A 55-year-old Capitol riot suspect was arrested after feds saw a Facebook post where he said, ‘I was there’

Capitol riot
Rioters clashed with security forces at the US Capitol on January 6.

  • John Maron Nassif, 55, is accused of bragging on Facebook about having attended the Capitol riot.
  • Federal officials say they arrested him Monday after finding posts in which he said, “I was there.”
  • If convicted, Nassif could face a year in prison, a year of probation, and a hefty $100,000 fine.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Florida man accused of boasting on Facebook multiple times about attending the deadly US Capitol riot was arrested Monday.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that John Maron Nassif, 55, was being charged with violent entry, disorderly conduct, and entering a restricted building or grounds without authority to do so.

“You know I was there, right?” an arrest affidavit said Nassif wrote on January 8, according to the Sentinel. “You don’t find it odd that police officer is welcoming everybody in? Considering the narrative that’s being pushed?”

Nassif is also said to have posted on January 20, weeks after the January 6 riot, acknowledging he was one of the people who breached the Capitol.

“I found myself inside the building. The Rotunda was nearly filled with people,” he’s accused of writing on Facebook, per the Sentinel. “No one was fighting or being violent. More pushing and I decided to leave.”

“It wasn’t until I was walking back that I heard a rumor someone had been shot,” the post continued. “It wasn’t till I got back to my hotel room I learned the specifics. Anyone telling you this was some type of coup etc is telling you lies.”

Nassif, if convicted, could face a year in prison, a year of probation, and a hefty fine of $100,000, the Sentinel reported.

The Capitol riot left five people, including one police officer, dead after a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters sought to disrupt Congress’ certification of his defeat to Joe Biden. So far, 458 people have been arrested in connection to the insurrection.

Suspects have been identified largely by their social-media posts, as many posed for photos that led the FBI to them. One woman even identified herself by name in an interview with a reporter posted to Twitter. The woman, who referred to herself as Elizabeth, said she’s from Knoxville, Tennessee. Her face is fully visible in the tweet.

Shortly after federal officials announced they’d investigate the riot and its cause, people were said to be scrambling to delete incriminating photos and social-media posts.

Nassif is scheduled to appear at an initial virtual hearing next week, the Sentinel reported. The court is appointing a public lawyer to defend him.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Parler allegedly warned the FBI of ‘specific threats of violence’ more than 50 times ahead of the Capitol riot

This illustration picture shows social media application logo from Parler displayed on a smartphone with its website in the background.

  • Parler said it alerted the FBI more than 50 times to threats at the Capitol ahead of the January 6 riot.
  • The platform, known for its userbase of conservatives and far-right extremists, said it reported “specific threats” to the FBI.
  • The Department of Justice has previously said insurrectionists used Parler to plan the violent events.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Conservative social media network Parler asserted in a letter to a Democratic lawmaker that the platform warned the FBI of “specific threats of violence” days ahead of the January 6 Capitol riot.

The letter, addressed to Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York on Thursday, said the platform reported these threats to the FBI more than 50 times, the Washington Post reported.

Parler, which advertises itself as a platform for unregulated language and “free speech,” said it alerted the FBI to posts containing specific references to the Capitol, according to the Post.

One post, published December 24 on the platform, was from a user who “called for the congregation of an armed force of 150,000 on the Virginia side of the Potomac River to ‘react to the congressional events of January 6th.'”

Another user allegedly wrote on the platform that a planned event on January 6 was “not a rally” and “no longer a protest,” lawyers wrote in the letter, according to the Washington Post.

“This is the final stand where we are drawing the red line at Capitol Hill,” one user allegedly wrote, according to the letter. “I trust the American people will take back the USA with force and many are ready to die to take back #USA so remember this is not a party until they announce #Trump2020 a winner . . . And don’t be surprised if we take the #capitalbuilding” [sic].

The Capitol riot left at least five people, including one police officer, dead. Members of the Proud Boys, which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were present, according to authorities.

Organizers were emboldened by President Donald Trump’s calls to protest the results of the 2020 election, despite Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory. While members of Congress were meeting inside the Capitol to certify the results, supporters organized an attempted coup and stormed it.

Upon news that the riot breached the building, lawmakers began to shelter in place and many evacuated.

Parler, which has become a mainstay in alt-right communication, has been criticized and scrutinized for its alleged role in the Capitol riot.

As Insider’s Jacob Shamsian reported, Parler’s userbase is largely made up of far-right extremists. The Justice Department has previously said many of those extremists organized the violent events planned for January 6 using the platform.

