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Records show fervent Trump fans fueled Capitol takeover

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The mob on the Capitol included GOP officers and political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists and adherents of the QAnon conspiracy concept.

WASHINGTON — They got here from throughout America, summoned by President Donald Trump to march on Washington in help of his false declare that the November election was stolen and to cease the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden because the victor.

“Massive protest in D.C. on January sixth,” Trump tweeted per week earlier than Christmas. “Be there, will probably be wild!”

The insurrectionist mob that confirmed up on the president’s behest and stormed the U.S. Capitol was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, together with Republican Occasion officers, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, members of the navy and adherents of the QAnon fable that the federal government is secretly managed by a cabal of Devil-worshiping pedophile cannibals. Information present that some have been closely armed and included convicted criminals, equivalent to a Florida man just lately launched from jail for tried homicide.

The Related Press reviewed social media posts, voter registrations, courtroom recordsdata and different public information for greater than 120 individuals both dealing with prison costs associated to the Jan. 6 unrest or who, going maskless amid the pandemic, have been later recognized by pictures and movies taken in the course of the melee.

The proof provides deceive claims by right-wing pundits and Republican officers equivalent to Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., that the violence was perpetrated by left-wing antifa thugs somewhat than supporters of the president.

“If the studies are true,” Gaetz mentioned on the Home ground simply hours after the assault, “among the individuals who breached the Capitol at this time weren’t Trump supporters. They have been masquerading as Trump supporters and, in actual fact, have been members of the violent terrorist group antifa.”

Steven D’Antuono, the assistant director in control of the FBI’s Washington area workplace, informed reporters that investigators had seen “no indication” antifa activists have been disguised as Trump supporters in Wednesday’s riot.

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The AP discovered that lots of the rioters had taken to social media after the November election to retweet and parrot false claims by Trump that the vote had been stolen in an unlimited worldwide conspiracy. A number of had brazenly threatened violence towards Democrats and Republicans they thought of insufficiently loyal to the president. Throughout the riot, some livestreamed and posted pictures of themselves on the Capitol. Afterwards, many bragged about what that they had executed.

Because the mob smashed by doorways and home windows to invade the Capitol, a loud chant went up calling for the hanging of Vice President Mike Pence, the current goal of a Trump Twitter tirade for not subverting the Structure and overturning the official vote tally. Exterior, a picket scaffold had been erected on the Nationwide Mall, a rope noose dangling on the prepared.

To date, at the very least 90 individuals have been arrested on costs starting from misdemeanor curfew violations to felonies associated to assaults on cops, possessing unlawful weapons and making loss of life threats towards Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Amongst them was Lonnie Leroy Coffman, 70, an Alabama grandfather who drove to Washington to attend Trump’s “Save America Rally” in a crimson GMC Sierra pickup filled with an M4 assault rifle, a number of loaded magazines, three handguns and 11 Mason jars full of do-it-yourself napalm, in response to courtroom filings.

The truck was discovered throughout a safety sweep involving explosives-sniffing canine after two pipe bombs have been discovered and disarmed Wednesday close to the nationwide headquarters of the Republican and Democratic events. Coffman was arrested that night when he returned to the truck carrying a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun and a .22-caliber derringer pistol in his pockets. Federal officers mentioned Coffman will not be suspected of planting the pipe bombs, although he was charged with having Molotov cocktails within the mattress of his truck.

His grandson, Brandon Coffman, informed the AP on Friday his grandfather was a Republican who had expressed admiration for Trump at vacation gatherings. He mentioned he had no thought why Coffman would present up within the nation’s capital armed for civil battle.

Additionally dealing with federal costs is Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., a Georgia man who within the wake of the election had protested outdoors the house of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump had publicly blamed for his loss within the state. Meredith drove to Washington final week for the “Save America” rally however arrived late due to an issue with the lights on his trailer, in response to courtroom filings that embody expletive-laden texts.

“Headed to DC with a (s—-) ton of 5.56 armor-piercing ammo,” he texted mates and family on Jan. 6, including a purple satan emoji, in response to courtroom filings. The next day, he texted to the group: “Desirous about heading over to Pelosi (C——’s) speech and placing a bullet in her noggin on Reside TV.” He as soon as once more added a purple satan emoji, and wrote he may hit her along with his truck as a substitute. “I’m gonna run that (C—-) Pelosi over whereas she chews on her gums. … Useless (B——) Strolling. I predict that inside 12 days, many in our nation will die.”

