Jones is accused of breaking a window of the Capitol building moments before Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot during the insurrection earlier this month.
He’s facing multiple charges, including assault on a federal officer, destruction of government property, obstruction of justice, unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
A Kentucky man who is accused of breaking a window of the Capitol building moments before Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot during the insurrection earlier this month has been arrested.
Chad Barrett Jones, 42, of Coxs Creek, Kentucky, was arrested in Louisville on Saturday and charged with assault on a federal officer, destruction of government property, obstruction of justice, unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, the FBI said in a news release.
The affidavit cites video from the Washington Post, alleging that Jones can be seen striking a door to the lobby’s glass panels with what appeared to be a wooden flag pole.
The crowd around the man can be heard shouting “Break it down” and “let’s f—— go!” as he struck the glass, the FBI said.
Seconds after the glass panel was broken, Babbitt, 35, was shot by a police officer as she tried to climb through it to enter the lobby.
Babbitt and four others died in the Capitol riot, which was carried out by supporters of President Donald Trump who stormed the building as Congress debated Electoral College votes from the 2020 election won by President-elect Joe Biden.
FBI Special Agent Javier Gonzalez said in the affidavit that a witness identified Jones through a tip to the FBI National Threat Operation Center.
The witness said Jones was a relative who had told him he traveled to Washington DC and had used a flag pole holding a flag supporting Trump to break the Capitol window.
Another person, who identified himself as a friend of Jones, told the FBI that Jones had called him after seeing himself on the news, and called himself an idiot, according to the affidavit.
Jones is scheduled to appear in court on January 19.
The far-right leader of “Cowboys for Trump” has been arrested in Washington, DC, after last week pledging to bring guns to the nation’s capital on the day of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
In a statement, the FBI’s Washington Field Office told Insider that Couy Griffin, an elected Republican county commissioner in New Mexico, was detained Sunday afternoon by US Capitol Police, who then notified the bureau. Griffin “was the subject of an arrest warrant for his role in the January 6 Capitol riots,” the FBI said.
A criminal complaint, dated January 15, accuses Griffin of entering restricted grounds without lawful authority.
A police affidavit in support of the complaint cites videos posted to Griffin’s Facebook page – since deleted – where he boasts of attending the January 6 insurrection and pledges to return in order to plant a US flag on the desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“We could have a 2nd Amendment rally on those same steps that we had that rally [on January 6],” Griffin said in another video. “You know, and if we do, then it’s gonna be a sad day, because there’s gonna be blood running out of that building.”
As Insider reported last week, Griffin reaffirmed his intent to travel again to Washington, DC, for Biden’s inauguration, stating at a January 14 Otero County commissioners hearing that he would be bringing two guns in his car along with him. One, he said, would be placed under the front passenger seat – a violation of DC law, which prohibits keeping any firearm within reach of a vehicle’s occupant.
“I embrace my Second Amendment, I will keep my right to bear arms, my vehicle is an extension of my home in regard to the constitution law, and I have a right to have those firearms in my car,” he asserted. Those remarks are cited in the police affidavit used to request a warrant for his arrest.
Griffin has a history of making inflammatory and racist remarks. Last year, he declared that “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat” in a video that was shared on Twitter by President Donald Trump; he also declared that supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement should “go back to Africa.”
Democrats are calling for him to leave public office.
“I am demanding that Couy Griffin immediately resign from the Otero County Commission or my office will seek his removal,” New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said Sunday.
The local Republican Party, for its part, is distancing itself from Griffin.
“Mr. Griffin does not represent The Republican Party of New Mexico nor does he speak for the party,” Mike Curtis, a party spokesperson, told Insider. The state GOP “does not endorse or condone the statements made by [the] Cowboys for Trump founder,” he said, and “condemns violence and any threats of violence against any person or group.”
Griffin could not immediately be reached for comment.
“We got one!” Michael Fanone, a DC Metro Police Officer, said the crowd yelled after he was dragged down the steps of the Capitol, hit with a stun gun, and suffered a mild heart attack. “Kill him with his own gun!”
In an interview with The Post published Thursday, Fanone said he rushed to the Capitol after hearing dispatchers declare an emergency.
When he got there, he realized law enforcement was severely outnumbered.
“We were battling 15,000 people,” he said. “It looked like a medieval battle scene.”
