Mitt Romney rebuked some of his Republican Senate colleagues, calling January 6 Capitol riots an ‘insurrection against the Constitution’

Mitt Romney
Sen. Mitt Romney speaks during a news conference in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on December 1, 2020.

  • Sen. Mitt Romney rebuked some of his Republican colleagues after a hearing about the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
  • Romney reiterated the riots at the Capitol amounted to “an insurrection against the Constitution.”
  • Several Republicans at a hearing on Wednesday downplayed the insurrection, which resulted in five deaths.
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Sen. Mitt Romney called the Capitol attack “an insurrection against the Constitution” following remarks from fellow Republicans trying to downplay the events of January 6.

The Republican senator from Utah was responding to a question from HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic about a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday regarding police preparation during the attack.

Several Republicans spoke out during the hearing to downplay the riots with dismissive comments and baseless claims. GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde said accurately describing the insurrection as such constituted a “bold-faced lie” and compared the pro-Trump mob to tourists.

Hundreds of rioters stormed the Capitol building while Congress was trying to certify the 2020 presidential election results forcing lawmakers, including Romney, to evacuate the building to safety. Footage shows Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman directed Romney away from the rioters during the insurrection.

Five people died in the insurrection and more than 470 people are facing related federal charges.

Bobic on Thursday asked Romney for his response to Republicans “trying to rewrite history” about the January 6 riot.

“Well, I was there,” Romney said. “And what happened was a violent effort to interfere with and prevent the constitutional order of installing a new president, and as such it was an insurrection against the Constitution, it resulted in severe property damage, severe injuries and death.”

The comment marks the latest instance where Romney openly rebuked Republican lawmakers in the aftermath of January 6. The Washington Post reported that Romney erupted at Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, telling the Missouri lawmaker during a fiery confrontation that he “caused” the riot.

Romney posted on Twitter in the hours after the insurrection to label it as such, in addition to squarely placing blame on then-President Donald Trump.

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A supportive wife’s detailed Facebook posts led investigators directly to one alleged Capitol riot attendee

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Gary Edwards inside the Capitol on January 6.

A Pennsylvania man was arrested and charged Tuesday over his participation in the January 6 Capitol attack after investigators used screenshots of his wife’s Facebook posts, which detailed the man’s alleged actions inside the government building, as evidence.

Prosecutors say Gary Edwards, 68, was captured on security footage and rioters’ live streams during the insurrection walking around the inside and outside of the Capitol building.

But authorities had some inadvertent help to kick off their investigation.

Following the riot, Edwards’ wife, Lynn Feiler Edwards, took to social media to describe, in detail, her husband’s alleged actions that day.

“Okay ladies let me tell you what happened as my husband was there inside the Capitol Rotunda,” Feiler Edwards said in a Facebook post, according to an FBI affidavit.

In his wife’s account, Edwards allegedly followed a “small group of young men dressed in military garb” into the Capitol after they broke a window and climbed in. As the crowd stormed the building, Feiler Edwards said police were “milling around doing nothing even after the breech.”

Once inside, she said her husband took on a helping role, assisting those who had been hit with “teargas blasts.” Once again, she said, the police were standing “right next to him as Gary poured water into their eyes.” According to the Facebook post, Edwards then “stayed to chat” with the police who were “calm.”

To end her tale, Feiler Edwards noted that “prior to Gary getting in evidently one woman was shot.” A capitol police officer fatally shot Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt as she tried to climb through a shattered window into the Speaker’s Lobby during the riot.

In a second post, Feiler Edwards claimed her husband carried US flags throughout the Capitol, sang the Star Spangled Banner twice, chanted with fellow insurrectionists, and then departed when asked to leave.

“These were people who watched their rights being taken away, their votes stolen from them, their state officials violating the constitutions of their country and people who are not being given the opportunity to be able to have evidence shown,” Feiler Edwards reportedly wrote.

