members of fishing-related Facebook pages, prosecutors said.

After the accused rioter participated in the insurrection – where a mob in support of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building to try to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election results – he posted selfies of himself at the Capitol, prosecutors said.

In the following days, Riley and the accused rioter continued to exchange messages and speak on the phone. Riley told the accused rioter of the FBI’s strategy to pursue people who attended the January 6 insurrection and offered legal advice, the messages obtained by prosecutors show.

The FBI arrested the accused rioter on January 19, and he told Riley about it on January 20, prosecutors wrote. After that, their relationship soured, messages show. A mutual friend sent Riley a video of the accused rioter at the Capitol building, smoking, prosecutors said.

“I tried to defend you but then he showed me a video of you in the Capitol smoking weed and acting like a moron,” Riley wrote in a message to him. “I was shocked and dumbfounded, since your story of getting pushed in the building with no other choice now seems not only false but is a complete lie. I feel like a moron for believing you.”

But Riley had been sent the video showing the accused rioter smoking before, prosecutors said in the indictment. According to the messages they obtained, a mutual friend even sent a screenshot on January 9 showing him smoking at the Capitol building.

“Yep, I know,” Riley wrote in response.

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Capitol Police officer charged with trying to help a January 6 rioter avoid law enforcement

capitol riots flag
A group of Trump protesters wave flags while standing on an armored police vehicle on the grounds of the Capitol Building in Washington DC, on January 6, 2021.

  • Federal prosecutors accused a Capitol Police officer on Friday of helping a January 6 rioter.
  • The officer, Michael Riley, has been charged with two counts of obstruction.
  • The indictment says he bonded with the accused rioter over fishing and invited him over to his house.

A Capitol Police officer has been indicted on two felony counts of obstruction for allegedly helping a January 6 rioter hide evidence.

Prosecutors say officer Michael Angelo Riley, who worked with the K-9 unit and has been with the department for nearly 25 years, told an unnamed rioter to remove online photos of him at the Capitol to avoid criminal charges, according to the indictment filed in US District Court on Thursday.

Riley is accused of sending dozens of messages to the rioter.

“I am a Capitol Police officer who agrees with your political stance,” Riley wrote in one message with the unnamed person, as quoted in the indictment. “Take down the part about being in the building they are currently investigating and everyone who was in the building is going to be charged. Just looking out!”

Riley has since been placed on leave until the completion of the case, the Capitol Police Department told Insider.

According to the indictment, Riley was working as a member of the Capitol Police on January 6, when a mob in support of then-President Donald Trump rioted at the Capitol building and sought to stop Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election.

Riley wasn’t present at the Capitol building itself, but responded to reports of an explosive nearby, prosecutors wrote.

Riley and the unnamed rioter became Facebook friends on January 1, the indictment says. On January 7, the day after the insurrection, the officer messaged the other person and advised him to take down photos of himself at the Capitol building, prosecutors said.

“It was a total shit show!!!” Riley said in a message obtained by prosecutors. “Just wanted to give you a heads up… we had over 50 officers hurt, some pretty bad.”

The two also talked a lot about fishing, according to prosecutors.

In the following days, messages obtained by prosecutors show Riley advised the unnamed rioter about the FBI’s strategy in pursuing people who stormed the Capitol building. He also invited him to his house.

“Lesson learned!” one message read.

“Next time you want to come to DC just call me, you can stay at my house on the shore for free and bring your daughter to the museums,” another of Riley’s messages read. “If you want to see the capitol buildings, let’s do it legally next time.”

The FBI arrested the accused rioter on January 19. On January 20, he told Riley about his interview with the FBI, and Riley deleted all their direct messages later that day, according to the indictment.

Insider could not immediately identify an attorney representing Riley. Riley is due to appear in federal court in Washington later Friday.

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British Conservative lawmaker dies after being stabbed multiple times while meeting constituents

Sir David Amess speaks on stage during the Conference In Support Of Freedom and Democracy In Iran on June 30, 2018 in Paris, France
David Amess.

  • Sir David Amess was stabbed on Friday. He has since died at the scene.
  • He was meeting constituents in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, when the attack happened.
  • The Essex Police said one man had been arrested, and that “we’re not looking for anyone else.”