And after former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account was disabled, top conservatives began sharing their Parler accounts on the platform, encouraging their followers to gravitate there. Among them was Angela Stanton-King, a Republican QAnon supporter who ran in November to represent Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, the seat last held by the deceased Rep. John Lewis.

In the days following the Capitol riot, Apple and Google app stores blocked Parler for violating terms of service. Amazon Web Services also dropped it. These actions effectively took the platform offline.

In February, the company announced that site was up and running with a Tea Party co-founder serving as interim CEO. Mark Meckler, an attorney, political activist, and founder of the Tea Party Patriots, replaced former CEO and co-founder John Matze, who was fired by the company’s board.

Parler has previously shared information with the FBI during the DOJ’s investigation into the Capitol riot. It’s not clear whether Parler handed over information to the FBI after the Department of Justice issued a warrant or subpoena for it or whether the company gave the information over of its own accord.

Parler, Maloney’s office, and the FBI did not immediately return Insider’s requests for comment.

Insider’s Jacob Shamsian contributed to this report.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump falsely claims the Capitol rioters were ‘hugging and kissing’ police as they stormed the building

trump impeached
Former President Donald Trump.

  • Donald Trump falsely claimed the Capitol riot posed “zero threat” and defended his loyalists who stormed the building on January 6.
  • Trump falsely claimed some rioters hugged and kissed Capitol police officers as they invaded the Capitol.
  • One officer died after being attacked with chemical spray; more than 100 others were hurt during the riot.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump downplayed the Capitol riot, falsely claimed it posed “zero threat,” and defended his loyalists who stormed the building on January 6 during an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Thursday night.

Trump claimed that some of the rioters had “great relationships” with the Capitol police, although one officer died and more than 100 were injured after being attacked by violent rioters. Trump suggested some of the rioters didn’t commit any offense by invading the US Capitol building as Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 election.

“It was zero threat, right from the start, it was zero threat,” Trump said. “They went in, they shouldn’t have done it. Some of them went in and they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards, they had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out.”

There is no evidence that the rioters hugged or kissed officers. Trump may have been referring to footage of a Capitol Police officer taking a selfie with one of the insurrectionists and some officers appearing to allow the crowd into the building.

Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died after rioters attacked him with chemical spray. Two rioters were arrested earlier this month and charged with assaulting Sicknick and two other police officers. Many of Trump’s loyalists chanted death threats against former Vice President Mike Pence as they entered the Capitol.

Still, Trump claimed his supporters are being “persecuted” by federal law enforcement because of their political beliefs.

“They’re persecuting a lot of those people, and some of them should be – some things should happen to them, but when I look at antifa in Washington … and nothing happens to them whatsoever,” Trump said. “They don’t talk about antifa, they don’t talk about BLM, they don’t talk about any of the other groups on the left.”

Ingraham jumped in to steer Trump away from arguing that the rioters shouldn’t be prosecuted.

“But you would say that people who commit crimes, regardless of what their political affiliations are, should be prosecuted?” she asked.

Trump responded, “Absolutely. What you said is exactly right.” But he also added: “They go after people on the right in spades and they don’t go after people at all on the left.”

The former president also took the opportunity to repeat his election lies, which incited the violence he attempted to defend.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Trump appointee who was arrested after participating in the Capitol riot asked a judge if he could be transferred to a cell with no cockroaches

capitol riot federico klein
A man who the FBI identified as Federico Klein in his MAGA hat, which he later removed.

  • Federico Klein, a former State Department aide who was arrested after the Capitol riot, complained of his cell conditions to a judge.
  • He said he had trouble sleeping because he felt “cockroaches crawling” all over him.
  • Klein is believed to the first Trump appointee arrested in connection with the Capitol riot.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A former Trump-appointed aide complained to a judge about the roach-infested cell he’s in after getting arrested for storming the Capitol in January. 

Authorities arrested Federico Klein, a former staff assistant at the State Department after he participated in the January 6 insurrection, during which he had been “assaulting officers with a riot shield,” an affidavit said. 

He “physically and verbally engaged” with police officers and impeded them from doing their job, according to the affidavit. Klein was spotted in a MAGA hat and described in the affidavit as “resisting officers, attempting to take items from officers, and assaulting officers with a riot shield.”

Since his arrest, Klein has been held in a detention facility but asked a judge to be moved elsewhere due to poor conditions.

