A Republican congressman refused to shake hands with a DC police officer beaten by Trump loyalists on Jan. 6, according to 2 House members

D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone, addresses the media after a meeting with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to urge Republican senators to support a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of January 6th attack on the Capitol, on Thursday, May 27, 2021.
D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone, addresses the media after a meeting with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to urge Republican senators to support a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of January 6th attack on the Capitol, on Thursday, May 27, 2021.

  • Rep. Andrew Clyde refused to shake hands with Michael Fanone, a DC police officer who was assaulted on Jan. 6.
  • Two members of Congress shared Fanone’s story on Tuesday via Twitter.
  • “Fanone introduced himself as ‘someone who fought to defend the Capitol’ and put out his hand,” Rep. Eric Swalwell tweeted.
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Rep. Andrew Clyde, a Georgia Republican who has downplayed the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, refused to shake hands with Michael Fanone, a Washington, DC Metropolitan police officer who was assaulted by pro-Trump rioters while protecting the Capitol, two members of Congress announced on Wednesday.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, tweeted that Fanone approached Clyde at the Capitol and introduced himself as “someone who fought to defend the Capitol,” but Clyde refused to shake his outstretched hand. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, tweeted shortly after that he’d called Fanone and “confirmed” the story.

“Officer Fanone just ran into @Rep_Clyde at Capitol (he’s the “Jan 6 was a typical tour” guy). Fanone introduced himself as ‘someone who fought to defend the Capitol’ and put out his hand,” Swalwell tweeted. “Clyde refused to shake it. To honor Trump, @housegop will dishonor the police.”

Kinzinger added that the officer told him he also had a “disrespectful” interaction with a different lawmaker’s chief of staff.

“I just called Officer Fanone and confirmed this story. This is really incredible,” Kinzinger tweeted. “Also relayed an interaction he had with another members [sic] Chief of Staff that was really incredibly bad and disrespectful.”

Clyde has repeatedly downplayed the events of Jan. 6 and claimed during a hearing last month that many of the rioters behaved like they were on a “normal tourist visit.” The congressman also insisted there was “no insurrection,” and instead “an undisciplined mob” that included “some rioters” and some who committed vandalism. Clyde’s attempt to minimize the Capitol riot is particularly notable because he was photographed helping barricade the doors to the House floor from inside the chamber as pro-Trump rioters attempted to smash them down.

A spokesperson for Clyde didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Fanone also said that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has refused to meet with him. Fanone, who suffered a heart attack after he was repeatedly stun gunned and beaten by rioters, advocated for the bipartisan commission to investigate the events of Jan. 6 before Republicans sunk the effort. The officer called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to block the commission “absolutely disgraceful.”

“I was absolutely sickened,” he told CNN after meeting with the mother of a Capitol police officer who died after the riot. “You know, here I am escorting the mother of a dead policeman, while she and myself advocate for the formation of a commission to investigate the circumstances which resulted in her son’s death.”

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New Telegram audio transcripts show how Proud Boys panicked when members started getting arrested after the Capitol riot

Ethan Nordean Zachary Rehl
Proud Boys members Ethan Nordean and Zachary Rehl walking toward the US Capitol.

  • Telegram conversations obtained by the FBI show how the Proud Boys squabbled after the Capitol riot.
  • Audio transcripts were released in Seattle chapter leader Ethan Nordean’s court filing.
  • They show members worried about arrests and others angry that some even went to DC.
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Proud Boys members squabbled in private conversations after the Capitol riot, according to newly-released audio transcripts in a group leader’s court case.

Ethan Nordean, a 30-year-old described as the “Sergeant of Arms” of the Proud Boys’ Seattle chapter, was arrested in February and charged with obstructing or impeding an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, and knowingly entering a restricted building, according to the Associated Press.

The most serious charge against Nordean, who also goes by the alias “Rufio Panman,” carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

‘We are f—ed’

Court documents released on Tuesday detailed audio files investigators had recovered from Nordean’s cell phone, that were exchanged on Telegram, an encrypted-messaging service that has become popular with far-right groups.

In the conversation, individuals who appeared to be fellow Proud Boys members expressed worry about the ongoing investigation and arrests of people involved in the Capitol riot, while others chastised the members who took part in the riot.

Ethan Nordean
Ethan Nordean at the Capitol riot.

“We are f—ed … they are coming for us,” one person said in one of the audio files.