Sir David Amess, a British Conservative lawmaker, has died after being stabbed multiple times while meeting with constituents on Friday.

Amess, 69, was attacked at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where the MP was holding a constituency surgery, Sky News reported. The Essex Police said it took place shortly after 12 p.m.

“He was stabbed several times,” Local councillor John Lamb told Reuters.

A medical helicopter arrived at the scene following the attack. Police said a man – identified by reports as Amess – was treated by emergency services but died at the scene.

The Essex Police said a 25-year-old man was arrested following the attack. “We’re not looking for anyone else,” the force tweeted. The man is currently in custody.

Insider has contacted Amess’ office in Westminster for comment.

UK leaders denounced the attack

Politicians from across the spectrum decried the violence – the fourth such attack against a British politician since 2000.

“Truly awful news. My thoughts and prayers are with David Amess MP, his family and the community at this incredibly difficult time,” Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted.

Former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron shared: “Very alarming and worrying news reports coming from Leigh-on-Sea. My thoughts and prayers are with Sir David Amess and his family.”

Brendan Cox, whose wife Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right extremist while meeting with constituents in 2016, also condemned the attack.

“Attacking our elected representatives is an attack on democracy itself,” he tweeted.

Amess had been an MP since 1983, representing Southend West in Essex for the Conservative Party since 1997. He has never held ministerial office.

His website describes his main interests as “animal welfare and pro-life issues.” He was made a knight in 2015 for services to public and political life.

In 2021, Amess wrote in a memoir of how he received a death threat from the IRA, and the warnings given by the police to MPs about the dangers of constituency surgeries.

“Now advice has been given to be more careful when accepting appointments,” he wrote. “We are advised to never see people alone, we must be extra careful when opening post and we must ensure that our offices are properly safe and secure.”

“In short, these increasing attacks have rather spoilt the great British tradition of the people openly meeting their elected politicians.”

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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Kyrsten Sinema is reportedly threatening to hold Biden’s agenda hostage. She wants to pass the bipartisan roads-and-bridges bill now.

Kyrsten Sinema
Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Arizona Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is threatening to torpedo Biden’s agenda, telling a group of fellow moderate Democrats in the House of Representatives that she will not support a multi-trillion dollar reconciliation package until Congress passes the $1 trillion infrastructure spending bill first, Reuters reported Thursday.

Reuters cited a source briefed on the meeting in its report about the decision of Sinema, a key moderate whose resistance to the reconciliation deal has stalled Biden’s signature legislation.

Sinema wields power to prevent legislation from moving forward in the split 50-50 Senate.

The $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package is a staple of President Joe Biden’s agenda. But moderates Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin are holding out on the bill as a separate bipartisan infrastructure package is discussed in the House.

House progressives, meanwhile, have refused to pass the infrastructure deal unless the reconciliation package is approved at the same time.

Progressives revolted the last time House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to hold a vote on the roads-and-bridges bill alone. Now, Sinema seems determined for it to pass first.

Reps for the senator did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Insider.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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More people with firearms were stopped by TSA in the first 9 months of 2021 than in any of the last 20 years

TSA
A TSA agent waits for passengers to use the TSA PreCheck lane at Miami International Airport on October 4, 2011 in Miami, Florida.

  • The TSA stopped more people with firearms at airports in 2021 than in any of the last 20 years.
  • By early October, the TSA stopped 4,495 passengers with firearms at security checkpoints.
  • For every 1 million people who went through a checkpoint, 11 firearms were found in carry-on bags.

The Transportation Security Administration has stopped more people with firearms at airports in 2021 so far than they have in any of the last 20 years, the agency said on Wednesday.

By early October, the TSA stopped 4,495 passengers who were trying to bring firearms onto an airplane, breaking the previous record of 4,432 passengers during all of 2019.

For every 1 million passengers who went through a TSA checkpoint, 11 firearms were found in carry-on bags, the agency said, compared to five in every 1 million two years prior.

“The number of firearms that our TSA officers are stopping at airport checkpoints is alarming,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in a statement.

“Firearms, particularly loaded firearms, introduce an unnecessary risk at checkpoints, have no place in the passenger cabin of an airplane, and represent a very costly mistake for the passengers who attempt to board a flight with them,” he added.