But while Felier Edwards was lamenting her husband’s lack of opportunity to “have evidence shown,” somebody viewing her Facebook was screenshotting her posts as evidence that would eventually help lead to his arrest.

Prosecutors say an anonymous tipster took screenshots of the Facebook posts and forwarded them to investigators in February. The Justice Department later found social media photos and video footage that placed Edwards at the Capitol during the attack, court documents said.

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Gary Edwards captured on a livestream inside the Capitol on January 6.

According to the affidavit, Feiler Edwards’ Facebook posts were deleted or removed from public view some time after January 6.

Feiler Edwards did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Authorities arrested Edwards on Tuesday and charged him with five counts, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds, disruption of official business, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building.

More than 450 people have been charged in the Capitol insurrection so far.

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Justice Department releases new videos it says shows the assault of officer Brian Sicknick during Capitol riot

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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.

  • New video from the US Capitol attack shows the alleged assault of officer Brian Sicknick.
  • Prosecutors say Sicknick, who died one day after the riot, was sprayed with a chemical irritant.
  • A medical examiner ruled Sicknick died of natural causes, but said the siege “played a role in his condition.”
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The US Justice Department on Wednesday released a series of new videos that show the alleged assault of officer Brian Sicknick during the January 6 Capitol attack, including the moment prosecutors say a protester sprayed a substance at Sicknick, which caused him to retreat behind the police line to wash out his eyes.

Sicknick, 42, died one day after the siege, and was lauded as a hero in the aftermath of the attack. Earlier in April, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Washington, DC, ruled Sicknick died of natural causes. The medical examiner found the officer had two strokes before his death. He told The Washington Post, “all that transpired” during the Capitol riot “played a role in [Sicknick’s] condition.

The videos have been cited as evidence in cases against two men charged with assaulting Sicknick during the riot by spraying a chemical irritant at him. George Tanios of Morgantown, West Virginia, and Julia Khater of State College, Pennsylvania, were arrested in March and charged with conspiring to injure officers and assaulting an officer with a dangerous weapon, among other charges related to their participation in the Capitol attack.

Tanios and Khater have not been charged in relation to Sicknick’s death.

Prosecutors had previously described and played the videos in court hearings for the two men, but Wednesday marked the first time the footage became available to the public. The agency initially rejected media organizations’ requests to release the video, citing possible security concerns, but the Justice Department later complied after a coalition of 14 media organizations filed a legal motion in federal court, citing the public’s “powerful interest” in seeing the video evidence, according to NPR.

The footage was taken by six surveillance cameras in the vicinity of the riot, three DC police body cameras, and one bystander’s cell phone video, according to NBC News.

In the videos, Khater can be seen wearing a “beanie with a pom-pom on top” while Tanios is visible wearing a red baseball hat. In a criminal affidavit, prosecutors say the video shows Khater and Tanios approaching a police line on the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol building, where Sicknick and other officers were positioned.

Around 2:14 p.m., prosecutors say Khater “is seen making his way toward Tanios, then reaching into his backpack, stating, “Give me that bear shit.” Tanios reportedly responds “Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet … it’s still early.”

Khater retrieves a canister from Tanios’ backpack and walks to an area within “a few steps” of the police perimeter, court records said. Prosecutors say the video shows Khater aiming the canister in the direction of the officers while “moving his arm from side to side.”

Legal documents said Capitol police officers Sicknick and Caroline Edwards, and Metropolitan Police Department officer D. Chapman, were all standing within a few feet of Khater and all reacted to being sprayed in the face, retreating and bringing their “hands to their eyes and rushing to find water to wash out their eyes.”

The DC medical examiner told The Post Sicknick did not have an allergic reaction to chemical irritants that could have caused his throat to swell.

Neither Khater, nor Tanios is accused of breaching the Capitol during the riot.

In a motion for pretrial release, Khater’s defense argued it is possible the chemical spray that momentarily debilitated Sicknick and the other officers could have come from other law-enforcement officers, given the use of chemical sprays by police. Tanios’ defense has said he “emphatically denies each charge” against him.