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Meredith, who’s white, then texted a photograph of himself in blackface. “I’m gonna stroll round DC FKG with individuals by yelling ‘Allahu ak Bar’ randomly.”

A participant within the textual content alternate offered screenshots to the FBI, who tracked Meredith to a Vacation Inn a brief stroll from the Capitol. They discovered a compact Tavor X95 assault rifle, a 9mm Glock 19 handgun and about 100 rounds of ammunition, in response to courtroom filings. The brokers additionally seized a stash of THC edibles and a vial of injectable testosterone.

Meredith is charged with transmitting a menace, in addition to felony counts for possession of firearms and ammunition.

Michael Thomas Curzio was arrested in relation to the riots lower than two years after he was launched from a Florida jail in 2019 after serving an eight-year sentence for tried homicide. Court docket information from Florida present that he shot the boyfriend of his former girlfriend in a combat at her residence.

Federal regulation enforcement officers vowed Friday to carry further costs towards those that carried out the assault on the Capitol, launching a nationwide manhunt for dozens of suspects recognized from photographic proof

The FBI has opened a homicide probe into the loss of life of Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who was hit within the head with a fireplace extinguisher, in response to regulation enforcement officers who spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to debate the continued investigation publicly. He died at a hospital.

The Trump supporters who died within the riot have been Kevin D. Greeson, 55, of Athens, Alabama; Benjamin Philips, 50, of Ringtown, Pennsylvania; Ashli Babbitt, 35, of San Diego; and Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Kennesaw, Georgia.

Boyland’s sister informed the AP on Friday she was an adherent of the QAnon conspiracy concept that holds Trump is America’s savior. Her Fb web page featured pictures and movies praising Trump and selling fantasies, together with one concept {that a} shadowy group was utilizing the coronavirus to steal elections. Boyland’s ultimate submit on Twitter — a retweet of a submit by White Home social media director Dan Scavino — was an image of hundreds of individuals surrounding the Washington Monument on Wednesday.

“She would textual content me some issues, and I’d be like, ‘Let me fact-check that.’ And I’d sit there and I’d be like, ‘Properly, I don’t assume that’s truly proper,’” Lonna Cave, Boyland’s sister, mentioned. “We obtained in fights about it, arguments.”

The AP’s overview discovered that QAnon beliefs have been frequent amongst those that heeded Trump’s name to come back to Washington.

Doug Jensen, 41, was arrested by the FBI on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa, after returning residence from the riot. An AP photographer captured pictures of him confronting Capitol Law enforcement officials outdoors of the Senate chamber on Wednesday.

Jensen was carrying a black T-shirt emblazoned with a big Q and the phrase “Belief The Plan,” a reference to QAnon. Video posted on-line in the course of the storming of the Capitol additionally seems to point out Jensen, who’s white, pursuing a Black police officer up an inside flight of stairs as a mob of individuals trails a number of steps behind. At a number of factors, the officer says “get again,” however to no avail.

Jensen’s older brother, William Routh, informed the AP on Saturday that Jensen believed that the individual posting as Q was both Trump or somebody very near the president.

“I really feel like he had numerous affect from the web that confused or obscured his views on sure issues,” mentioned Routh, of Clarksville, Arkansas, who described himself as a Republican Trump supporter. “Once I talked to him, he thought that perhaps this was Trump telling him what to do.”

Jensen’s employer, Forrest & Affiliate Masonry in Des Moines, introduced Friday that he had been fired.

Tara Coleman, a 40-year-old mom who lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was arrested on the Capitol for a curfew violation and for illegal entry. On her Fb web page, Coleman re-posted articles supporting the QAnon beliefs a couple of “deep state” conspiracy to focus on youngsters. The AP couldn’t discover a working cellphone quantity for Coleman and her lawyer, Peter Cooper, didn’t reply to an e-mail in search of remark.

