They Were Not Tourists: The Radicals At The Heart Of The Capitol Riot


A set of rightly involved patriots. Confused vacationers. A motley band of hapless, innocent dopes.

Within the six months because the dramatic battle on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, massive elements of the Republican Occasion, working alongside the right-wing media machine, have labored to make the case that what occurred that day was no huge deal. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) argued that it was not an revolt, however a “largely peaceable protest.” Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) — who could be seen in pictures from Jan. 6 wanting horrified as he rushed to barricade the Home gallery doorways to cease the rioters from coming into — referred to as the riot a “regular vacationer go to.” Fox Information megastar Tucker Carlson has even asserted that maybe the rebellion was a false flag occasion orchestrated by the FBI.

There have been certainly some folks on the Capitol who had been principally innocent and have claimed they didn’t understand what would occur. A 49-year-old Indiana lady was sentenced this week in federal courtroom on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct cost for being contained in the Capitol for under 10 minutes, throughout which she didn’t break something or assault anybody, prosecutors say. She gained’t serve jail time. “I’d have by no means been there if I had recognized it will end up that approach,” she stated at her sentencing, whereas apologizing to the “American folks.”

Later that day, nonetheless, one other man pleaded responsible to way more severe expenses. Graydon Younger of Sarasota, Florida, faces as much as 78 months in jail for conspiring with members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia to overrun the Capitol and cease electoral votes from being counted. He’ll cooperate with authorities in circumstances in opposition to his co-conspirators.

Younger’s case factors to a elementary, terrifying reality about Jan. 6: A devoted core of unhealthy actors, from architects of the “Cease the Steal” rally to a variety of extremists and militia members, got here to Washington to derail the democratic course of. And it nearly labored.

On this half-year anniversary of that fateful day, it’s vital to recollect the horror of it, to retain our dwindling sense of shock, in order that those that had been complicit face justice ― and it by no means occurs once more.

The Extremists Who Had been There

The White Nationalists

Richard Barnett, a supporter of President Donald Trump, holds a piece of mail as he sits inside the office of House Speaker N

Richard Barnett, a supporter of President Donald Trump, holds a chunk of mail as he sits contained in the workplace of Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after insurrectionists breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

In the summertime of 2017, President Donald Trump infamously condoned the actions of violent white supremacists at the “Unite the Proper” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, by declaring there have been “very nice folks” on each side of the lethal occasion.

On Jan. 6, a few of these very white nationalists traveled to Washington, D.C., in huge numbers to assist in Trump’s efforts to overturn the outcomes of a good election.

Nick Fuentes, chief of the white nationalist America First “groyper” motion, marched in Charlottesville in 2017 alongside neo-Nazis. On Jan. 6 he allegedly used a megaphone to implore a crowd of his supporters to assault the Capitol. “Hold shifting in direction of the Capitol — it seems we’re taking the Capitol again!” he stated. “Break down the obstacles and disrespect the police. The Capitol belongs to us,” he added.

One among Fuentes’ mates, Tim Gionet, also called “Baked Alaska,” a white nationalist troll who additionally marched in Charlottesville, livestreamed himself collaborating within the riot. “We’re within the Capitol constructing. 1776 will start once more,” he allegedly stated on the livestream, in line with courtroom paperwork. “America First is inevitable!”

A number of white nationalist flags had been seen on the Capitol on Jan. 6, together with an “America First” flag; a flag for the white nationalist web site VDare; and an alt-right Kekistan flag.

Different assorted white supremacists had been there too, together with Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, a U.S. Military reservist who prosecutors say was recognized to co-workers as a Nazi sympathizer who donned a “Hitler mustache” at his naval safety job.

Robert Keith Packer was seen contained in the Capitol sporting a sweatshirt emblazoned with a cranium and crossbones and the phrases “Camp Auschwitz: Work Means Freedom,” a reference to the slogan outdoors the notorious Nazi dying camp the place over 1 million folks, most of them Jews, had been killed.

Richard Barnett, a self-proclaimed white nationalist from Arkansas, was famously photographed sitting within the workplace of Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) along with his toes propped up on a desk.

And Bryan Betancur of Maryland, in line with a police affidavit, is a “member of a number of white supremacy organizations” who has “voiced homicidal ideations, made feedback about conducting a college taking pictures, and has researched mass shootings.” He additionally allegedly has “voiced help for James Fields, the person convicted for killing a person along with his automobile throughout protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.”

Betancur was photographed outdoors the Capitol posing with a Accomplice flag. He faces a number of expenses, together with illegal actions on Capitol grounds and disorderly conduct.