“I wonder if there’s a place where I can stay in detention where I don’t have cockroaches crawling over me while I attempt to sleep,” he said, according to a report from the Washington Post. “I mean, I really haven’t slept all that much, your honor. It would be nice if I could sleep in a place where there were not cockroaches everywhere.”

The judge, Zia M. Faruqui, told Klein in response that he would soon be moved to another jail in Washington, DC. Faruqui also said the conditions would be addressed at his present cell.

“Very well, I appreciate that,” Klein said, according to the Post.

The Capitol riot left five people, including one police officer, dead. Members of the Proud Boys, which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were reportedly present.

Organizers were emboldened by Trump’s urges to protest the results of the 2020 election with him, despite Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory. While members of Congress were meeting inside the Capitol building day to certify the results, supporters organized an attempted coup and stormed the Capitol building.

Upon news that the riot breached the Capitol building, lawmakers began to shelter in place and many evacuated.

In the weeks after, insurrectionists scrambled to delete photos and social media posts proving their participation.

Klein joined the State Department in 2017 just ahead of the inauguration of President Donald Trump, according to a public database. He had a salary of $66,510. 

He faces felony charges for his alleged involvement in the riot. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez describes taking shelter during the Capitol siege: ‘I thought I was going to die’

Alexandria ocasio-cortez AOC
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., walks up the House steps for a vote in the Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.

  • In an Instagram Live on Monday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talked about her traumatizing experience seeking safety in the Capitol buildings during the January 6 insurrection. 
  • Ocasio-Cortez said she mistook a Capitol Police officer banging on her office door for rioters and hid in her bathroom, fearing for her life. 
  • “We’re sheltering and I’m thinking what do we do if the building explodes?” she said. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opened up about her experience seeking safety in the Capitol buildings during the January 6 insurrection in an emotionally-charged Instagram livestream on Monday night.

Ocasio-Cortez described being inside her congressional office with a single staffer, her legislative director Gerardo Bonilla Chavez, in the early afternoon when they heard “huge, violent bangs” on the door of her office. Bonilla Chavez told her to “run and hide,” so Ocasio-Cortez ran into the bathroom. 

“I thought I was going to die,” she said. “I have never been quieter in my entire life.”

But then she heard Bonilla Chavez, who she calls “G,” say that it was safe and she could come out of hiding. When she emerged from the bathroom, she discovered that it was a Capitol Police officer, and not rioters, who’d been banging on her door. The officer directed her to evacuate, unescorted, to a nearby building. Ocasio-Cortez said she and Bonilla Chavez both felt threatened by the officer and weren’t sure if he was there to help them. 

“It didn’t feel right because he was looking at me with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility,” she said. 

Ocasio-Cortez said the officer hadn’t identified himself as police when he’d been banging on the door and was unaccompanied. And she said he didn’t tell them where specifically they needed to go in the other building or to bring the safety equipment stored in each congressional office.

“Did he not idenfity himself as Capitol Police on purpose? Did he lose himself in that moment?” she said. “Just the very uncertainty that you don’t know if this person is trying to protect you or not is very unsettling.”

The congresswoman and her staffer ran to the other building, looking for a particular member’s office when they stumbled upon Rep. Katie Porter’s office and asked to take refuge there.

“We start hearing the yells of these people … and it just feels like it’s a matter of seconds when these doors are going to break through and they’re going to get in,” she said of hearing the mob outside the building. 

Ocasio-Cortez spent several hours with Porter and a few staffers in that office, during which time they braced for an attack. Staffers pushed furniture up against the door.  

“I’m preparing for one of the wings of the building to explode,” she said. “We’re sheltering and I’m thinking what do we do if the building explodes? … What do we do if they break in?” 

The two congresswomen later moved to Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s office, where Ocasio-Cortez stayed until around 4 am. 

Ocasio-Cortez said she didn’t feel safe going to the designated safe room with other lawmakers because she didn’t trust the security or some of her GOP colleagues. 

During her hour-long livestream, the congresswoman repeated her calls for the Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who promoted election misinformation and refused to vote for the certification of results to resign. She argued that Cruz and Hawley are a “danger” to their colleagues because of their lack of regret about having helped promote the misinformation that incited the violence.

“They chose to tell the lie,” Ocasio-Cortez said of the GOP leaders. “All of these things were known in advance and then five, six people have lost their lives. Others have lost eyes, limbs, many more have been traumatized. And yet, after all of that … not even an ‘I am sorry,’ not even an ‘I didn’t know that me doing his would result or contribute to this violence.'” 