And Jake Chansley, who calls himself the “QAnon Shaman” and has lengthy been a fixture at Trump rallies, surrendered to the FBI area workplace in Phoenix on Saturday. Information pictures present him on the riot shirtless, along with his face painted and carrying a fur hat with horns, carrying a U.S. flag connected to a picket pole topped with a spear.

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Chansley’s uncommon headwear is seen in a Nov. 7 AP picture at a rally of Trump supporters protesting election outcomes outdoors of the Maricopa County election middle in Phoenix. In that picture, Chansley, who additionally has passed by the final identify Angeli, held an indication that learn, “HOLD THE LINE PATRIOTS GOD WINS.” He additionally expressed his help for the president in an interview with the AP that day.

The FBI recognized Chansley by his distinctive tattoos, which embody bricks circling his biceps in an obvious reference to Trump’s border wall. Chansley didn’t reply final week to messages in search of remark to one in every of his social media accounts.

There have been additionally present and former members of the U.S. navy within the mob.

Commanders on the U.S. Military’s 1st Particular Forces Command at Fort Bragg in North Carolina are investigating Capt. Emily Rainey’s involvement within the Wednesday rally. The 30-year-old psychological operations officer informed the AP she led 100 members of Moore County Residents for Freedom who traveled to Washington to “stand towards election fraud” and help Trump. She insisted she acted inside Military rules and that nobody in her group broke the regulation.

“I used to be a personal citizen and doing all the pieces proper and inside my rights,” Rainey informed the AP.

Retired Air Pressure Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr. of Texas was charged in federal courtroom on Sunday after he was recognized in pictures displaying him standing within the effectively of the Senate, carrying a military-style helmet and physique armor whereas holding a pair of zip-tie handcuffs.

The insurrectionist mob additionally included members of the neofascist group often called the Proud Boys, whom Trump urged to “stand again and stand by” when requested to sentence them by a moderator throughout a presidential debate in September.

Nicholas R. Ochs, 34, was arrested Saturday after returning residence to Hawaii, the place he’s the founding father of the native Proud Boys chapter. On Wednesday, Ochs posted a photograph of himself on Twitter contained in the Capitol, grinning broadly and smoking a cigarette. In line with courtroom filings, the FBI matched pictures of Ochs taken in the course of the riot to pictures taken when Ochs campaigned unsuccessfully final yr because the Republican nominee for a seat within the Hawaii statehouse.

Proud Boys chief Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was arrested Monday in Washington on weapons costs and ordered to remain out of the nation’s capital. Tarrio is accused of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic Black church final month.

Jay Robert Thaxton, 46, was arrested close to the Capitol for curfew violations on Wednesday. A North Carolina man with the identical identify has additionally been linked to the Proud Boys. He informed The Stanly Information & Press in 2019 that he was a Proud Boys supporter however wouldn’t say if he was an official member of the group. One other North Carolina newspaper, The Jacksonville Each day Information, revealed a photograph of Thaxton carrying a “Make America Nice Once more” hat at a 2019 protest over the elimination of Accomplice statues.

A person who answered a phone quantity related to Thaxton hung up on an AP reporter. The recipient of a textual content message to the identical quantity responded with an expletive.

Additionally arrested on the Capitol was William Arthur Leary, who owns a manufactured housing enterprise in Utica, New York. In an interview Friday, Leary informed the AP that he strongly believes the election was stolen from Trump and that he went to Washington to point out his help.

Leary mentioned he doesn’t belief info reported by the mainstream media and that one in every of his essential sources of knowledge was Infowars, the far-right conspiracy website run by Alex Jones. He denied he ever set foot within the Capitol and complained that he was held for greater than 24 hours and had his cellphone seized.

“They handled us like animals,” he complained. “They took all our telephones. I didn’t get to make a cellphone name to inform anyone the place I used to be.”

Leary mentioned he remembers seeing a girl, Kristina Malimon, 28, sobbing on the detention middle as a result of she had been separated and never allowed to translate for her mom, who primarily speaks Russian. Each ladies had been charged with curfew violation and illegal entry. In line with a video posted on her Instagram account, the youthful Malimon says she was born in Moldova, the place her household had confronted persecution below the Soviet-era regime for his or her Christian beliefs.