According to the agency’s website, passengers are allowed to transport firearms in checked baggage if they are declared to the airlines ahead of time and packaged in a locked casing.

If a passenger brings a firearm to an airport checkpoint, the TSA said penalties vary based on if the gun is loaded and the number of past offenses.

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17 employees at a Florida school district have died from COVID-19 since August

Surgical mask hanging inside school on locker.
Surgical mask hanging inside school on locker.

  • Seventeen employees at a Florida school district have died from COVID-19 since August.
  • Of the 17 employees, 12 of them had returned to their jobs when the new year began in early August.
  • A spokesman from the district said it is unclear how the employees might have gotten sick.

Seventeen employees from a central Florida school district have died from COVID-19 since the school year began in August, according to multiple reports.

A spokesman from the Polk County Public Schools district confirmed the figure to Insider and said that of the 17 employees, 12 of them had returned to their jobs when the new year began in early August, while five didn’t report to their jobs.

“The pandemic continues to severely impact our community, and many public servants – including educators, healthcare staff, rescue workers, and law enforcement officers – are experiencing tragic losses,” the district said in a statement, according to NBC.

The district said it is unclear how the employees might have gotten sick.

According to the district’s dashboard, there have been 3,855 total confirmed COVID-19 cases since August 23, including 431 employee cases.

With 14,000 employees and over 100,000 students, it’s among the 30 largest school districts in the country, according to the district’s website.

As for preventative measures, the district said it is currently placing 50,000 desk shields in kindergarten through 5th-grade classrooms, according to local station News Channel 8.

Florida schools have been on the frontlines of a back-and-forth bout with Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has tried to ban mask mandates, Insider previously reported.

The district does not have a mask mandate and said in July that face coverings are optional for students and staff.

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The House approves 2-month debt limit extension, teeing up another showdown with McConnell’s GOP in December

DEBT
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi/Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  • The House passed a two-month debt limit patch, buying time until the US approaches default again.
  • “This is America’s debt,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a floor speech ahead of the vote.
  • McConnell is pledging to block any effort to raise the debt ceiling in a bid to force Democrats to do it unilaterally.

The House approved a two-month debt limit patch that will run through early December, sending the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. It amounts to a momentary ceasefire as Senate Republicans are already pledging to block any future renewal of America’s ability to repay its bills.

The vote was 220-206 with every House Republican lined up against the measure. Democrats relied on a procedural maneuver packaging the bill – which cleared the Senate last week – with votes on other measures.

It staves off a catastrophic federal default that the Treasury Department projected would occur in six days. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a speech ahead of the vote, saying he “was playing Russian Roulette with the economy. Russian Roulette for Moscow Mitch.”

“This is our debt. This is America’s debt,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a floor speech.

Now, the bill heads to the White House, buying lawmakers a few more months before it runs up the edge of default again. Another showdown looms in December with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vowing to block any effort to raise the debt limit, unless Democrats do it on their own using a party-line mechanism called reconciliation.

“I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement,” the Kentucky Republican wrote in a scathing letter to Biden on Friday. “Your lieutenants on Capitol Hill now have the time they claimed they lacked to address the debt ceiling.”

McConnell argued Democrats must employ the arduous reconciliation procedure to approve a debt-limit hike unilaterally, the same demand he’s made since July. The process allows some measures to be passed with only a simple majority, shielding it from the filibuster’s 60-vote threshold in the Senate.

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Massachusetts’ National Guard will help test for COVID-19 in public schools as staffing shortages cause delays

A member of the National Guard drives a school bus.
The governor of Massachusetts called in the National Guard to assist amid the school bus driver shortage.

  • Massachusetts’ governor activated the National Guard to help test students for COVID-19.
  • Two hundred National Guard members will help test students in public schools across the state.
  • It comes as many of the state’s school districts face testing delays due to a staffing shortage.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker activated 200 members of the state’s National Guard to help test students for COVID-19 in public schools, the Boston Globe reported on Tuesday.

Baker’s decision comes as many of the state’s schools are facing delays in testing due to a staffing shortage caused by an increase in districts signing up for testing services, the report said.

Members of the National Guard will begin training this week before helping at schools starting on Monday.

CIC Health, which provides testing for schools in the state, has hired over 1,500 people to help with the efforts and is looking to increase that number.

