As the Associated Press reports, emails, photos, and other documents collected from those present around the Capitol on January 6 is painting a more complete image of the actions of the pro-Trump insurgents. Taken as a whole, these documents show just how overwhelmed the Capitol Police were in the first moments of the assault, and how Metro D.C. Police and others who rushed in to help only ended up as part of a disorganized patchwork response as communications and control broke down.
Included in this material is the story of a pair of Arlington firefighters who came to the Capitol on January 4, and stuck around to assist the Capitol Police during what was expected to be a large protest. Instead, the two found themselves the only medics on the scene while operating right under the feet—and flagpoles—of an angry mob. Lost in the confusion and hemmed in by thousands of screaming Trumpists, the firefighters attempted to triage dozens of officers who had been injured, but had no way to get them to safety.
Meanwhile, police were trying to respond to dozens of different threats that seemed to be breaking out everywhere at once. Not only were violent extremists grappling with police and bashing their way into buildings, there were threats of potential snipers in trees, a report that the Proud Boys intended to destroy the local water supply, the pipe bombs at both the RNC and DNC headquarters, and reports of still more armed militia groups incoming. Police were unable to concentrate forces at the Capitol steps, because chaos seemed to be happening everywhere.
This explosion of violence may have appeared chaotic and overwhelming to the police, but it clearly did not happen without planning. And as CNN reports, some of that planning may have been coordinated by the people who police were literally dying to protect. During the investigations of Jan. 6 that have been launched in Congress, a number of Republicans—most notably senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz—have repeatedly expressed concern about the idea of the FBI looking into phone records of those in Congress. Hawley in particular has fumed about this “violation of privacy” in multiple hearings.
He may have good reason to be concerned. Because it appears that investigators are, in fact, checking out communications between members of Congress and some of the 300 people who have already been charged with crimes related to the insurgency. Some of this seems to be records showing that criminal insurgents claimed to be working in coordination with members of Congress. Which isn’t surprising, considering that two of those arrested had this conversation on the Senate floor as they dug through senator’s desk and ripped pages from reports.
Man 1: “There’s gotta be something in here we can fucking use against these scumbags. This is a good one, him and Hawley or whatever. Hawley, Cruz.”
Man 2: “Hawley, Cruz? I think Cruz would want us to do this… So I think we’re good.”
Investigators are not just looking at communications that took place on Jan. 6, but contacts between officials and the attackers over the period leading up to the insurgency. That might finally produce some information about the large tour that Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert in the days just before the assault.
Those investigators might also want to take a look at the 2,000 page report compiled by Rep. Zoe Lofgren that looks at the social media of her Republican colleagues over the weeks leading up to Jan. 6.
“This review lists public social media posts from Members of the U.S. House of Representatives who were sworn-in to office in January 2021 and who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”
Lofgren’s report includes not just social media comments that seem to be inviting violence, but those that encourage the Big Lie about “election fraud,” as well as other elements, such as conspiracy claims related to QAnon. As Lofgren says, the report is “representative, but not exhaustive.” Still, it is a handy reference to the lies, incitement, and more lies being pushed onto social media by Republicans in Congress. Also included in Lofgren’s review are a number of statements from Republicans, particularly those in the House, that continue to support the Big Lie even after the assault on the Capitol.
Investigators are also looking into the funding of the extremists who attacked the Capitol. While Republicans frequently make false claims about “Antifa busses” and Black protesters being sent to locations by a Jewish billionaire, the truth is that numerous militia groups really did meet up at a series of locations and coordinate their arrival in D.C. And it seems entirely possible that those operations were funded by Republican donors, just as the Tea Party protests were a decade earlier.
However, there’s at least one Republican official whose role in the Jan. 6 attack doesn’t require digging through phone records or social media. As The Washington Post reports, Federico Klein, a former State Department aide appointed by Donald Trump, was arrested Thursday on multiple felony charges. On Jan. 6, Klein joined the insurgents confronting police in a tunnel beneath the Capitol. There he wrenched a riot shield away from one officer and used it to beat others. He also used that shield to hold open a door so that more insurgents could enter the building. At the time, Klein was an active employee at the State Department and enjoyed a Top Secret clearance. His appointment to the State Department followed a paid position in the Trump campaign.
Ron Johnson will not explain how Klein was actually a member of an Antifa sleeper cell.