The Proud Boys

Members of the Proud Boys make a hand gesture while walking near the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Members of the Proud Boys make a hand gesture whereas strolling close to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Throughout a 2020 presidential debate, when requested to sentence the violent neo-fascist gang the Proud Boys, Trump stated solely that the group’s members ought to “stand again and stand by.”

When Trump summoned his supporters for the “wild” rally he was going to carry on Jan. 6, the president’s black-shirted Proud Boys confirmed up in droves.

Over 30 Proud Boys have since been arrested for his or her roles within the riot, together with 4 of the group’s leaders, all of whom are actually going through conspiracy expenses.

Ethan Nordean, Zach Rehl, Charles Donohoe and Joseph Biggs, prosecutors say, coordinated the Proud Boys to overwhelm Capitol cops and enter the constructing.

Two different Proud Boys, Dominic Pezzola and William Pepe, additionally face conspiracy expenses. Pezzola allegedly stole a riot protect from a police officer after which used it to smash a window in what has been thought-about the primary actual breach of the Capitol constructing. In courtroom filings in January, regulation enforcement brokers stated they found a thumb drive containing bomb-making directions in Pezzola’s dwelling.

The Oath Keepers

The Oath Keepers are one of the crucial outstanding armed far-right paramilitary teams in America. For the previous twenty years, in line with the Southern Poverty Legislation Middle, the group has “steeped itself in conspiracy theories and skilled for a revolution in opposition to the state.”

The Oath Keepers bought their likelihood to assault the federal government on Jan. 6. Video footage exhibits them donning helmets and vests, forming a military-style “stack” formation to pressure their approach via the gang, up the Capitol steps, after which into the constructing.

Members of the Oath Keepers wearing military tactical gear attend the "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6 prior to the storming

Members of the Oath Keepers sporting navy tactical gear attend the “Cease the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 previous to the storming of the Capitol.

Sixteen Oath Keepers have been charged in an enormous federal conspiracy case. The Division of Justice alleges the paramilitary group members “agreed to plan and take part in an operation to intervene with the certification of the electoral faculty vote by coordinating upfront with others, utilizing web sites and social media to recruit members, and touring to Washington, D.C., with paramilitary gear and provides together with firearms, tactical vests with plates, helmets and radio gear.” 

Two of the defendants have already pleaded responsible and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors of their case in opposition to the extremist group.

One of many males who pleaded responsible, Mark Grods, admitted to stashing firearms throughout the Potomac River, in a Virginia lodge.

Prosecutors allege the Oath Keepers saved the weapons there in case the violence escalated on the Capitol and so they wanted extra firepower.


The QAnon motion relies on an ever-evolving group of conspiracy theories stemming from the foundational perception that an nameless high-ranking authorities official recognized solely as “Q” has been leaving cryptic clues on-line a few secret, globalist cabal of Devil-worshipping, blood-drinking pedophiles who, in league with the Democratic Occasion, are working to undermine and destroy Trump.

QAnon followers have lengthy nursed the authoritarian fantasy in regards to the coming “storm,” the day that Trump would use the navy to arrest, imprison and presumably execute his political enemies. For the Q trustworthy, the forecast for Jan. 6 was promising, and a possibility to indicate their loyalty to the president and participate in historical past.

QAnon T-shirts, flags and indicators had been in every single place in and close to the Capitol on Jan. 6. In response to researchers on the Nationwide Consortium for the Research of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism on the College of Maryland, some 40 QAnon believers have been arrested for collaborating within the revolt.

"QAnon Shaman" Jacob Chansley screams "Freedom!" inside the Senate chamber after the U.S. Capitol was breached by a mob durin

“QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley screams “Freedom!” contained in the Senate chamber after the U.S. Capitol was breached by a mob throughout a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.

They embody, maybe most notoriously, Jacob Chansley, a 33-year-old Arizona man generally known as the “QAnon Shaman,” who may very well be seen in a number of viral pictures and movies sporting horns, a bearskin headdress, and crimson, white and blue face paint.

Prosecutors have accused Chansley of forcing his approach into the Senate chamber, the place he sat in then-Vice President Mike Pence’s chair and left a be aware that learn: “ITS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME JUSTICE IS COMING!” Earlier that day, Pence had refused Trump’s request to dam the certification of Joe Biden’s election as the following president of the USA.

One other QAnon believer, Douglas Jensen, may very well be seen in a viral video (shot by HuffPost’s Igor Bobic) chasing U.S. Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman via the Capitol constructing. “We’re right here for the corrupt authorities!” Jensen could be heard shouting at Goodman as he runs up the steps towards the officer.

Jensen now has regrets about becoming a member of the QAnon motion, in line with a courtroom submitting from his lawyer, Christopher M. Davis.