According to The Post, Fanone barely survived that battle. One rioter grabbed his helmet and dragged him down the stems where others swarmed over him, attacking Fanone and another officer with metal pipes and a flag pole amid chants of “USA.”
In total, nearly five dozen DC police officers were wounded by rioters during the insurrection, according to The Post.
“They were overthrowing the Capitol, the seat of democracy,” Fanone commented.
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Brian Bartlett, a Republican communications strategist, raised more than $3,000 on GoFundMe to buy sleeping pads “so they can get a decent rest as they protect our democracy!”
But the National Guard soon clarified: “please know our National Guardsmen have appropriate lodging for when they are off-duty; the photos circulating are of them on-duty, in a designated rest area between shifts.”
In an update, Bartlett told supporters he would be returning the sleeping pads he purchased “and asking GoFundMe to refund all donations.”
The violence and disruption that ensued in Washington, DC, on Wednesday was unlike anything seen in modern US history: crowds of people marching through the halls of Congress, waving Trump flags, ransacking lawmakers’ offices, and planting MAGA hats on historic statues.
It was, though, in some ways a natural consequence of President Donald Trump’s chaotic four years in office, and a manifestation of his relentless attacks on American democracy.
The violence that erupted at the US Capitol was unprecedented and disturbing, but also entirely predictable — and ultimately won’t stop Trump’s term from coming to an end.
One of the central pillars of American democracy withstood a devastating blow on Wednesday when an angry mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters converged on the Capitol building in Washington, DC, and, in relatively short order, breached its barricades, shattered its windows, and stormed in.
The violence and disruption that ensued was unlike anything seen in modern US history: crowds of people fanning out and marching through the halls of Congress, waving Trump flags, ransacking lawmakers’ offices, and planting MAGA hats on historic statues.
One intruder took a seat at the dais where Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been conducting the business of certifying the electoral votes that will confirm President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the next administration to assume the White House. He stood with a clenched fist, in a stance that’s become common amongst hardcore Trump acolytes.
The unrest followed a rally at a DC park where thousands of people supporting Trump and his crusade to delegitimize Biden’s victory showed up to hear the president speak. Trump has stubbornly rejected the reality that he lost the election to Biden, and he only leaned further into that rhetoric Wednesday morning, even as the House and Senate prepared to execute their duties under federal law, just two miles away.
Political worlds collide
Lawmakers tasked with counting the electoral votes for each state had only managed to get through two of them, Alabama and Alaska, before a handful of Republicans launched into their planned objections to the states Biden won. But the digression didn’t last long before the Capitol went into lockdown. Secret Service agents swept Pence out of the room; Pelosi, other lawmakers, and congressional aides were rushed away to secure locations.
At least four people died, including a woman who was shot inside the Capitol. Residential neighborhoods surrounding the riot were placed on lockdown. A suspected pipe bomb was found near a building occupied by the Republican National Committee. The DC National Guard was deployed, and National Guard troops from Virginia were sent to help.
In the ensuing hours, the culmination of Trump’s four years in office unfolded in a dramatic, and yet ultimately unsurprising way. Years of the president’s unapologetic rhetorical attacks against democratic institutions and governance were manifested in the explicit and destructive actions of his supporters.
Trump’s Republican colleagues have long tolerated and appeased his bombast in the name of partisan expediency, but after the insurrection on Wednesday, the strong rebukes Trump received from some people within his own party may signal the true end to his grip on power.
A disparate law-enforcement response
The standoff between pro-Trump agitators and police stretched into the night in the District of Columbia, even after a 6 p.m. curfew imposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser went into effect. Protesters lingered and shouted at the police as they moved the crowds away from the Capitol building.
Police said they made at least 30 arrests, according to the Associated Press, prompting comparisons to the law-enforcement response seen months earlier during Black Lives Matter protests where peaceful demonstrators were tear gassed, brutalized, and arrested in far greater numbers.
At the end of the day, the picture was clear. Years of Trump’s allies insisting that his divisive rhetoric be taken seriously but not literally, and the argument that his fiercest supporters are patriots who are simply passionate about America, came unglued. And police did not appear as ready or eager to douse the flames.
