Records show fervent Trump fans fueled US Capitol takeover

WASHINGTON (AP) — They arrived from across The usa, summoned by President Donald Trump to march on Washington in help of his fake claim that the November election was stolen and to end the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden as the victor.

“Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” Trump tweeted a 7 days before Xmas. “Be there, will be wild!”

The insurrectionist mob that confirmed up at the president’s behest and stormed the U.S. Capitol was overwhelmingly produced up of longtime Trump supporters, such as Republican Celebration officers, GOP political donors, much-appropriate militants, white supremacists, members of the armed service and adherents of the QAnon fantasy that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals. Data present that some ended up heavily armed and incorporated convicted criminals, these types of as a Florida person not too long ago released from jail for tried murder.

The Associated Press reviewed social media posts, voter registrations, court documents and other general public information for much more than 120 individuals both dealing with legal charges related to the Jan. 6 unrest or who, heading maskless amid the pandemic, have been afterwards discovered via images and films taken in the course of the melee.

The evidence presents lie to promises by ideal-wing pundits and Republican officers these types of as Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., that the violence was perpetrated by still left-wing antifa thugs fairly than supporters of the president.

“If the stories are real,” Gaetz said on the Home flooring just several hours following the assault, “some of the persons who breached the Capitol nowadays were being not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters and, in point, had been associates of the violent terrorist team antifa.”

Steven D’Antuono, the assistant director in cost of the FBI’s Washington discipline office environment, advised reporters that investigators experienced observed “no indication” antifa activists have been disguised as Trump supporters in Wednesday’s riot.

The AP observed that numerous of the rioters experienced taken to social media following the November election to retweet and parrot phony promises by Trump that the vote had been stolen in a extensive international conspiracy. Many experienced brazenly threatened violence versus Democrats and Republicans they thought of insufficiently loyal to the president. All through the riot, some livestreamed and posted pics of on their own at the Capitol. Later on, quite a few bragged about what they experienced finished.

As the mob smashed through doorways and home windows to invade the Capitol, a loud chant went up contacting for the hanging of Vice President Mike Pence, the recent focus on of a Trump Twitter tirade for not subverting the Constitution and overturning the reputable vote tally. Exterior, a picket scaffold experienced been erected on the National Shopping mall, a rope noose dangling at the all set.

So far, at minimum 90 individuals have been arrested on costs ranging from misdemeanor curfew violations to felonies associated to assaults on law enforcement officers, possessing unlawful weapons and producing demise threats versus Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Between them was Lonnie Leroy Coffman, 70, an Alabama grandfather who drove to Washington to attend Trump’s “Save The united states Rally” in a purple GMC Sierra pickup packed with an M4 assault rifle, several loaded journals, a few handguns and 11 Mason jars crammed with home made napalm, in accordance to courtroom filings.

The truck was identified through a safety sweep involving explosives-sniffing puppies right after two pipe bombs have been observed and disarmed Wednesday near the countrywide headquarters of the Republican and Democratic get-togethers. 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 stated Coffman is not suspected of planting the pipe bombs, even though he was charged with obtaining Molotov cocktails in 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 getaway gatherings. He reported he experienced no thought why Coffman would demonstrate up in the nation’s cash armed for civil war.

Also facing federal prices is Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., a Georgia gentleman who in the wake of the election had protested outside the house the house of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump experienced publicly blamed for his reduction in the state. Meredith drove to Washington previous week for the “Save America” rally but arrived late simply because of a issue with the lights on his trailer, according to courtroom filings that contain expletive-laden texts.

“Headed to DC with a (s—-) ton of 5.56 armor-piercing ammo,” he texted close friends and kin on Jan. 6, introducing a purple satan emoji, according to court filings. The subsequent day, he texted to the group: “Thinking about heading over to Pelosi (C——’s) speech and placing a bullet in her noggin on Stay Tv set.” He as soon as all over again included a purple devil emoji, and wrote he may possibly strike her with his truck as an alternative. “I’m gonna operate that (C—-) Pelosi over when she chews on her gums. … Lifeless (B——) Strolling. I forecast that inside 12 times, numerous in our place will die.”

Meredith, who is white, then texted a photograph of himself in blackface. “I’m gonna wander all around DC FKG with folks by yelling ‘Allahu ak Bar’ randomly.”

A participant in the textual content trade furnished screenshots to the FBI, who tracked Meredith to a Getaway Inn a short wander from the Capitol. They discovered a compact Tavor X95 assault rifle, a 9mm Glock 19 handgun and about 100 rounds of ammunition, in accordance to court docket filings. The brokers also seized a stash of THC edibles and a vial of injectable testosterone.

Meredith is billed with transmitting a threat, as well as felony counts for possession of firearms and ammunition.

Michael Thomas Curzio was arrested in relation to the riots a lot less than two several years following he was produced from a Florida prison in 2019 just after serving an eight-12 months sentence for tried murder. Courtroom information from Florida display that he shot the boyfriend of his previous girlfriend in a fight at her home.