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Malimon, who traveled to D.C. from Portland, Oregon, is vice chairwoman of the Younger Republicans of Oregon, in response to the group’s web site and can be listed as an “ambassador” for the pro-Trump group Turning Level USA. Her social media feeds are stuffed with pictures taken at Trump occasions, together with the sooner “Million MAGA March” held in Washington final month. She additionally posted pictures of herself posing with Donald Trump Jr. and Roger Stone, who was convicted of crimes together with obstruction of justice and pardoned by Trump on Christmas Eve.

Media studies from Oregon quoted Malimon in August as the first organizer of a Trump boat parade on the Willamette River, the place large waves created by rushing boats flying Trump flags swamped and sank a smaller boat that was not collaborating, throwing a household into the water to be rescued by the sheriff’s division.

“Oregon, at this time you got here out and confirmed your love and help for our fantastic President, Donald J. Trump thanks!” Kristina Malimon wrote on Fb following the parade.

Malimon additionally served as a Republican ballot watcher in Georgia and spoke at an occasion organized by the Trump marketing campaign in December, claiming to have seen voting machines and tabulation computer systems in Savannah, Georgia, with suspiciously blinking inexperienced lights she interpreted as an indication they have been being secretly managed by outdoors hackers — a declare debunked as false by GOP election officers within the state.

A cellphone quantity listed for Kristina Malimon rang with out being answered on Friday. On the deal with listed for her in southeast Portland on Friday night time, her teenage brother answered the door as different relations, together with younger youngsters, ran round.

The household spoke Russian to one another and the brother, Nick Malimon, translated. He mentioned his sister was nonetheless in Washington however had referred to as the household following her launch from jail and didn’t appear upset about her arrest.

Others are dealing with penalties even past arrest.

A Texas sheriff introduced Thursday that he had reported one in every of his lieutenants to the FBI after she posted pictures of herself on social media with a crowd outdoors the Capitol. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar mentioned Lt. Roxanne Mathai, a 46-year-old jailer, had the precise to attend the rally however he’s investigating whether or not she could have damaged the regulation.

One of many posts Mathai shared was a photograph that seemed to be taken Wednesday from among the many mass of Trump supporters outdoors the Capitol, “Not gonna lie……apart from my youngsters, this was, certainly, the very best day of my life. And it’s not over but.”

A lawyer for Mathai, a mom and longtime San Antonio resident, mentioned she attended the Trump rally however by no means entered the Capitol.

Legal professional Hector Cortes mentioned Mathai’s contract bars her from talking instantly with the press however that she welcomes an FBI investigation and that her actions have been squarely throughout the bounds of the First Modification.

Brad Rukstales, a Republican political donor and CEO of Cogensia, a Chicago-based information analytics agency, was arrested with a bunch of a half-dozen Trump supporters who clashed with officers Wednesday contained in the Capitol. Marketing campaign finance studies present Rukstales contributed greater than $25,000 to Trump’s marketing campaign and different GOP committees throughout to 2020 election cycle.

He informed an area CBS information channel final week that he had entered the Capitol and apologized. He was fired Friday and didn’t reply to calls and emails in search of remark.

Derrick Evans, a Republican just lately sworn in as a delegate to the West Virginia Home, resigned Saturday following his arrest on two costs associated to the Capitol riot. He had streamed video of himself charging into the constructing with the mob.

“They’re making an announcement now saying if Pence betrays us you higher get your thoughts proper as a result of we’re storming the constructing,” Evans, 35, says within the video, because the door to the Capitol constructing is smashed and rioters rush by. “The door is cracked! … We’re in, we’re in! Derrick Evans is within the Capitol!”

On Saturday he issued a press release saying he regretted participating.

“I take full duty for my actions, and deeply remorse any harm, ache or embarrassment I could have prompted my household, mates, constituents and fellow West Virginians,” the assertion mentioned.

Kunzelman reported from Faculty Park, Maryland, Flaccus from Portland, Oregon, and Mustian from New York. Related Press writers Jake Bleiberg in Dallas; Michael R. Sisak in New York; Michael Balsamo in Washington; Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho; James LaPorta in Delray Seashore, Florida; and Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas, contributed to this report.

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