Both men remain detained while awaiting a May 6 hearing.

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Insurrectionists who posted social media footage of the Capitol riots are claiming to be journalists in their legal defenses, report says

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In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol in Washington. Some people charged with storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 are claiming they were only there to record history as journalists, not join a deadly insurrection.

  • At least eight defendants charged in the Capitol riots have identified themselves as journalists, AP said.
  • These self-proclaimed job titles are being used to mount a First Amendment free speech defense.
  • The legal defenses are unlikely to stand up in court, a dean at a top journalism school said.
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Several defendants charged in the Capitol riots have self-identified as journalists in a bid to justify their attendance at the deadly insurrection, according to the Associated Press.

Individuals who might have posted potentially self-incriminating photographs or videos of them storming the Capitol are claiming they were only there to “record history” and absolve themselves of criminal responsibility, AP reported.

At least eight of those charged with the Capitol siege have claimed to be journalists or documentary makers to mount a First Amendment free speech defense, experts told the news agency.

Read more: Trump and his advisors are shrugging off DOJ’s Capitol riot probe. But they see danger in the Georgia and New York investigations.

One defendant, Shawn Witzemann, claimed that he was only inside the Capitol to live stream the protests, according to court records.

“I seek truth. I speak to sources. I document. I provide commentary. It’s everything that a journalist is,” he said in an interview with a New Mexico television station.

His YouTube page – “the Armenian Council for Truth in Journalism” – has just over 300 subscribers, his attorney told AP. Witzemann is charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Another defendant, Andrew Morgan, cited a small YouTube channel as justification for his attendance.

In his legal defense, Morgan referred to himself as “an independent journalist and civil rights auditor.” His YouTube page – “Political Trance Tribune” – has around 3,600 subscribers.

Morgan shared a video of himself participating in the insurrection on the page. In the clip, court documents show, he can be heard yelling, “send helmets forward.”

Other fringe platforms, such as”Insurgence USA” and “Thunderdome TV,” have also been named by defendants, AP said.

Nicholas DeCarlo claimed that he and another alleged rioter, Nicholas Ochs, are journalists for an online forum called “Murder the Media News,” the Los Angeles Times said.

A self-employed “documentarian,” John Earle Sullivan, has also used the legal defense that he was at the riots for journalistic reasons, the news agency reported.

He is accused of saying, “Let’s burn this s–t down,” while breaching the Capitol’s security barrier, according to an affidavit submitted to the US District Court for DC.

Lucy Dalglish, the dean of the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, told the Associated Press that these legal defenses are unlikely to stand in court. Journalists need to be credentialed and cannot claim to be reporting if there is evidence to suggest they were encouraging the violent mob, she told the news agency.

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Capitol riot suspect allegedly wore a shirt that said, ‘I was there, Washington, DC, January 6, 2021’ when the FBI arrested him

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Jessica Marie Watkins (2nd from L) and Donovan Ray Crowl (Center), both from Ohio, march down the east front steps of the U.S. Capitol with the Oath Keepers militia group among supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. Both have since been indicted by federal authorities for their roles in the siege on the U.S. Capitol. Picture taken January 6, 2021.

  • A Capitol riot suspect was wearing a T-shirt with former President Donald Trump’s face on it when arrested.
  • The shirt also said, “Take America Back,” and “I was there, Washington, DC, January 6, 2021.”
  • Garret Miller has been indicted on 12 counts in relation to the January 6, Capitol riots.
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Garret Miller, a Capitol riot suspect, was wearing a shirt with Donald Trump’s face on it that said “Take America Back” and “I was there, Washington, DC, January 6, 2021,” when federal authorities arrested him at his Dallas, Texas, home, according to new court documents.

The new court filing came out on Monday as federal prosecutors have called for Miller to remain in custody as he awaits trial on a list of charges stemming from during and after the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

Miller is one of more than 380 people charged in connection with the January 6 riots.