State Rep. Mindy Domb put pressure on the Baker administration to activate the National Guard last month, and wrote in a letter to state leaders that “the inconsistent rollout of the pooled testing program could be jeopardizing the health of our school communities.”

According to the Globe, schools can participate in different testing programs for free.

Schools can test individuals who have symptoms at the school, they can test students or staff in large groups, and they can test close contacts of positive cases to determine if they need to be sent home to quarantine or not.

The move comes after Baker activated the National Guard last month to drive school buses as a driver shortage forced school delays and interruptions around the country, Insider previously reported.

The Baker administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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Trump is reportedly close to selling his Washington DC hotel for more than $370 million

The Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C.
The Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C.

  • Former President Trump is reportedly close to selling his Washington DC hotel for over $370 million.
  • Miami-based investment firm CGI Merchant Group is looking to buy it, the Wall Street Journal said.
  • It’s the same hotel that lost over $73 million between 2016 and 2020.

Former President Donald Trump is close to selling his luxury hotel in Washington DC for more than $370 million, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The lease for Trump International Hotel, situated along Pennsylvania Avenue not far from the White House, could be acquired by Miami-based investment firm CGI Merchant Group, the report said.

The firm has also been considering removing the Trump family name from the hotel, the report said.

The hotel has been at the center of a political firestorm over allegations that Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution – an anti-corruption rule which bars government officials from receiving gifts or profiting from foreign governments – by profiting off foreign dignitaries staying at the hotel.

Trump had claimed in financial disclosures that he earned over $150 million in income from the hotel during that same period.

But the Trump International Hotel lost over $73 million between 2016 and 2020, according to documents released by the House Oversight Committee on Friday.

The committee said that Trump had to “inject at least $24 million to aid the struggling hotel” from a holding company owned by the former president himself.

“The Committee found that President Trump provided misleading information about the financial situation of the Trump Hotel in his annual financial disclosures,” the committee said in a statement. “By filing these misleading public disclosures, President Trump grossly exaggerated the financial health of the Trump Hotel.”

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An Afghan interpreter who helped to rescue Joe Biden during an emergency in 2008 has escaped the country: report

US Democratic Senator from Massachusetts John Kerry (R) speaks to the press listened to by his Delaware counterpart Joe Biden at the US Capitol in Washington,DC on February 26, 2008.
US Democratic Senator from Massachusetts John Kerry (R) speaks to the press listened to by his Delaware counterpart Joe Biden at the US Capitol in Washington,DC on February 26, 2008.

  • An Afghan interpreter who helped rescue Joe Biden in 2008 in Afghanistan has now escaped.
  • Biden’s helicopter was forced to land during a snowstorm, the Wall Street Journal reported.
  • Aman Khalili was part of the team that rescued Biden and two other senators.

An Afghan interpreter who helped to rescue Joe Biden in 2008 during an emergency in Afghanistan has now escaped the country, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

“After 144 hours of driving day and night and getting through so many checkpoints my family was so scared, but right now this is a kind of heaven,” Aman Khalili told the Journal.

“Hell was in Afghanistan,” he added.

Khalili was part of a team that helped to rescue then-Senator Biden, along with Sens. John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, after their helicopter convoy was forced by a snowstorm to land in a valley vulnerable to Taliban attacks, the report said.

After Khalili’s assistance in the operation was made public in a Wall Street Journal report on August 31, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said to reporters that the US would get him out of Afghanistan.

Following weeks of setbacks, a group of US veterans working with former Afghan soldiers and Pakistani allies were able to successfully drive Khalili and his family over 600 miles across the border into Pakistan, the report said.

“Aman helped keep me and other Americans safe while we were fighting in Afghanistan, and we wanted to return the favor,” Brian Genthe, a combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient who worked with Khalili, told the Journal.

Khalili was hired as a translator for the US shortly after the 2001 invasion that toppled the old Taliban regime, the report said.

Meanwhile, civilian groups have been evacuating US citizens and visa holders from Afghanistan, Insider previously reported.

The US has evacuated more than 122,000 people from Afghanistan since August 14, the day before the Taliban seized control of Kabul, according to a Sky News tracker.

It is not clear how many have been evacuated since the August 31 military withdrawal deadline.

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