“Jensen grew to become a sufferer of quite a few conspiracy theories that had been being fed to him over the web by a variety of very intelligent folks,” Davis wrote. “Six months later, languishing in a DC Jail cell, locked down more often than not, he feels deceived, recognizing that he purchased right into a pack of lies.”

A Severe Plot, By The Numbers 


The variety of folks arrested on expenses associated to storming the Capitol. Federal prosecutors say the circumstances may add as much as the most important investigation in American historical past.


The variety of pictures of suspects on the FBI’s Capitol violence “most wished” web site. A whole bunch of individuals recognized by the company have but to be arrested. Included in these pictures: a picture from a surveillance digital camera exhibiting an individual — seen sporting a grey hooded sweatshirt, a face masks and Nike Air Max Pace Turf sneakers — who allegedly positioned pipe bombs close to the headquarters of each the Democratic Nationwide Committee and the Republican Nationwide Committee the evening earlier than Jan. 6.


The variety of folks arrested for assaulting federal regulation enforcement officers through the riot. Robert Sanford, a 55-year-old retired Pennsylvania firefighter, allegedly struck three cops with a hearth extinguisher.


The quantity of officers injured within the assault. One officer misplaced the tip of his proper index finger. One other was stabbed with a steel fence stake. Some had been hit over the pinnacle with baseball bats and flagpoles. Rioters attacked officers with bear spray, irritating their eyes and lungs. One officer suffered cracked ribs and shattered spinal discs. Many had been concussed. Some have mind accidents.


The variety of Capitol Cops who died by suicide after the riot.


The variety of folks with navy backgrounds arrested for collaborating within the riot. Retired Air Pressure Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr. was photographed on the Senate ground in a helmet and fight gear, zip ties held in his proper hand.

“He means to take hostages,” Assistant U.S. Legal professional Jay Weimer alleged throughout a courtroom listening to. “He means to kidnap, restrain, maybe strive, maybe execute members of the U.S. authorities.”

Brock is charged with knowingly coming into or remaining in a restricted constructing or grounds with out lawful authority, in addition to violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.


The variety of off-duty or former cops arrested for collaborating within the assault. Thomas Robertson, a former Rocky Mount, Virginia, police officer is accused of storming the constructing after which posing for pictures inside. He pleaded not responsible to a number of expenses, together with obstruction of an official continuing. In a Fb touch upon Jan. 8, Robertson wrote, “The subsequent revolution began in DC 1/6/21. The one voice these folks will now hearken to is VIOLENCE. So, respectfully. Buckle armor or simply keep at dwelling.”

As a part of his bail situations, a decide stipulated that Robertson couldn’t personal any firearms or harmful gadgets whereas his case was pending. However final month, prosecutors stated, regulation enforcement brokers discovered a loaded M4 carbine and {a partially} constructed pipe bomb throughout a search of Robertson’s dwelling. Prosecutors stated he additionally bought 34 firearms on-line, “transporting them in interstate commerce whereas beneath felony indictment.”


The variety of {dollars} allotted by the Home to the Architect of the Capitol for repairs associated to the assault. Rioters broke home windows and doorways, ransacked workplaces, stole objects and vandalized statues and partitions. (Somebody wrote “Homicide The Media” on a door.)

Historic artwork and furnishings was broken, and a 19th-century gold mirror was shattered. The residue of bear repellent, pepper spray and fireplace extinguishers was left behind.

Rioters stole, or tried to steal, the following objects through the assault: an indication studying “Speaker of the Home Nancy Pelosi,” chairs, a lamp, drawers, paperwork, the U.S. flag from the Senate chamber, a coat rack, a bottle of bourbon, a bottle of wine, a Senate process guide and Pelosi’s lectern.


A member of the National Guard patrols outside the U.S. Capitol on March 8.

A member of the Nationwide Guard patrols outdoors the U.S. Capitol on March 8.

The variety of {dollars} put aside by Congress to reimburse the Nationwide Guard for bills incurred whereas responding to the riot. Nationwide Guard troops had been stationed on the Capitol for 5 months after the assault.


The variety of state and native GOP officers whom HuffPost has recognized as being on the rally that preceded the revolt. As we beforehand reported, they embody “a QAnon conspiracy theorist; a self-described member of a fascist militia; and a person who as soon as declared that ‘the one good Democrat is a useless Democrat.’” The group additionally included “an extremist sheriff from Oklahoma who mentioned harming members of Congress, a city council member from Massachusetts who’s intently affiliated with the violent neo-fascist gang the Proud Boys and a county commissioner from Florida who as soon as mentioned beheading liberals.”


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