capitol riot aftermath
April 19, 2021

A federal judge on Monday ordered that two leaders of the far-right Proud Boys group be detained while awaiting trial on charges they helped plan and coordinate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Joseph Biggs of Florida and Ethan Nordean of Washington were indicted on March 10, and face charges of conspiring to obstruct the certification of President Biden's electoral victory; both men pleaded not guilty. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly on Monday determined that the men "facilitated political violence" and are dangerous, and they should not be free ahead of their trial.

Last month, federal prosecutors asked for Biggs' pretrial release to be revoked, citing new evidence that shows he poses a "grave danger" to the community, The Associated Press reports. Their indictment states that on the morning of the Capitol riot, Biggs and Nordean met with other Proud Boys members at the Washington Monument and led them on a march to the Capitol. Authorities say several Proud Boys entered the Capitol building after other protesters broke windows and doors in order to gain access.

Federal prosecutors have described more than two dozen of the Capitol riot defendants as being leaders, members, or associates of the Proud Boys. Nordean has served as a Proud Boys chapter president and member of the group's national "Elders Council," and Biggs is a self-described Proud Boys organizer, AP says. Catherine Garcia

April 19, 2021

Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick suffered two strokes and died of natural causes after defending the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, Washington, D.C.'s chief medical examiner Francisco Diaz ruled Monday.

Diaz told The Washington Post that Sicknick's autopsy found no evidence that the officer suffered any internal or external injuries or an allergic reaction to chemical irritants, such as bear spray, which two men are accused of assaulting him with during the riot. Diaz said if Sicknick did have an allergic reaction, his throat would have quickly seized, which did not happen. The ruling "likely will make it difficult for prosecutors to pursue homicide charges" in Sicknick's death, the Post writes.

Citing privacy laws, Diaz did not divulge whether Sicknick had a pre-existing medical condition that may have contributed to the 42-year-old's death, though he did say "all that transpired" during the highly tense situation at the Capitol on Jan. 6 "played a role in his condition." Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

April 14, 2021

The Capitol Police inspector general has issued a blistering report criticizing the agency's response to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, writing that leaders received ample warning that extremist supporters of former President Donald Trump posed a threat to law enforcement and civilians, but were still not prepared to handle the crowd, The New York Times reports.

The report from Inspector General Michael A. Bolton was issued Tuesday, and has been reviewed by the Times. On Jan. 6, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, following a "Stop the Steal" rally that claimed the election had been rigged. Bolton writes in the report that three days earlier, a Capitol Police intelligence assessment revealed that a map of the Capitol complex's tunnel system had been shared on pro-Trump message boards. Further, the Jan. 3 assessment warned, "Congress itself is the target on the 6th. Stop the Steal's propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike."

Despite this cautionary message, when Capitol Police on Jan. 5 put together a plan on how to handle the protest, they wrote there were "no specific known threats related to the joint session of Congress."

Bolton also found that agency leaders told the Civil Disturbance Unit not to use stun grenades and other powerful crowd-control tools to quell the Jan. 6 assault. Officers who were at the Capitol during the attack told Bolton these instruments could have helped them "push back the rioters," the Times reports. Additionally, some officers wielded riot shields that "shattered upon impact" because they had been kept in a trailer that was not climate-controlled. Extra shields were kept on a bus that was locked, leaving officers unable to access them.

Nearly 140 law enforcement officers were injured during the assault, with Officer Brian Sicknick collapsing during the riot and later dying. In the report, Bolton determined that the Capitol Police's internal dysfunction led to an intelligence and communication breakdown, the Times reports, and there needs to be "guidance that clearly documents channels for efficiently and effectively disseminating intelligence information to all of its personnel." On Thursday, Bolton will testify in front of the House Administration Committee. Catherine Garcia

March 19, 2021

On Jan. 6, former President George W. Bush had a visceral reaction to the images being beamed from Washington of supporters of then-President Donald Trump storming the Capitol as lawmakers certified Joe Biden's electoral victory.

"I was sick to my stomach," Bush told Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith during an interview taped on Feb. 24 and shown Thursday at the SXSW conference. It was difficult to "see our nation's Capitol being stormed by hostile forces," Bush said, and the assault "disgusted" him to the point where he "did put out a statement, and I'm still disturbed when I think about it."

In that statement, Bush said the "scenes of mayhem" in Washington left him "in disbelief and dismay. It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight. This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement."