There was also a discussion speculating about how solid of a case federal prosecutors were building. One individual commented that “feds don’t charge until they have a lot of evidence,” and if they “have enough evidence they are not going to offer much of a plea” deal.

“They’re going to throw the f—ing book at us,” one individual said in one of the audio files.

There appeared to be a lot of intergroup conflict in the audio transcripts as well, with some individuals unhappy that members even went to Washington, DC, in the first place.

According to the transcript, one individual said that he was confused about what happened in Washington because he thought they had voted not to go.

One individual said the “Warboys” went to DC and it “completely f—ing crashed and burns on us … good job with the comms, good job with the security, good job with legal … I mean f—ing ‘Tifa looks like professionals compared to us,” in an apparent reference to the antifa movement.

Another audio file included a comment about Nordean getting “lost in the sauce” and that the Proud Boys’ top leader, Enrique Tarrio, should step down. Another individual said that members under indictment should leave leadership positions.

Ethan Nordean
Another photo of Ethan Nordean at the Capitol riot.

The Proud Boys appeared to splinter after the Capitol riot, particularly after Tarrio was found to be an FBI informant for many years.

The Daily Beast reported in February that regional branches of the Proud Boys had been distancing themselves from central leadership since that revelation.

Tarrio was arrested before the Capitol riot for an unrelated charge of burning a Black Lives Matter flag at a Black church. Before the Capitol riot, Nordean was known for fighting left-wing demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Nordean said he no longer supported Trump

Nordean himself chimed into the conversation at points to defend his actions. He said he led others so they didn’t go astray, according to the transcript.

“I understand where we’re at in the frat. I understand that we’ve taken some risks that we shouldn’t have taken. We’ve done some things we shouldn’t have done. Ok but they’ve been done and we need to learn from ’em,” Nordean said, according to the transcript.

Nordean also said, according to the transcript, that he was no longer a Trump supporter and expressed regret for going to his rallies. He said he thought he was fighting for some secret plan that didn’t come to fruition, and didn’t disagree that things went bad.

Nordean is currently in jail awaiting trial. He was initially released on pretrial confinement, but US District Judge Timothy Kelly reversed that decision in April, saying he was dangerous and no conditions for his release would be adequate, according to the AP.

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A man who bragged about chugging wine at the Capitol riot is campaigning for office. He learned mid-interview he’s running for the wrong seat.

A montage of two pictures of Jason Riddle, being interviewed as a political candidate on the left, and holding up a bottle of wine in the Capitol building on the right.
Jason Riddle (L) being interviewed as a political candidate and (R) holding a bottle of wine inside the Capitol building.

  • Jason Riddle was arrested after admitting to chugging wine inside the US Capitol on January 6.
  • His case pending, he is running for the New Hampshire legislature to unseat Democrat Ann Kuster.
  • In a TV interview Riddle learned Kuster sits in the US Congress, and he is in the wrong race.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A man who was charged after bragging that he had guzzled wine during the Capitol riot is now running for office – but appears to have accidentally joined the wrong race.

Jason Riddle of New Hampshire was arrested in February after he told NBC10 Boston that he joined rioters on January 6 as they stormed the Capitol.

He is accused of illegally entering a restricted building, theft of government property, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a criminal complaint.

He has now decided to enter politics and run for state representative, he said Sunday, with the intention of unseating Democrat Ann Kuster in the 2022 midterms, the channel reported.

However, Kuster is a member of US Congress, not a state representative.

“I thought Ann was a state representative?” he said, when reporter Katherine Underwood corrected him.

“No,” said Underwood. “So, a state representative is in the Statehouse in Concord.”

“Yeah, that’s what Ann is,” said Riddle.

When Underwood informed him that Kuster actually works out of Washington D.C., Riddle said: “Well I guess I’ve got to run against that then.”

Capitol riot
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.

But Riddle is barred from entering Washington D.C. while his case is pending, the network reported.

He also talked to the network about what running a political campaign is like while going through the court case.

He said he believes that the notoriety from the court proceedings can only help him politically, saying: “In the long run, if you’re running for office I guess attention is good, attention I think will help me.”

The fact that he joined the Capitol riot tells voters “I’m going to show up,” he said. “I’m going to actually keep my promises and make some changes.”

In January, Riddle told the network that he hadn’t been able to believe that former President Donald Trump had lost the election.

He traveled to D.C., and when he saw people storming the Capitol, he said he got swept up in the excitement and went in because he “just had to see it.”

