Donald Trump says his “heart is with those standing for rioters” as police are on high alert for a right-wing rally in Washington DC on Saturday.
The ‘Justice for the J6’ riot rally is framed as a solidarity movement for the 560 people arrested in connection with the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
On his website, Donald Trump proclaimed his support and continued to peddle the falsehood that the 2020 election was rigged.
“Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election,” he said. “In addition to everything else, it has proven conclusively that we are a two-tiered system of justice. In the end, however, JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL!” wrote the former president.
The event is organized by Look Ahead America, which states it works to “empower patriotic Americans.” It is lead by Matt Braynard, who worked on the data team for Trump’s 2016 campaign,.
In a video, Braynard said that the goal of the rallies is to raise awareness about the civil rights violations endured by “political prisoners” arrested in the January 6 riot.
According to a yet-to-be released book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, former President Donald Trump has continued to seethe with anger towards Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California after McCarthy blamed Trump for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“This guy called me every single day, pretended to be my best friend, and then, he fucked me,” Trump said, according to a new preview of the book by CNN. “He’s not a good guy.”
“What we saw last week was not the American way, neither is the continued rhetoric that Joe Biden is not the legitimate president. Let’s be clear: Joe Biden will be sworn in as president of the US in one week because he won the election,” McCarthy said at the time.
CNN reported that Trump also remains angry with other Republicans who blamed Trump for the riot.
In the months since the insurrection, McCarthy has walked back from his initial position. The GOP leader booted Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming from her position as the House GOP Caucus chair after she continued to stress Trump’s role in imperiling democracy, and he has refused to cooperate with a new house select committee investigating the attacks.
In late August, McCarthy warned telecom companies not to comply with a request issued by the select committee, which included the records of “individuals potentially involved in discussions” about challenging and delaying Congress from affirming President Joe Biden’s 2020 election win.
“If the companies choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law,” said McCarthy in a statement, while not specifying what law the companies would be breaking.
“Uh, read the Constitution,” replies Pence. “The only authority the Congress has is to open and count. The electoral college votes are certified by the states. We never want Washington, DC to run our elections.”
“States run the elections, and no state had submitted more than one set of electors,” Pence continued. “So, our only job was to open and count. But read the Constitution and see.”
Windsor then pressed Pence over whether he believed the election was stolen. “We were there fighting for President Trump,” Windsor said.
“I think there were a lot of irregularities that are now being fixed at state levels,” said Pence, likely referring to a slew of new voting laws that have been passed in Republican states. “But states – you never want Washington, DC to run elections,” Pence continued.
“I love your heart, thank you,” Pence said as he walked away.
Earlier that day, Pence released a statement where he expressed sympathy for those alleging the election was illegitimate, but said “my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.”
The video of Pence was filmed by Windsor, a partner at the Democratic media organization Democracy Partners, as part of a new project by her web show, The Undercurrent, that uses undercover tactics to “expose” Republican politicians for embarrassing remarks.
In July, The Undercurrent taped GOP Virginia Gov. candidate Glenn Youngkin praising the ideas of defunding Planned Parenthood and enacting a “heartbeat bill” like what recently passed in Texas as “on the right track.” Recently, she covertly filmed Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin saying “there’s nothing obviously skewed” about the 2020 presidential election results in his state, despite some GOP claims to the contrary.
Asked about her group’s connection to the Democratic Party, Windsor told Insider that the group has “not received funding from the DNC itself,” and that the group is “a small organization, and I’ll leave it at that.”
Congressional security officials are expected to authorize the installation of a seven-foot fence and use of deadly force for a far-right rally next weekend on Capitol Hill’s plaza demanding the release of rioters who descended on the building on January 6, according to The Guardian.
Look Ahead America said on its website that the “Justice for J6” rally in Washington DC is scheduled to take place on September 18 in Union Square, along with additional rallies at capitals, parks, and courthouses in 13 other states.
The organization’s Executive Director Matt Braynard, former director of data and strategy for the Trump campaign, said in a video that the goal of the rallies is to raise awareness about the civil rights violations endured by “political prisoners” arrested in relation to the January 6 riot.
He also asked attendees to refrain from wearing or bringing political paraphernalia, banners, or flags referencing a political candidate, organization, or the 2020 election.
Braynard predicted 700 people will be in attendance when he filed for the event’s permit, according to The Guardian. Sources familiar with intelligence gathered by federal officials said far-right extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are planning to attend the rally.
Security officials weighed whether to request the National Guard at the Washington DC rally but decided against its deployment following a threat assessment, The Guardian reported.
Final recommendations will be unveiled Monday in a briefing with congressional leaders.
“QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley will remain in jail ahead of his sentencing on a felony charge related to the January 6 Capitol riot, a federal judge decided Thursday.