Bush did not attack Trump by name during his interview with Smith. When asked if he thought the 2020 presidential election was stolen, Bush replied, "No." Catherine Garcia

March 15, 2021

U.S. authorities have arrested and charged two men — Julian Elie Khater and George Pierre Tanios — with assaulting Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick with bear spray during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, The Washington Post reports.

Sicknick died following the attack, although the cause of death has yet to be determined, meaning his case has not been established as a homicide. Therefore, it remains unclear if anyone will be charged directly in connection with his death, the Post notes.

Prosecutors reportedly zeroed in on Khater and Tanios after tipsters identified them from wanted images taken from surveillance video and police body camera footage that was released by the FBI. In a video, arrest papers allege, Khater can be seen discharging a bear spray canister into the faces of Sicknick and two other officers.

Khater and Tanios were charged with nine counts overall, including assaulting Sicknick, civil disorder, and obstruction of a congressional proceeding. They could face up to 20 years in prison. Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

March 8, 2021

Roberto Minuta, the 36-year-old owner of a tattoo parlor in Newburgh, New York, was arrested Saturday and charged with criminal involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Minuta is accused of obstructing the formal counting of presidential election votes, trespassing, and attempting to cover up his crimes. On Monday, over the objections of prosecutors, Minuta was ordered released on a $125,000 bond, and told to surrender his 10 registered firearms, The Washington Post reports.

Prosecutors say Minuta, who recently moved to Texas, is linked to the right-wing Oath Keepers militia, and was seen with Republican operative Roger Stone on the morning of the riot; Stone told a Tennessee newspaper last month that he needed to hire private security while in Washington, and did not personally know the men protecting him.

Prosecutors have said members of the Oath Keepers conspired to storm the Capitol in order to keep Congress from certifying the results of the election. Minuta was seen at the Capitol wearing military gear, including tactical gloves and ballistic goggles, and was carrying a firearm and either bear or pepper spray, according to prosecutors.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Gianforti told the court on Monday that after Minuta was arrested, he made statements that "represent a lack of remorse and an ongoing allegiance to the ideology" behind the assault on the Capitol. He also said Minuta "aggressively taunted and berated law enforcement officers guarding the Capitol" and it is "not a stretch to think Mr. Minuta, if called upon to do so, would participate in an armed rebellion yet again even on pretrial release." Catherine Garcia

March 4, 2021

Federico Klein, a former State Department aide who worked on former President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, was arrested Thursday on charges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the FBI announced Thursday night.

This is the first known instance of a Trump appointee facing prosecution in connection with the attack, Politico reports. An FBI Washington Field Office spokeswoman told Politico that Klein, 42, was taken into custody in Virginia, but did not release any information on the charges against him.

Federal Election Commission records show Klein worked as a tech analyst for the 2016 Trump campaign, Politico says, and after the election he was hired at the State Department. A federal directory from last summer lists Klein as a special assistant in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, making him a "Schedule C" political appointee, Politico reports.

On Jan. 6, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Biden's victory. Klein's mother, Cecilia, told Politico on Thursday night that he told her he was in Washington, D.C., on the day of the riot, and "as far as I know, he was on the Mall." She is a retired economist and trade official, and told Politico because of their different views, she rarely spoke about Trump or politics with her son. "Fred's politics burn a little hot," she said. "But I've never known him to violate the law." Catherine Garcia

March 3, 2021

Jill Sanborn, the assistant director of the FBI's counterterrorism division, "baffled" experts during her congressional testimony about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot Wednesday.

The reason the FBI missed so many of the threats in the lead up to the attack was because the bureau does not believe it has the authority to monitor public social media unless there's predication, like an open investigation, Sanborn testified. The explanation left Rachel Levinson-Waldman, the deputy director of the Liberty and National Security program at The Brennan Center, perplexed, especially after she detailed the FBI's policies on the matter for Just Security last month.

In that piece, Levinson-Waldman noted "there are no constraints" on FBI agents' ability to sift through public social media content even "before opening any kind of inquiry."

Once an investigation is open, the FBI has even more leeway such as creating an undercover account or entering private chatrooms and forums, Levinson-Waldman wrote, adding that there are concerns about the latitude of the agency's authority "in light of its documented history targeting and surveilling communities and activists of color."

Levinson-Waldman didn't accuse Sanborn of delivering false testimony, but she argued that there's at least "a very basic disagreement" over the policies, and "it would be extremely helpful for Sanborn to elaborate on this."

The Wall Street Journal's Dustin Volz was also confused, pointing to some of his past reporting that found the FBI is, in fact, quite proactive on this front. Tim O'Donnell

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