Once inside, he raided the liquor cabinet of a member of Congress, “chugged it, and got out of there,” he said.

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A Capitol rioter agreed to a plea deal after posting extensively on Facebook about her time at the insurrection with her husband

Joshua and Jessica Bustle
Jessica Bustle and her husband Joshua, circled, seen inside the Capitol building during the insurrection.

  • Joshua and Jessica Bustle pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count in connection to the Capitol riot.
  • Jessica Bustle’s Facebook posts about the riot were included in the criminal complaint.
  • The couple faces a maximum sentence of up to six months in prison.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Virginia woman who wrote at length about storming the Capitol in Facebook posts after the January 6 insurrection has taken a plea deal, along with her realtor husband.

Jessica Bustle
Jessica Bustle.

Joshua and Jessica Bustle appeared virtually in court before US District Judge Thomas Hogan Monday afternoon, changing their original pleas from not guilty to guilty, according to WUSA9.

Prosecutors dropped three of the four misdemeanor charges against the couple, leaving only one charge of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building – a charge that has a maximum sentence of six months in prison.

The defense requested that the judge sentence the couple immediately, but Hogan ordered a sentencing report to be completed first.

“I’m not prepared to do sentencing today. I think we have to look at the case a little bit,” Hogan said, according to The Daily Beast.

The Bustles are only the third and fourth accused Capitol rioters to plead guilty.

When the couple were first charged in March, prosecutors detailed in their criminal complaint how Jessica Bustle documented the day on social media.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Jessica said she and her husband spent most of the day at the Health Freedom Rally – a protest that featured anti-vaccine activists – before heading to the Capitol, and walking into the building.

Despite footage of clashes between protesters and the Capitol police, Jessica wrote that there was “no violence” and pushed the unfounded theory that “antifa puppets infiltrated the rally.”

Jessica Bustle Facebook post
One of Jessica Bustle’s Facebook posts about the January 6 riot.

She also wrote about witnessing “an unarmed peaceful woman” being “shot” in the neck “by cops,” an apparent reference to the protester Ashli Babbitt’s death.

Speaking in court on Monday, Jessica said the Facebook posts included in the criminal complaint only showed one side of her.

“I’m admitting guilt to the things that I said, and I’m sorry for saying them. There were also other things that were said in posts that were kind, like ‘Pray for America,’ that weren’t included. Those weren’t the full things that I wrote. But I am admitting guilt,” she said, according to The Washington Post.

As part of the couple’s plea agreement, the Bustles each face the possibility of prison time, and a fine of up to $5,000, according to The Daily Beast. They have also agreed to pay restitution of $500 each.

Jessica’s attorney Nabeel Kibria told The Post that the couple just want to get on with their lives.

“They’re just a good, salt-of-the-earth couple … They were into social media before, and realize all the pitfalls of that and want to put this in their past,” Kibria said.

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A former US lawmaker known as ‘Putin’s favorite congressman” marched to the Capitol on January 6

Dana Rohrbacher California
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) speaks during a House Foreign Affairs Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats Subcommittee hearing.

  • A former California congressman participated in the January 6 march to the Capitol that preceded the insurrection.
  • Internet detectives identified Dana Rohrabacher in video footage from the scene earlier this month.
  • Rohrabacher told the Portland Press Herald he discouraged his fellow protesters from entering the building.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An ex-congressman from California confirmed he participated in the January 6 march to the Capitol that preceded the deadly insurrection, after internet detectives discovered him in video footage from the scene, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican who represented California in the US House of Representatives from 1989 to 2019, told the outlet he participated in what started as a “peaceful” march, but denied entering the Capitol and said he discouraged his fellow protesters from doing so as well.

“I marched to protest, and I thought the election was fraudulent and it should be investigated, and I wanted to express that and be supportive of that demand,” Rohrabacher told the Press Herald. “But I was not there to make a scene and do things that were unacceptable for anyone to do.”

The polarizing figure, who has been called “Putin’s favorite congressman” due to his prominent pro-Russia opinions and an unusual friendship with the Russian president, is one of the most high-profile figures to be outed as a rally attendee thus far.

Rohrabacher, who fashioned himself as a Trump ally, was the longest-serving House member to lose reelection in 2018 and moved to Maine shortly after.