US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth’s decision marks Chansley’s third failed bid for freedom since he was arrested eight months ago. The ruling comes one week after Chansley pleaded guilty to obstructing Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Adorned with horns, a headdress, and face paint, Chansley became one of the most recognizable faces at the Capitol on January 6. He was photographed walking with his bullhorn and flagpole throughout the building that day and was arrested three days later in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, where he was charged with two felonies and four misdemeanors.
Watkins said last week that Chansley spends up to 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, despite not being violent. The St. Louis lawyer has been fighting for months to win pretrial release for Chansley but has failed three separate times.
Chansley’s most recent bid for release was filed in July with the request that Chansley be freed to see his ailing grandfather, Watkins said in a Friday press release. According to the lawyer, Chansley’s grandfather was the “only adult male constant” in his life.
“Judge Lamberth denied the compassion based request,” Watkins said in the press release. “On that same day, Mr. Chansley’s grandfather passed away.”
In order to win release, Chansley was required to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that he would not pose a flight risk or danger to the community. In his ruling made public Friday, Lamberth said he failed to do so. According to court documents, although Watkins had made arrangements for Chansley’s lodging and mental health treatment, Lamberth said he failed to show how Chansley would be prevented from fleeing the area.
Prosecutors have previously alleged that Chansley’s standing in the QAnon community posed a concern that his fellow conspirators could help him raise money to flee – a possibility Lamberth also cited in his decision.
Earlier this month, Watkins said Chansley had “repudiated the moniker Q” and rejected the tenets of the conspiracy group.
In his filing, Lamberth also rejected Watkins’ claims that Chansley’s dying grandfather could spark worsening mental health problems or “psychologically trigger” the defendant.
Watkins on Friday said the decision marked a “sad day” and indicated the US legal system is ill-equipped to appropriately handle those with mental health disabilities and vulnerabilities.
“With great sadness and regret, there was simply nothing more I could do to permit a gentle, smart, and kind young man the opportunity to spend a few minutes at the side of the man who raised him to say ‘good-bye’ one last time,” he said.
Chansley heads to sentencing on November 17, where sentencing guidelines suggest he could face 41 to 51 months in prison. Watkins will argue for probation.
Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona and several House Republicans sent letters on Tuesday to 14 telecommunications companies asking them to preserve the phone records and data of 16 Democrats so that “future Congresses can investigate alleged infractions,” Fox Business reported.
The letters were sent two weeks after the January 6 select committee announced it will seek electronic communication records from “several hundred people,” including members of Congress, for its investigation into the Capitol riot.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene decried the move on the August 31 episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” threatening any company that handed over records to the committee would be “shut down.”
Republican representatives echoed this sentiment in their subsequent letters, one of which was written to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and tweeted by Rep. Paul Gosar: “The US Constitution and the US Supreme Court precedent prevents committees from obtaining these records and prohibits you from providing them. Simply put, neither the committee nor you have the legal authority to provide those records.”
Legal experts told The Washington Post that there isn’t a specific law stopping these companies from handing over information to the committee.
Several other companies also received letters, including Amazon, AOL, Apple, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Snap, Inc., T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, Signal, and Telegram.
If the companies decide to turn over records to the January 6 select committee, the letters asked that they also preserve the records of several Democrats, including Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rep. Eric Swalwell, Fox Business reported.
In the days after the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the US military woke up to the fact that it had an extremism problem.
As the FBI and Justice Department began to hunt for those responsible for the events of that day, it became increasingly evident that many of the rioters were members of the military or veterans.
The Pentagon was so concerned about the spread of extremism within its ranks that it ordered a “stand down,” directing commanders to sit down with their troops and talk about extremism.
Soon thereafter, President Joe Biden declared domestic extremism a national security threat and issued a strategy for combatting it.
The overwhelming majority of conventional and special-operations troops oppose radicals within their ranks, but those radicals do exist.
Radicalized service members
Several current and former military service members, including active-duty officers and special-operations veterans, participated in the sad events of January 6.
A special-operations Psychological Operations officer – who had resigned her commission before the events – led 100 people from North Carolina to DC but, according to reports, didn’t participate in any violence.
A former member of the 75th Ranger Regiment has also been accused by a federal judge of using his special-operations training and experience in the attack against the Capitol building.
The former Ranger, who had three combat deployments to Afghanistan, allegedly organized other rioters and was looking to create a hometown militia.
An active-duty Marine Corps major was arrested and accused of attacking Capitol police officers and helping fellow rioters enter the building. The major, a field artillery officer, completed several combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He now faces several federal charges, including assault.
A woman rioter who was shot and killed inside the building by Capitol police was an Air Force veteran.
In total, about 50 of the more than 400 people the Justice Department has charged in relation to the incidents of January 6 are active-duty, national guard, reserve troops or veterans.
To be sure, there were radicals in the military before the assault on the Capitol, but the events of that were a perfect storm that brought many of them together.