Read the original article on Business Insider

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reveals she is a survivor of sexual assault and compares Republicans urging Americans to move on from the insurrection to abusers

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, outside the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Headquarters in Washington.

  • Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez revealed during an Instagram Live on Monday night that she is a survivor of a sexual assault. 
  • Ocasio-Cortez spoke about how the trauma of the Capitol insurrection compounded her trauma. 
  • She said she was advised to “move on,” and she accused the GOP of using “the tactics of abusers.” 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez revealed that she is a survivor of sexual assault, and she compared Republicans who’ve urged the country to move on from the January 6 insurrection to abusers. 

“They’re trying to tell us to move on without any accountability, without any truth-telling, or without confronting the extreme damage, loss of life, trauma,” Ocasio-Cortez said of Republicans who oppose impeaching President Donald Trump and want the country to move on from the Capitol siege. 

“The reason I say this, and the reason I’m getting emotional is because they told us to move on, that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what happened, or even telling us to apologize. These are the tactics of abusers,” the congresswoman said, close to tears, to about 100,000 viewers on Instagram Live.

“I’m a survivor of sexual assault and I haven’t told many people that in my life,” she continued, explaining how the experience of the Capitol insurrection compounded her trauma.

“But when we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other,” she said. “Whether you had a negligent parent, or whether you had someone who was verbally abusive to you, whether you are a survivor of abuse, whether you experience any sort of trauma in your life, small to large. These episodes can compound on each other.”

Ocasio-Cortez appeared on Instagram Live to offer her account of the January 6 Capitol insurrection. She revealed that she was able to hide out with Rep. Katie Porter in her office, and also shared that she had temporarily locked herself in her office bathroom when she believed her office was being breached (the person turned out to be a Capitol policeman). 

“My story is not the only story, nor is it the central story, it’s one of many stories of what these people did in creating this environment,” Ocasio-Cortez said after relating her experience during the insurrection. “These folks who are just trying to tell us to move on are just like pulling the page – they’re using the same tactics – of every other abuser who tells you to move on.”

Last month, Ocasio-Cortez appeared in an Instagram livestream where she alluded to a “very close encounter” where she thought she was “going to die.”  

She told that story with more details on Monday night, describing how a Capitol Police officer banged on the door to her office while she and a staffer hid inside because they thought the officer was a member of the mob. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Facebook temporarily stops ads related to ‘weapon accessories and protective equipment’ ahead of the inauguration and after the Capitol Hill riot

In this photo illustration a Facebook logo seen displayed on a smartphone.

  • Facebook is pausing advertisements for “weapon accessories and protective equipment” until two days after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, BuzzFeed News reported.
  • The move came after a report from Buzzfeed News’ Ryan Mac and and Craig Silverman, complaints from employees, and two separate letters to Facebook from some attorneys general and senators.
  • One letter to Facebook by four attorneys general said, “Facebook’s microtargeted advertising of such gear, including to audiences that have an affinity for extremist content and election misinformation, could promote and facilitate further politically motivated attacks.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Facebook will pause ads for “weapon accessories and protective equipment” ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, Buzzfeed News reported Saturday.

Facebook’s decision comes after recent reporting from Buzzfeed News’ Ryan Mac and and Craig Silverman, employee complaints, and concerns from senators and attorneys general who wrote letters to the company.

Buzzfeed News reported that this pause in the US will last at least until January 22, two days after the presidential inauguration.

Facebook updated a press release that details what the social network is doing ahead of the upcoming inauguration today with this new action. It is also pausing political ads on the site and blocking events created at the White House and state capitol buildings for that day as a cautionary measure.

“We will now also prohibit ads for accessories such as gun safes, vests and gun holsters in the US,” Facebook wrote in the press release about the pause. Weapon-related ads are already banned on Facebook.

There is heightened concern about political violence in DC, and in cities across the country, after pro-Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill on January 6 in an effort to stop the certification of president-elect Joe Biden. Biden’s inauguration rehearsal was recently postponed because of security threats, per Politico reporting.

Read more: There’s a basic problem with calling Facebook and Twitter ‘platforms’ – and it took Trump for us to see it

Buzzfeed News reported that these types of ads are shown in “News Feeds of people who had engaged with content about the attempted coup at the US Capitol building earlier this month,” Mac and Silverman wrote.

TTP Director Katie Paul told Buzzfeed News on January 13 that Facebook gets to profit these ads.

“Facebook’s advertising microtargeting is directing domestic extremists toward weapons accessories and armor that can make their militarized efforts more effective, all while Facebook profits,” Paul told Buzzfeed News.