According to the Press Herald, a group of anonymous sleuths using the account @capitolhunters identified Rohrabacher in four videos that place him near the Lower West Plaza from around 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on January 6. Identified by his knit hat and overcoat, the internet investigators determined he was almost 500 feet beyond police barriers inside the restricted zone, but concluded there was no evidence suggesting he climbed the West Plaza steps or entered the building.

In an interview with the Press Herald on Monday, Rohrabacher blamed the left-wing for the historic Capitol attack and its ongoing fallout.

“By going into the building, they gave the Left the ability to direct the discussion of what was going on in a way that was harmful to the things we believe in,” Rohrabacher told the outlet, saying he believed “Leftist provocateurs” encouraged the crowd to enter the Capitol. There is no evidence that the riot was provoked by “leftists.”

Since January, more than 500 people have been arrested in connection to the Capitol riot, many of whom have ties to right-wing extremist groups like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and the Three Percenters, as well as followers of the right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon.

In the footage uncovered by @capitolhunters, Rohrabacher can be seen with another man, whom he told the Press Herald was his friend from Japan who is active in the cannabis industry.

In addition to his support of several far-right and authoritarian European leaders during his time in office, Rohrabacher was also a vocal supporter of marijuana legalization.

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MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says he ‘never even watched footage’ of the Capitol insurrection and believes ‘it was a setup’

mike lindell trump
US President Donald Trump listens as Michael J. Lindell, CEO of MyPillow Inc., speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 30, 2020.

  • Mike Lindell denied ever witnessing the Capitol insurrection and claimed it was a “setup.”
  • “I’ve never even watched footage of that,” he told Rolling Stone in a recent interview.
  • Lindell joins a growing chorus of Republicans who have downplayed the deadly riot.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell in a new interview published Monday denied ever witnessing the January 6 Capitol insurrection and claimed it was a “setup.”

When asked about the deadly riot, Lindell told Rolling Stone magazine: “I’ve never even watched footage of that.”

“But in my opinion it was a setup,” he continued. “I’ve been to over 50 rallies … There has never been one incident. And you don’t think it was a setup? Gimme a break.”

Lindell joins several other Trump allies who have sought to downplay the insurrection or spread falsehoods about it. GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has previously said the Capitol riot “didn’t seem like an armed insurrection” and has falsely described it as a “peaceful protest.” He most recently reiterated that stance during a Fox News appearance on Sunday.

Widely circulated video footage and photos of the Capitol on January 6 show large numbers of apparent Trump supporters rioting, constructing a gallows on the complex, holding zip ties, and attacking police officers. Federal investigators have charged 521 people so far in connection with the riot.

Former President Donald Trump has been widely accused of inciting the insurrection after he rallied his supporters to protest the 2020 election results based on lies that the race was stolen from him. Lindell, a staunch ally of Trump’s, has repeatedly pushed his false claims about the election.

Congressional Republicans last month voted to block the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol insurrection. Trump had been against the bill.

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GOP Rep. Tom Rice says he voted for Trump’s impeachment because ‘what he did in my mind is what dictators do’

tom rice
In this Dec. 18, 2019, file photo, taken from video, Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington.

  • Rep. Tom Rice defended his vote to impeach Trump over his role in inciting the Capitol insurrection.
  • Rice called Trump a “bully” and said his actions were “completely despicable.”
  • The South Carolina lawmaker faces several Republican challengers hoping to unseat him in a primary election.
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Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina defended his vote earlier this year to impeach then-President Donald Trump over his role in inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6.

“I took an oath to defend the Constitution. I didn’t take an oath to defend Donald Trump,” Rice said in an interview with The Washington Post that was published on Sunday. “What he did was a frontal assault on the Constitution.”

Rice expressed no regrets over his decision, telling his constituents at an event last week that Trump is a “bully” and his actions on that day were “completely despicable.”

“I will vote that way every single time,” the Republican lawmaker said, according to The Post.

Rice also blasted Trump for tweeting an attack against then-Vice President Mike Pence while his supporters were storming the Capitol and Pence was being rushed to safety.

“For him to be calling Mike Pence a coward and him sitting at the White House surrounded by Secret Service and tweeting while Mike Pence is in the middle of all that, and he’s a coward? Give me a break,” Rice said, per The Post.

Trump at the time said Pence lacked “courage” for refusing to overturn the 2020 presidential election results over false claims that the race was “rigged” and “stolen” from him. The vice president has no authority to challenge the results, and there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.

“If the president, by force, can intimidate Congress into voting their way, then we might as well do away with Congress and hand it over to a king. What he did in my mind is what dictators do,” Rice said of Trump.