Miller posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter during and after the breach describing his actions and intentions, according to prosecutors.

On Facebook, Miller posted a selfie in the halls of Congress, to which a user responded, “bro you got in?! Nice!” and Miller replied, “just wanted to incriminate myself a little lol,” according to court documents.

Some of the other charges Miller is facing relate to threats he made to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as well as a Capitol police officer, according to prosecutors.

Miller, the court documents say, fixated on the officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt, a San Diego woman who had also stormed the Capitol on January 6.

According to the filings, Miller believed the officer who killed Babbitt was Black and argued that he deserved a public, televised execution. On social media, prosecutors said that Miller wrote, “I had a rope in my bag on that day.” At his home, they recovered weapons, a crossbow, riot gear, and ropes, according to the filing.

On Twitter, and in response to a tweet from Rep. Ocasio-Cortez which said, “Impeach,” Miller wrote, “Assassinate AOC,” according to the documents.

“By bringing tactical gear, ropes, and potentially, by his own admission, a gun to the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Miller showed that he was not just caught up in the frenzy of the crowd but instead came to DC with the intention of disrupting the democratic process of counting and certifying Electoral College votes,” prosecutors wrote in Monday’s filing.

Miller was arrested on January 20 in Texas, and on February 12, a grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted Miller on 12 counts, including civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, making interstate threats, and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers.

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Donald Trump claimed that his supporters who stormed the Capitol posed ‘zero threat’

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  • Former President Donald Trump claimed that his supporters who stormed the Capitol posed “zero threat.”
  • In fact, five people including a police officer were killed during the failed insurrection.
  • “It was zero threat right from the start – it was zero threat,” Trump told Fox News on Thursday.
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Former President Donald Trump claimed that his supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6 posed “zero threat” despite the fact that five people including a police officer were killed during the failed insurrection.

“It was zero threat right from the start – it was zero threat,” Trump told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Thursday.

“Look, they went in, they shouldn’t have done it. Some of them went in and they’re hugging the police and the guards. They had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in and then they walked in and then they walked out.”

Trump’s comments significantly misrepresent the events during the Capitol riot, which took place after the president told his supporters at a rally to “fight like hell” against the outcome of the presidential election.

Around 140 officers were injured during the attack, according to the head of the Capitol Police union. One officer, Brian Sicknick, died from injuries he sustained during the riot.

“You’ll never take back our country with weakness,” Trump had told supporters at the rally before hundreds of them stormed the Capitol. He and his followers falsely pushed claims that the election had been “stolen” from him through widespread voter fraud.

“We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol and we’re going to try and give…” Trump said, although he did not finish the sentence.

The former president also on Thursday suggested his supporters who participated in the siege, many of whom face federal and local charges for trespass and other offenses, were being “persecuted.”

“They’re persecuting a lot of those people. And some of them should be… some things should happen to them,” Trump told Ingraham.

More than 300 people have been charged in connection with the attack. Insider created a searchable database of every suspect who has been charged.

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54% of Republicans said they believe the Capitol insurrection is getting too much attention, a new Pew survey shows

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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.

  • Over half of Republicans – 54% – said they think the Capitol riots are getting too much attention.
  • 40% of Democrats said they think too little attention is being paid to the siege, a Pew poll found.
  • Democrats and Republicans also differed on the importance of prosecuting the rioters.
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Over half of Republicans and Republican-leaning adults said they believe the Capitol riots are getting too much attention, according to a new Pew Research Center survey on Americans’ views on the January 6 insurrection.

In the poll, 54% of Republicans said they think too much attention is being paid to the riots, while 33% said they think the right amount of attention is paid and 11% thought that too little attention is being paid.

Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning respondents, 40% think too little attention is being paid to the deadly violence and only 8% think the riots are receiving too much attention.

And among all Americans surveyed, 27% think too little attention is being paid to the riots, 44% said they think about the right amount of attention is being paid to them, and 28% believe too much attention is being paid.