World leaders react in dismay, the president punts
Reactions to the unrest on Wednesday were swift, and they stretched far beyond Washington’s political bubble. Top Republicans and Democrats rejected the savagery. Vice President Mike Pence said, “We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms … We grieve the loss of life in these hallowed halls, as well as the injuries suffered by those who defended our Capitol today.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell, once a strong ally to Trump, went further: “The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs, or threats.”
Former President Barack Obama said the violence at the Capitol was “incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election,” calling Trump’s actions “a great dishonor and shame for our nation.” Former President George W. Bush called the insurrection “sickening and disheartening,” and added, “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic.”
Trump’s former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis offered a bleak assessment of the soon-t0-be former president’s future: “Trump will deservedly be left a man without a country,” he said.
World leaders lamented the scenes playing out on screens around the globe. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it “disgraceful.” Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “I think the American democratic institutions are strong, and hopefully everything will return to normal shortly.”
Ireland’s minister for defense and foreign affairs, Simon Coveney, said: “We must call this out for what it is: a deliberate assault on Democracy by a sitting President & his supporters, attempting to overturn a free & fair election.”
In contrast, Trump tweeted hollow pleas for peace to his 88 million-plus followers, asking them to “remain peaceful,” and “respect the law.” The messages were seen as lukewarm, with Trump weaving platitudes like, “We love you,” and “You’re very special” into his remarks.
Members of Trump’s own inner circle publicly urged him to go further, but he resisted, staying true to his refusal to strongly condemn anyone who supports him, even if there is violence and bloodshed. One of the first examples of this came in 2017, in the midst of the deadly Charlottesville riots.
Trump’s former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney pleaded with him on Twitter at the height of Wednesday’s chaos: “The President’s tweet is not enough. He can stop this now and needs to do exactly that. Tell these folks to go home.”
It didn’t work. Trump followed up his Twitter statements with a video that rehashed his lies that he won the 2020 election. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pulled down the president’s video and the social media outlets temporarily locked his accounts.
The wheels of the US government keep turning, but Trump’s future is uncertain
Despite the relentless chipping away of democratic norms during the Trump presidency, the wheels of the US government kept turning, as lawmakers reconvened on the Senate floor late Wednesday night to continue counting electoral votes that will inevitably certify Biden’s clear victory in the presidential election.
But the last two weeks of Trump’s presidency are less clear. Multiple news reports of internal deliberations about how to deal with the outgoing president circulated in the hours following the attempted coup.
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar said she would draw up new articles of impeachment. Rep. Cori Bush called on the House of Representatives to investigate whether lawmakers had “violated their oath of office to uphold the Constitution” and should face sanctions or removal.
And the specter of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office loomed larger than ever, one of the clearest signs yet that Trump is an imminent threat to the country he was elected to lead.
In a presidency that has prided itself in its appetite for chaos, Trump is getting what he wanted, but the long-term damage to America’s standing in the world may be costlier than anyone can quantify.
Alyssa Farah, who last year served as the White House director of strategic communications, on Wednesday called for President Donald Trump to tell his supporters who had stormed the US Capitol to stand down.
Lawmakers were meeting Wednesday to discuss the certification of the Electoral College vote, which cemented President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. Because several GOP lawmakers planned to object to the certification, lawmakers were discussing the process when the protesters stormed past police and into the building.
Since the election, Trump has refused to concede the race and encouraged his followers to show up in Washington, DC, on Wednesday for a “Stop the Steal” event. The movement is named for his baseless claims that there was widespread voter fraud that led to Democrats “stealing” the election from him. There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the election.
“STOP THIS NOW,” Farah tweeted. “Capitol Police protect & defend the People’s House. We BACK THE BLUE. This is insanity.
In addition to serving as Trump’s communications director from April to December of last year, Farah also previously worked as a press secretary in the Department of Defense and before that, for Vice President Mike Pence, who was present in the Senate Wednesday when it abruptly went into a recess when protesters entered the building.
While the demonstrators ignored the instructions from Capitol Police and sparred with officers as they stormed their way into the building, Trump and Republicans have long claimed to be fierce advocates for police officers, especially amid Democratic lawmaker’s calls for reform last year.
Trump eventually tweeted a plea to his supporters at 3:13 p.m, asking that they remain peaceful following their storming of the building.
“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful,” the president said on Twitter. “No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”