Rice was one of 10 House Republicans who broke from their party and supported Trump’s second impeachment – the most bipartisan impeachment vote in US history. His vote shocked many GOP lawmakers, who at the time called him to make sure it wasn’t an accident, The Post reported.

Rice’s comments come as several pro-Trump Republicans have launched campaigns to unseat him in an upcoming primary election for his South Carolina district.

“If you want a congressman who’s going to choose a personality over the Constitution, I’m not your guy,” Rice told voters at the event last week, per The Post.

The Post reported that some of Rice’s constituents are frustrated over his impeachment vote against Trump and that his job is in jeopardy. But Rice is trying to win voters over by pointing to his record. Rice voted with Trump 94% of the time and helped draft the GOP’s tax cuts legislation in 2017.

“If it cost me the job, then it cost me the job,” Rice told The Post. “I hope it doesn’t.”

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After months of evading a lawsuit related to the Capitol insurrection, Rep. Mo Brooks was finally served

Mo Brooks
In this image from video, Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., speaks as the House reconvenes to debate the objection to confirm the Electoral College vote from Arizona, after protesters stormed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021

  • Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell is suing GOP Rep. Mo Brooks over his role in the Capitol Riot.
  • A private investigator left the papers with Brooks’ wife at their home in Alabama, CNN reported.
  • Swalwell said Brooks spent months trying to avoid being served the lawsuit.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Rep. Mo Brooks was served a lawsuit filed against him by Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell over the January 6 Capitol insurrection after months of trying to evade it.

“Well, Swalwell FINALLY did his job, served complaint (on my WIFE). HORRIBLE Swalwell’s team committed a CRIME by unlawfully sneaking INTO MY HOUSE & accosting my wife!” Brooks said in a tweet.

Swalwell is suing former President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Brooks, and Rudy Giuliani for inciting the insurrection. He accused Brooks of dodging being served and said he hired a private detective to track him down.

Brooks denied he was dodging being served and said he was publicly available, CNN reported.

On January 6, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and clashed with police which resulted in five deaths.

Brooks was one of several GOP politicians who falsely claimed there was voter fraud in the 2020 election.

“Brooks-acting in his personal capacity- conspired with the other Defendants to undermine the election results by alleging, without evidence, that the election had been rigged and by pressuring elected officials, courts, and ultimately Congress to reject the results,” Swalwell’s lawsuit said.

The lawsuit said Brooks “directly incited the violence at the Capitol that followed” when he addressed the crowd before the riot.

“Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” Brooks told the crowd at a rally right before the riot.

On Sunday, Swalwell’s attorney Matthew Kaiser said a private investigator left the papers with Brooks’ wife at their home in Alabama, CNN reported.

Insider could not reach Brooks’ office for comment at the time of publication but spokesperson Clay Mills told Forbes that Brooks filed a police report over the incident. Mills said there was video proof that the agent went into Brooks’ home without consent.

Another Swalwell attorney, Philip Adonian, told Forbes that Brooks’ allegation that the server entered his home is “utterly false” and said he “lawfully handed the papers to Mo Brooks’ wife at their home… which is perfectly legitimate under the federal rules.”

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Accused Capitol rioter who yelled at police for ‘protecting pedophiles’ served jail time for statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl, report says

Sean McHugh with a megaphone
Sean McHugh, right, is pictured with a megaphone at the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.

  • During the Capitol riot, Sean McHugh used a megaphone to accuse police officers of “protecting pedophiles.”
  • McHugh served jailed time for the statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl in 2010, CNN reported.
  • He is charged with eight federal crimes relating to the deadly insurrection.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A man accused of storming the Capitol and yelling at police officers for “protecting pedophiles” previously served jail time for the statutory rape of a teenage girl, according to a review of court records by CNN.

Footage obtained by the Metropolitan Police Department reveals that Sean McHugh used a megaphone at the Capitol riot to heckle police officers. “You guys like protecting pedophiles?” he said, according to federal prosecutors.

Yet, ironically, McHugh was convicted in 2010 on a California state charge of unlawful sex with a minor, CNN reported.

He was sentenced to 240 days in jail and four years of probation for the statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl when he was 23, former prosecutor Todd Kuhnen told the media outlet. McHugh pleaded no contest to the charge, Kuhnen said.

Read more: A Trump-appointed prosecutor blindsided the Biden DOJ with a ’60 Minutes’ interview on the Capitol riot cases. Now a federal judge wants to talk about it.