Read more: Inside Merrick Garland’s bid to boost morale in the federal prosecutor’s office handling the January 6th Capitol riot cases, one of the largest investigations in US history

Pew surveyed over 12,000 American adults through their American Trends Panel between March 1 and March 7 to gauge their views on the Capitol insurrection over two months after the event. The survey has a margin of error of ±1.5 percentage points.

There were also partisan divides among the respondents on questions of how important it is to prosecute the rioters and whether they believe punishments will be too severe or not severe enough.

Among all Americans, 87% said they believe it’s very or somewhat important to prosecute the rioters, compared to 79% of Republicans and 95% of Democrats.

Additionally, 37% of Republicans but only 10% of Democrats said the penalties they expect the rioters to receive will be more severe “than they should be,” while 65% of Democrats but only 26% of Republicans said they believe the rioters will receive less severe punishments than they should.

More than 315 people have been charged in connection with the insurrection on the US Capitol, but several suspects are still at large.

In one major breakthrough for the investigation on Thursday, a grand jury indicted two men on charges of conspiracy to injure by spraying the fallen Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick with bear spray. Sicknick was one of five people who died as a result of the riots.

Last week, the FBI also released surveillance footage of the suspect they believe placed pipe bombs outside the headquarters of the Democratic and Republican National Committees’ headquarters in the Capitol Hill neighborhood on January 5.

The prosecution of Capitol rioters is among the most wide-ranging and labor-intensive in the Department of Justice’s history and spans the entire federal court system.

In a recent court filing in the DOJ’s case against nine defendants affiliated with the extremist Oath Keepers movement, federal prosecutors said they expect to charge at least 100 more defendants and have received over 210,000 tips. They called the probe “likely the most complex investigation ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.”

Expanded Coverage Module: capitol-siege-module

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An ex-girlfriend tipped off the FBI about an alleged US Capitol rioter after he called her a ‘moron’

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A pro-Trump rioters breaks into the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

  • Richard Michetti has been charged with entering restricted grounds at the US Capitol.
  • The Pennsylvania man was turned in by his ex-girlfriend after he called her a ‘moron’.
  • She provided text messages and videos to the FBI.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A Pennsylvania man was outed by his ex-girlfriend after trying to stop Congress from recognizing President Joe Biden’s election victory, according to court documents.

The woman may have decided to tip off law enforcement after being insulted.

“If you can’t see the election was stolen, you’re a moron,” Richard Michetti texted his ex-girlfriend, according to the criminal complaint. “This is our country do you think we live like kings because no one sacrificed anything?”

“[T]he vote was fraud and trump won but they won’t audit the votes,” he added.

Michetti’s former partner provided the FBI with text messages and videos a day after the January 6 insurrection. She also identified him in other images that appear to show him inside the US Capitol.

The FBI also obtained a receipt showing that he checked into a DC hotel on January 5 and checked out a day later.

Michetti charged with entering a restricted building, violent entry, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and obstructing the work of Congress.

He was arraigned Tuesday at the US District Court in Philadelphia and released on bail, according to The Morning Call.

Numerous investigations, including those led by elected Republicans, found no evidence that there was any significant fraud in the 2020 election. Nonetheless, former President Donald Trump enflamed his supporters – and threatened state election officials – culminating in the breach of the US Capitol that delayed certification of Biden’s win in the Electoral College.

More than 265 people have now been arrested and charged with taking part in the Capitol riot.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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Ex-NYPD officer charged with using a flagpole to assault a cop during the US Capitol riot

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A pro-Trump mob clashes with police on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.

  • Thomas Webster appeared in court Tuesday over charges he assaulted a police officer.
  • Webster is a former member of the New York Police Department.
  • Prosecutors accuse him of using a flagpole to attack an officer at the January 6 US Capitol riot.
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A former member of the New York Police Department appeared in court Tuesday to face charges that he assaulted a police officer with a dangerous weapon during the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

According to a criminal complaint, Thomas Webster, who was arrested Monday, was carrying a metal flagpole with a US Marine Corps flag on it when he began verbally harassing a member of the Metropolitan Police Department, declaring him a “commie” and a “piece of shit.”