Attorneys general also mentioned microtargeting in a letter sent to Will Castleberry for Facebook Public Policy on January 15. Karl Racine of DC, Kwame Raoul of Illinois, Maura Healey of Massachusetts, and Gurbir Grewal of New Jersey wrote the letter for Facebook to take “proactive steps” and take down these ads that might encourage violence ahead of the inauguration.

The four attorneys general wrote that people who were part of the storming on Capitol Hill wore “military-style tactical gear.”

Their letter continued: “We believe that Facebook’s microtargeted advertising of such gear, including to audiences that have an affinity for extremist content and election misinformation, could promote and facilitate further politically motivated attacks.”

Sens. Sherrod Brown, Tammy Duckworth, and Richard Blumenthal also wrote a letter on January 15 to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, requesting the company “hold itself accountable for how domestic enemies of the United States have used the company’s products and platform to further their own illicit aims.”

According to the letter, available through Buzzfeed News, the senators wanted Zuckerberg to “take immediate action” to remove these advertisements after the riot at Capitol Hill.

A number of companies and organizations have responded after the siege by suspending political contributions. Some corporations are suspending all political contributions at this time, while others are only suspending donations to the 147 Republican lawmakers who opposed the certification. Facebook is pausing all political donations for at least three months.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Marriott suspends political donations to GOP lawmakers who sided with Trump and objected to Biden’s certification as president

GettyImages trump supporters capitol hill
Supporters of US President Donald Trump enter the US Capitol’s Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.

  • Marriott has cut off donations to GOP lawmakers who objected to certifying Democrat Joe Biden as president. The hotel chain said the decision was the result of last week’s siege on the US Capitol by pro-Trump supporters.
  • Marriott is one of the largest US companies to announce it was halting PAC donations to the GOP members who took part in the failed attempt to overturn the election.
  • Companies including Microsoft, Google, GM, and Coca-Cola have condemned the riots as an assault on US democracy. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain, has cut off political donations to Republican members of Congress who voted against certifying Joe Biden as president.

The company told Insider it made the decision following last week’s deadly siege on the US Capitol by pro-Trump supporters seeking to overturn November’s election results. 

“We have taken the destructive events at the Capitol to undermine a legitimate and fair election into consideration and will be pausing political giving from our Political Action Committee to those who voted against certification of the election,” a spokeswoman said in an email. 

Even after the mob stormed the Capitol last Wednesday, breaking windows and looting offices, eight senators — including Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas — and 139 representatives moved ahead with a planned objection to certifying the 2020 presidential election.  Several other GOP lawmakers who had said they would join dropped out following the riots. Vice President Mike Pence had declined to go along with the plan.

Read More: The right-wing conspiracy theories that fueled the Capitol siege are going to instigate more violence

The insurrection was fueled by months of conspiracy theories and baseless allegations of election fraud pushed by Trump and his backers. The violence led to five deaths, including one Capitol police officer.

Marriott is one of the largest US companies to announce it was halting PAC donations to the GOP members who took part in the failed attempt to overturn the election. The news site Popular Information was first to report the suspensions. Blue Cross Blue Shield’s PAC, known as BLUEPAC, and Commerce Bancshares, have also cut off donations to any GOP members involved, the site reported. 

Marriott is among a growing number of corporations that have condemned the insurrection as an assault on US democracy. Apple, Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Facebook have all condemned the attack. Leaders in the auto industry, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Ford CEO Jim Farley, have also issued statements denouncing the rioters. Ben & Jerry’s, the popular ice cream brand, called for the impeachment of Trump. Coca-Cola called the riots “an offense to the ideals of American democracy.”  

Read More: Amazon is removing Parler from its web hosting service 

Some of Trump’s staunchest supporters also distanced themselves following the riots. Blackstone chairman, CEO, and co-founder Stephen Schwarzman – a longtime Trump ally who previously defended the president’s election lawsuits during a call with top American CEOs – said he was “shocked and horrified.” “The insurrection that followed the President’s remarks today is appalling and an affront to the democratic values we hold dear as Americans,” Schwarzman said in a statement to Insider.

Meantime, Simon & Schuster, one of the “Big Five” publishing houses, canceled the scheduled publication of Hawley’s upcoming book “The Tyranny of Big Tech.” Hawley responded that “Simon & Schuster is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to redefine as sedition.”

The publishing house said it did not come to the decision lightly.  “As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: at the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.”

Read the original article on Business Insider