For example, in January 2020, a Coast Guard lieutenant and self-described “White Nationalist” pleaded guilty to federal charges after being arrested while stockpiling weapons, drugs, and extremist literature.
In June 2020, an Air Force security forces sergeant was arrested and accused of ambushing and killing a deputy and wounding two other officers with an improvised explosive device in California.
“It’s hard to rationalize serving and protecting your country but also hating and opposing the very democratic process that makes it what it is. Our presidents are elected by a democratic process that, however imperfect it is, is sacred. It’s not up to us to question a president’s legitimacy after the American people have voted him to office,” a former Navy SEAL officer told Insider.
Military service members are allowed to participate in political organizations and attend political events when off duty, but active-duty troops are prohibited from sponsoring partisan groups or initiatives.
“Every unit has a few guys who are a bit off. Doesn’t mean they are bad dudes or they have done anything illegal, but they are a bit off in some regards – more secluded, more fringe with their beliefs or ideologies,” a Navy SEAL operator told Insider.
It isn’t just the US military that has issues with radicals in its ranks.
The German military has long struggled with extremism. Last year, it dissolved and reorganized the Kommando Spetzialkrafte – its tier-one special-operations unit, equivalent to Delta Force and SEAL Team 6 – because right-wing radicals had infiltrated it. More than 70 commandos in the 300-strong unit were suspended or kicked out of the German army.
A number of British troops have been investigated over concerns about far-right activity, and the Canadian military has cracked down on “hateful conduct” out of concern about infiltration by neo-Nazi and other groups. These events show that radicalization is an international issue.
Extremism and special-operations
The radicalization of current and former US service members didn’t start in the lead-up to January 6. It has always been there, albeit at a very small scale relative to the size of the US military.
The road to radicalization is paved with conspiracy theories. It’s the allure of knowing something others don’t, of being the keeper of a secret, that drives many people to such theories.
“If you think about it, it’s contradictory to promote, support, or actively participate in insurrection while you serve in the military. First thing you do when you enlist is you take an oath to the Constitution of the United States. Not to the president or any other political figure, but to the Constitution,” a Navy SEAL operator told Insider.
Many people entertain some conspiracies, such as the existence of aliens or the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. Most don’t take them seriously enough to act on them, but that can change when special-operations troops – who are highly trained and taught to be aggressive and take the initiative – embrace fringe conspiracy theories, such as QAnon.
“And when the president, who is our commander-in-chief, mind you, acts against or tries to subvert the Constitution, then you have the right, and duty, I would add, to decline to follow such an illegal order,” the Navy SEAL operator said.
The long-term negative effects of radicalization on combat effectiveness are hard to assess, the former SEAL officer said, but one consequence could be weaker unit cohesion.
“If tribes were to be created, then, yes, we might have a problem,” the former officer added. “But this is the military, not your high-school football team. Discipline and good order are paramount even in special-operations forces.”
Stavros Atlamazoglou is a defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.
A Virginia man photographed wearing an anti-Semitic sweatshirt during the January 6 Capitol riot has been offered a plea deal as part of the Justice Department’s attempt to resolve several low-level cases stemming from the riots, according to CNN.
Robert Keith Packer, who was photographed wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt in the Capitol, was arrested in January and charged with two misdemeanors, including entering and remaining in a restricted building and violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.
He pleaded guilty to both counts in February, but prosecutors on Tuesday said they have offered him a deal in exchange for his guilty plea, CNN reported.
While the federal government did not provide any additional details about the deal, several rioters facing similar lower-level charges in recent weeks have pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of illegally demonstrating inside the Capitol.
The Justice Department has offered multiple alleged insurrectionists who are not accused of any violence the opportunity to plead guilty to the single charge which carries a six-month jail sentence on the high end, though several defendants will likely spend less than that in jail.
Former prosecutors and legal experts told Insider’s Madison Hall earlier this summer that early sentencing in the insurrection thus far suggests Capitol rioters who plead early and accept responsibility will likely receive a lighter sentence.
Hundreds of defendants are charged only with trespassing-style offenses, and the Justice Department is eager to settle those smaller incidents in the face of several more serious, higher-profile cases. Hundreds others face charges of assaulting police officers, bringing weapons into the Capitol, and conspiracy, and the government is gearing up for trials.
Stephen F. Brennwald, a lawyer representing Packer, told Insider any discussions regarding a plea are premature until he is able to review the case with his client.
“Once we have received all of the discovery, we will evaluate all of the evidence and make a decision thereafter,” Brennwald said.
More than seven months after a mob of pro-Trump rioters attacked the Capitol building, authorities have identified and arrested a high-profile suspect who was photographed dragging a police officer down a set of stairs during the siege.
