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Records present fervent Trump followers fueled US Capitol takeover

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WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.“Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” Trump tweeted every week earlier than Christmas. “Be there, will 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 Party officers, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, members of the army and adherents of the QAnon fable that the federal government is secretly managed by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals. Records present that some had been closely armed and included convicted criminals, resembling a Florida man just lately launched from jail for tried homicide.The Associated Press reviewed social media posts, voter registrations, court docket information and different public data for greater than 120 folks both dealing with legal prices associated to the Jan. 6 unrest or who, going maskless amid the pandemic, had been later recognized by images and movies taken throughout the melee.The proof provides deceive claims by right-wing pundits and Republican officers resembling Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., that the violence was perpetrated by left-wing antifa thugs fairly than supporters of the president.“If the reports are true,” Gaetz mentioned on the House flooring simply hours after the assault, “some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters and, in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.”Steven D’Antuono, the assistant director accountable for the FBI’s Washington subject workplace, instructed reporters that investigators had seen “no indication” antifa activists had been disguised as Trump supporters in Wednesday’s riot.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. Several had brazenly threatened violence in opposition to Democrats and Republicans they thought-about insufficiently loyal to the president. During the riot, some livestreamed and posted photographs of themselves on the Capitol. Afterwards, many bragged about what that they had carried out.Story continuesAs 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 latest goal of a Trump Twitter tirade for not subverting the Constitution and overturning the legit vote tally. Outside, a picket scaffold had been erected on the National Mall, a rope noose dangling on the prepared.So far, no less than 90 folks have been arrested on prices starting from misdemeanor curfew violations to felonies associated to assaults on cops, possessing unlawful weapons and making loss of life threats in opposition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.Among 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 court docket filings.The truck was discovered throughout a safety sweep involving explosives-sniffing canines after two pipe bombs had been discovered and disarmed Wednesday near 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 just isn’t suspected of planting the pipe bombs, although he was charged with having Molotov cocktails within the mattress of his truck.His grandson, Brandon Coffman, instructed the AP on Friday his grandfather was a Republican who had expressed admiration for Trump at vacation gatherings. He mentioned he had no concept why Coffman would present up within the nation’s capital armed for civil warfare.Also dealing with federal prices is Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., a Georgia man who within the wake of the election had protested exterior the home 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 court docket filings that embody expletive-laden texts.“Headed to DC with a (s—-) ton of 5.56 armor-piercing ammo,” he texted pals and kin on Jan. 6, including a purple satan emoji, in response to court docket filings. The following day, he texted to the group: “Thinking about heading over to Pelosi (C——’s) speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV.” He as soon as once more added a purple satan emoji, and wrote he may hit her together with his truck as a substitute. “I’m gonna run that (C—-) Pelosi over while she chews on her gums. … Dead (B——) Walking. I predict that within 12 days, many in our country will die.”Meredith, who’s white, then texted a photograph of himself in blackface. “I’m gonna walk around DC FKG with people by yelling ‘Allahu ak Bar’ randomly.”A participant within the textual content alternate supplied screenshots to the FBI, who tracked Meredith to a Holiday 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 court docket 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 data from Florida present that he shot the boyfriend of his former girlfriend in a struggle at her home.Federal legislation enforcement officers vowed Friday to carry extra prices in opposition to those that carried out the assault on the Capitol, launching a nationwide manhunt for dozens of suspects recognized from photographic proofThe 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 hearth extinguisher, in response to legislation enforcement officers who spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t approved to debate the continued investigation publicly. He died at a hospital.The Trump supporters who died within the riot had 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 instructed the AP on Friday she was an adherent of the QAnon conspiracy principle that holds Trump is America’s savior. Her Facebook web page featured photographs and movies praising Trump and selling fantasies, together with one principle {that a} shadowy group was utilizing the coronavirus to steal elections. Boyland’s closing put up on Twitter — a retweet of a put up by White House social media director Dan Scavino — was an image of hundreds of individuals surrounding the Washington Monument on Wednesday.“She would text me some things, and I would be like, ‘Let me fact-check that.’ And I’d sit there and I’d be like, ‘Well, I don’t think that’s actually right,’” Lonna Cave, Boyland’s sister, mentioned. “We got in fights about it, arguments.”The AP’s evaluation discovered that QAnon beliefs had been frequent amongst those that heeded Trump’s name to return to Washington.Doug Jensen, 41, was arrested by the FBI on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa, after returning home from the riot. An AP photographer captured photographs of him confronting Capitol Police officers exterior of the Senate chamber on Wednesday.Jensen was carrying a black T-shirt emblazoned with a big Q and the phrase “Trust The Plan,” a reference to QAnon. Video posted on-line throughout 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 back,” however to no avail.Jensen’s older brother, William Routh, instructed the AP on Saturday that Jensen believed that the individual posting as Q was both Trump or somebody very near the president.