Then, prosecutors say, Webster shoved a metal gate into the man and then lunged at him, “striking at the officer with the flagpole numerous times.”

He is at least the second man to be charged with using a flagpole to attack a police officer during the insurrection.

“You can see him ripping the officer’s protective gear off, the gas mask or the helmet that he was wearing at the time, which … caused the police officer to choke. It cut off his air at least for a short period of time,” Assistant US Attorney Benjamin Gianforti said Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

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A man is seen attempting to rip a face mask off a police officer outside the US Capitol

The actions were caught on body camera footage. Prosecutors say Webster can also been seen on a YouTube video in restricted grounds at the US Capitol. “Send more patriots,” the man in the video states. “We need some help.”

Webster, who runs a landscaping company, was identified with screenshots from the video by an administrator at his children’s high school, according to the complaint.

If convicted, he could face more than a decade behind bars.

Webster is currently being held without bail until his next court appearance on March 3, with US Magistrate Judge Andrew E. Krause calling the video footage he reviewed “disturbing” and “well beyond First Amendment speech.”

His lawyer, James Monroe, said he intends to plead not guilty.

More than 250 people have now been charged in connection with the violence on January 6.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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A far-right UCLA student who live-streamed the Capitol siege, and reportedly bragged he wouldn’t get caught was slapped with federal charges for his role in the insurrection

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Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather at the west entrance of the Capitol during a “Stop the Steal” protest outside of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. U.S. January 6, 2021.

  • A UCLA student with a history of far-right online activity was charged with storming the Capitol.
  • Federal agents helped arrest 22-year-old Christian Secor with the help of tipsters.
  • One tipster indicated that Secor threw away his phone and bragged he wouldn’t get caught.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Christian Secor, a UCLA student who espoused far-right and white supremacist views, was charged by federal authorities for his role in storming the Capitol on January 6. 

According to court documents, tipsters shared information about Secor, telling the FBI that Secor had gotten rid of his phone, moved into his mother’s basement, and bragged that he wouldn’t get caught.

In total, 11 people helped identify Secor, 22, who live-streamed the breach of the Capitol and was pictured sitting at Pence’s dais during the siege.

Federal authorities in DC charged Secor with assaulting, resisting, or impeding a police officer; violent entry and remaining on restricted grounds; civil disorder; and obstructing an official proceeding. 

On Tuesday, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told the Los Angeles Times that federal agents arrested Secor at his Costa Mesa home.

Federal investigators stated that Secor founded an unofficial club called “America First Bruins” while attending UCLA.

According to the Daily Bruin, Secor had been active with the Bruin Republicans as recently as February 2020,  which is when the conservative group stated that Secor was banned for “inappropriate behavior.”

“What I can tell you is that UCLA believes the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol was an attack on our democracy,” Bill Kisliuk, the UCLA director of media relations, said in a statement. “As an institution, UCLA is committed to mutual respect, making decisions based on evidence and using rational debate – not physical violence.”

According to the affidavit, Secor’s hateful views towards immigrants and Jews were well-documented by student groups and on his social media during his time on campus. On Twitter, he lauded the 2017 white supremacist rally in  Charlottesville, and called fascism “epic.”

In photos and videos taken during the insurrection, Secor was seen carrying a blue “America First,” flag.

Secor also live-streamed from the Capitol on January 6 under the moniker Scuffed Elliot Rodger – a reference to a 22-year-old who killed seven people at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2014.

“As a result of Secor and others pushing on the double doors, the doors opened and dozens of additional rioters flooded into the building,” the affidavit said. “The Capitol Police officers were shoved by the crowd, at times trapped between the doors and the crowd, and eventually pushed out of the way of the oncoming mob.”

According to court documents, FBI agents had Secor under surveillance from January 25-28 before detaining him.

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