HuffPost, which first reported Barnhart’s arrest, said Barnhart became a “white whale” for online internet sleuths searching for information on unidentified insurrectionists in the aftermath of the attack. The “Sedition Hunters” community gave Barnhart the nickname “CatSweat” because he is alleged to have worn a Caterpillar brand sweatshirt to the Capitol on January 6.
The FBI had been referring to the suspect, who was wanted for assaulting officers, as Capitol suspect 128-AFO. According to HuffPost, the outlet identified Barnhart months ago thanks to the work of “citizen sleuths,” but refrained from publishing his name because of his violent history, which includes rioting charges from his teenage years.
In April, Sedition Hunters discovered video of Barnhart at the Trump rally preceding the Capitol attack that showed him without sunglasses, giving sleuths the opportunity to search publicly available facial recognition materials on the internet. The search yielded multiple images of Barnhart, including photos of him on bodybuilding websites and photography portfolios, according to HuffPost.
Sedition Hunters even uncovered photos of a shirtless Barnhart posing on the cover of multiple romance novels, with names like “Stepbrother UnSEALed: A Bad Boy Military Romance.”
But it was Barnhart’s Instagram that ultimately led to his arrest. According to HuffPost, Barnhart posted a photo of himself in July 2019 in which he was wearing the same American flag that he would be photographed in at the Capitol on January 6. An August 2020 video on his account featured a similar Caterpillar-branded sweatshirt as well.
Prosecutors allege that Barnhart was part of a multi-person attack against police officers outside a tunnel on the western side of the Capitol. Barnhart on Tuesday was added to a 22-count indictment that names seven people accused of being involved in the attack on a DC Metropolitan officer.
Barnhart did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Ronald Colton McAbee, 27, of Unionville, Tennessee, was also arrested on Tuesday in connection to the assault, and was charged with inflicting bodily injury. Both men made initial court appearances in their respective home states on Tuesday morning, according to the Department of Justice.
In addition to Barnhart and McAbee, Jeffrey Sabol, Peter Francis Stager, Michael John Lopatic Sr., Clayton Ray Mullins, and Jack Wade Whitton, who were already been arrested, are also named in the indictment.
Prosecutors say Whitton and Sabol dragged the officer down the stairs and into the crowd, where Stager beat him with an American flag pole.
A spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday excoriated Republicans after former President Donald Trump called a Capitol police officer a “murderer” as he continued to whitewash the deadly January 6 insurrection that he incited.
“The former President’s threat against a US Capitol Police officer is only the latest in a long line of vile Republican attacks on the officers who risked their lives to protect the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. In recent weeks, Republicans have slandered these officers as ‘executioners’ and ‘murderers’ and insulted their intelligence and integrity on national television,” spokesperson Robyn Patterson said in a statement.
“Enough is enough,” Patterson said.
“Officers present that day who have called out the partisan efforts to downplay a violent insurrection have been subjected to death threats and racist abuse. No member of House Republican leadership has bothered to condemn this harassment or speak out in support of these officers,” Patterson went on to say.
Pelosi’s spokesperson said GOP efforts to malign Capitol Police officers “are disgusting, wrong and a wholly unacceptable way” to treat the officers “who went through hell to protect our democracy from armed insurrectionists.”
Patterson said it’s “long overdue” for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to “get off of his hands and stand up to the members of his conference and party who have been terrorizing the brave officers that saved the lives of countless workers, staff, journalists and Members on January 6th. It is no less than these heroes deserve.”
McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
In a statement on Wednesday, Trump went after the officer who killed insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt while defending the Capitol.
“I spoke to the wonderful mother and husband of Ashli Babbitt, who was murdered at the hands of someone who should have never pulled the trigger of his gun,” Trump said. “We know who he is. If this happened to the ‘other side,’ there would be riots all over America, and yet there are far more people represented by Ashli, who truly loved America, than there are on the other side.”
Trump added, “The Radical Left haters cannot be allowed to get away with this. There must be justice!”
Beyond Trump, a number of House Republicans have sought to discredit Capitol police and other law enforcement in relation to January 6 as the party vies to rewrite the history of the fatal attack.
The insurrection was provoked by Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, which were amplified by Republican lawmakers – with many voting against certifying the Electoral College results on the day of the riot. GOP Rep. Paul Gosar, for example, has said that Babbitt was “executed.” Babbitt was involved in the storming of the Capitol, during which insurrectionists mercilessly beat police, and was shot while attempting to break into the Speaker’s Lobby.
During testimony before the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, four police officers shared harrowing details of the violence they faced during the insurrection. The officers ripped into Republicans for downplaying the attack.
“The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” DC Police Officer Michael Fanone said. “Nothing, truly nothing, has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day. And in doing so, betray their oath of office.”
Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died following the insurrection. Hundreds have also been charged with crimes in relation to January 6. Trump was impeached for a second time over the insurrection, but acquitted in the Senate.