“I feel like he had a lot of influence from the internet that confused or obscured his views on certain things,” mentioned Routh, of Clarksville, Arkansas, who described himself as a Republican Trump supporter. “When I talked to him, he thought that maybe this was Trump telling him what to do.”Jensen’s employer, Forrest & Associate 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 Facebook web page, Coleman re-posted articles supporting the QAnon beliefs a couple of “deep state” conspiracy to focus on kids. The AP couldn’t discover a working cellphone quantity for Coleman and her legal professional, Peter Cooper, didn’t reply to an e-mail looking for remark.And Jake Chansley, who calls himself the “QAnon Shaman” and has lengthy been a fixture at Trump rallies, surrendered to the FBI subject workplace in Phoenix on Saturday. News photographs present him on the riot shirtless, together with his face painted and carrying a fur hat with horns, carrying a U.S. flag hooked up to a picket pole topped with a spear.Chansley’s uncommon headwear is seen in a Nov. 7 AP photograph at a rally of Trump supporters protesting election outcomes exterior of the Maricopa County election middle in Phoenix. In that photograph, 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 looking for remark to considered one of his social media accounts.There had been additionally present and former members of the U.S. army within the crowd.Army commanders at Fort Bragg in North Carolina are investigating Capt. Emily Rainey’s involvement within the Wednesday rally. The 30-year-old psychological operations officer instructed the AP she led 100 members of Moore County Citizens for Freedom who traveled to Washington to “stand against election fraud” and help Trump. She insisted she acted inside Army rules and that nobody in her group entered the Capitol or broke the legislation.“I was a private citizen and doing everything right and within my rights,” Rainey instructed the AP.Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr. of Texas was charged in federal court docket on Sunday after he was recognized in photographs 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 known as the Proud Boys, whom Trump urged to “stand back 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 home 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. According to court docket filings, the FBI matched photographs of Ochs taken throughout the riot to photographs 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 prices 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 near the Capitol for curfew violations on Wednesday. A North Carolina man with the identical identify has additionally been linked to the Proud Boys. He instructed The Stanly News & Press in 2019 that he was a Proud Boys supporter however wouldn’t say if he was an official member of the group. Another North Carolina newspaper, The Jacksonville Daily News, revealed a photograph of Thaxton carrying a “Make America Great Again” hat at a 2019 protest over the removing of Confederate 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.Also arrested on the Capitol was William Arthur Leary, who owns a manufactured housing enterprise in Utica, New York. In an interview Friday, Leary instructed 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 considered one of his principal sources of knowledge was Infowars, the far-right conspiracy web site 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 mobile phone seized.“They treated us like animals,” he complained. “They took all our phones. I didn’t get to make a phone call to tell anybody where I was.”Leary mentioned he remembers seeing a lady, 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. Both ladies had been charged with curfew violation and illegal entry. According to a video posted on her Instagram account, the youthful Malimon says she was born in Moldova, the place her household had confronted persecution underneath the Soviet-era regime for his or her Christian beliefs.Malimon, who traveled to D.C. from Portland, Oregon, is vice chairwoman of the Young Republicans of Oregon, in response to the group’s web site and can also be listed as an “ambassador” for the pro-Trump group Turning Point USA. Her social media feeds are stuffed with photographs taken at Trump occasions, together with the sooner “Million MAGA March” held in Washington final month. She additionally posted photographs 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 stories from Oregon quoted Malimon in August as the first organizer of a Trump boat parade on the Willamette River, the place massive waves created by dashing boats flying Trump flags swamped and sank a smaller boat that was not taking part, throwing a household into the water to be rescued by the sheriff’s division.“Oregon, today you came out and showed your love and support for our wonderful President, Donald J. Trump thank you!” Kristina Malimon wrote on Facebook 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 had been being secretly managed by exterior 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. At the deal with listed for her in southeast Portland on Friday evening, her teenage brother answered the door as different relations, together with younger kids, 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 considered one of his lieutenants to the FBI after she posted photographs of herself on social media with a crowd exterior the Capitol. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar mentioned Lt. Roxanne Mathai, a 46-year-old jailer, had the correct to attend the rally however he’s investigating whether or not she might have damaged the legislation.One of the posts Mathai shared was a photograph that gave the impression to be taken Wednesday from among the many mass of Trump supporters exterior the Capitol, “Not gonna lie……aside from my kids, this was, indeed, the best day of my life. And it’s not over yet.”A lawyer for Mathai, a mom and longtime San Antonio resident, mentioned she attended the Trump rally however by no means entered the Capitol.Attorney Hector Cortes mentioned Mathai’s contract bars her from talking immediately with the press however that she welcomes an FBI investigation and that her actions had been squarely inside the bounds of the First Amendment.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. Campaign finance stories present Rukstales contributed greater than $25,000 to Trump’s marketing campaign and different GOP committees throughout to 2020 election cycle.He instructed a neighborhood 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 looking for remark.Derrick Evans, a Republican just lately sworn in as a delegate to the West Virginia House, resigned Saturday following his arrest on two prices 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 better get your mind right because we’re storming the building,” 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 in the Capitol!”On Saturday he issued an announcement saying he regretted collaborating.“I take full responsibility for my actions, and deeply regret any hurt, pain or embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends, constituents and fellow West Virginians,” the assertion mentioned.___Kunzelman reported from College Park, Maryland, Flaccus from Portland, Oregon, and Mustian from New York. Associated 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 Beach, Florida; and Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas, contributed to this report.___Follow Associated Press investigative reporter Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck___Contact AP’s international investigative staff at Investigative@ap.org

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