The Californian has been in jail since his arrest on May 27.

He is charged with eight federal crimes relating to the Capitol riot, including physical violence on Capitol grounds and assaulting a law enforcement officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

Videos from January 6 show McHugh pushing a large sign into a line of uniformed police officers, spraying an unknown chemical at officers, and encouraging others to be disruptive, federal prosecutors said.

At the time of the deadly insurrection, he was on probation for driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license, the criminal complaint shows.

According to Insider’s searchable database, more than 500 people have been charged in the Capitol insurrection so far.

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Capitol riot attendee argued she was allowed inside the building on January 6 because she looked up the hours online and it said it was open

Screen Shot 2021 06 04 at 4.11.59 PM
Screenshots taken from open source video that show Baez in the Capitol crypt on January 6.

  • A California woman was arrested and charged in connection to the Capitol riot on Friday in Alabama.
  • Stephanie Baez boasted about her attendance on her Instagram during and after the insurrection, prosecutors allege.
  • She told authorities she was allowed to be in the building because she previously confirmed online that the Capitol would be open.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An alleged Capitol riot attendee, who prosecutors say boasted about her presence at the pro-Trump insurrection on social media, told authorities that she had permission to be in the Capitol on January 6 because she had previously looked up the building’s operating hours to confirm it was open so she could tour the site.

Stephanie Baez, a 27-year-old California woman, told authorities she traveled to Washington, DC, in January to attend then-President Donald Trump’s rally and to look at medical schools, according to court documents.

She was arrested in connection to the riot on Friday in Alabama, according to the Department of Justice.

Baez documented her experience during the attack in extensive Instagram posts, praising the “patriots” who “stormed” the Capitol and offering to give an interview to a fellow Instagram user, according to a criminal complaint.

“I cannot believe the hypocrisy on the left from this. The only bad thing Trump supporters did, which I will call out, was break windows,” she told an Instagram user later that night, according to court documents. “Cops LET THEM PAST the barriers. And the citizens of America are ALLOWED TO BE IN THE CAPITOL BUILDING WHEN ANYTHING IS IN SESSION.”

Months later, during a non-custodial interview with Justice Department officials, Baez would parrot the same justification for her presence in the Capitol that day.

Around January 6, the FBI received an anonymous tip pointing authorities to an Instagram user who posted videos of herself during the riot. The tipster identified the user as Baez and officials confirmed her identity using her listed phone number and California Department of Motor Vehicle records, the criminal complaint said.

The FBI was later alerted to another video posted to Instagram of Baez being interviewed in front of what appeared to be the Capitol on January 6, court records said. The video was captioned, “Girl is ‘Looking for Proud Boy!'” a seeming reference to the neo-fascist group whose members were present during the Capitol attack.

Authorities confirmed Baez was inside the Capitol on January 6 by identifying her in video footage and using cellphone GPS data to place her in the area, the complaint said.

Baez posted a photo of herself to Instagram on January 8 dressed in the same black shirt she was seen wearing in open source video footage from the day of the Capitol attack. The shirt features a photo of author George Orwell and attributes to him the quote “BOY DID I CALL IT OR WHAT?”

“Welcome to 1984! Things are going to get crazy,” Baez’s photo caption reads. “But as long as Patriots love America, she won’t fall…”

Screen Shot 2021 06 04 at 4.42.10 PM
Screenshot of a post to Baez’s Instagram on January 8.

In April, officials interviewed Baez about her attendance and she identified herself as the owner of the Instagram accounts in question, documents said. She reportedly told authorities that she believed she could be inside the Capitol because police told her so. She also said “everyone was calm” and some people were “just following groups,” and she thought it was “insane” not to take that into consideration.

She said she believed that several participants were not aware that they weren’t supposed to be in the building and claimed she had authority to be inside the Capitol because she had previously confirmed it was open for tours, according to the complaint. Prosecutors said Baez also told officials she had looked up the hours because it was “so close” to where Trump was speaking and she was “just checking out what else” was in the area to see.

During the interview, Baez identified herself in screenshots of video footage taken inside the Capitol on January 6, according to the complaint. Authorities also obtained a search warrant for Baez’s Instagram accounts, which revealed several messages confirming her attendance at the insurrection, court documents showed.

“My proudest moment…,” she said about a picture showing her at the Capitol.

Baez was arrested on two charges, including knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

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