Federal regulation enforcement officials vowed Friday to convey additional charges in opposition to those who carried out the attack on the Capitol, launching a nationwide manhunt for dozens of suspects recognized from photographic proof

The FBI has opened a murder probe into the dying of Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, in accordance to legislation enforcement officials who spoke on the ailment of anonymity due to the fact they were not approved to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly. He died at a medical center.

The Trump supporters who died in 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 explained to the AP on Friday she was an adherent of the QAnon conspiracy concept that holds Trump is America’s savior. Her Facebook web site featured pictures and videos praising Trump and advertising and marketing fantasies, which include 1 principle that a shadowy team was making use of the coronavirus to steal elections. Boyland’s final write-up on Twitter — a retweet of a write-up by White House social media director Dan Scavino — was a image of hundreds of men and women surrounding the Washington Monument on Wednesday.

“She would text me some issues, and I would be like, ‘Let me point-test that.’ And I’d sit there and I’d be like, ‘Well, I don’t consider that is basically appropriate,’” Lonna Cave, Boyland’s sister, said. “We received in fights about it, arguments.”

The AP’s evaluation observed that QAnon beliefs ended up common amid these who heeded Trump’s simply call to occur to Washington.

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

Jensen was sporting a black T-shirt emblazoned with a significant Q and the phrase “Trust The Prepare,” a reference to QAnon. Online video posted on line for the duration of the storming of the Capitol also seems to present Jensen, who is white, pursuing a Black police officer up an interior flight of stairs as a mob of people trails various measures powering. At quite a few details, the officer suggests “get again,” but to no avail.

Jensen’s older brother, William Routh, told the AP on Saturday that Jensen believed that the particular person putting up as Q was either Trump or another person very close to the president.

“I come to feel like he experienced a large amount of affect from the web that bewildered or obscured his sights on specified items,” explained Routh, of Clarksville, Arkansas, who described himself as a Republican Trump supporter. “When I talked to him, he imagined that it’s possible this was Trump telling him what to do.”

Jensen’s employer, Forrest & Associate Masonry in Des Moines, announced Friday that he experienced been fired.

Tara Coleman, a 40-12 months-old mom who life in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was arrested at the Capitol for a curfew violation and for unlawful entry. On her Fb webpage, Coleman re-posted articles or blog posts supporting the QAnon beliefs about a “deep state” conspiracy to goal little ones. The AP could not uncover a doing the job mobile phone range for Coleman and her attorney, Peter Cooper, did not respond to an electronic mail in search of remark.

And Jake Chansley, who calls himself the “QAnon Shaman” and has very long been a fixture at Trump rallies, surrendered to the FBI subject workplace in Phoenix on Saturday. Information pictures show him at the riot shirtless, with his encounter painted and wearing a fur hat with horns, carrying a U.S. flag connected to a wood pole topped with a spear.

Chansley’s unconventional headwear is seen in a Nov. 7 AP photograph at a rally of Trump supporters protesting election outcomes outdoors of the Maricopa County election heart in Phoenix. In that photograph, Chansley, who also has long gone by the past title Angeli, held a sign that read, “HOLD THE LINE PATRIOTS GOD WINS.” He also expressed his help for the president in an interview with the AP that day.

The FBI determined Chansley by his unique tattoos, which include things like bricks circling his biceps in an apparent reference to Trump’s border wall. Chansley didn’t respond last week to messages trying to get comment to a single of his social media accounts.

There had been also present-day and previous customers of the U.S. navy in the group.

Army commanders at Fort Bragg in North Carolina are investigating Capt. Emily Rainey’s involvement in the Wednesday rally. The 30-12 months-old psychological operations officer told the AP she led 100 members of Moore County Citizens for Freedom who traveled to Washington to “stand versus election fraud” and support Trump. She insisted she acted in Military rules and that no just one in her group entered the Capitol or broke the legislation.

“I was a non-public citizen and performing every little thing right and inside of my legal rights,” Rainey informed the AP.

Retired Air Drive Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr. of Texas was charged in federal court on Sunday just after he was identified in images displaying him standing in the effectively of the Senate, wearing a navy-model helmet and overall body armor when keeping a pair of zip-tie handcuffs.

The insurrectionist mob also included users of the neofascist team acknowledged as the Happy Boys, whom Trump urged to “stand back again and stand by” when questioned to condemn them by a moderator in the course of a presidential debate in September.

Nicholas R. Ochs, 34, was arrested Saturday right after returning dwelling to Hawaii, in which he is the founder of the nearby Happy Boys chapter. On Wednesday, Ochs posted a picture of himself on Twitter within the Capitol, grinning broadly and smoking cigarettes a cigarette. According to court filings, the FBI matched pics of Ochs taken during the riot to photos taken when Ochs campaigned unsuccessfully previous calendar year as the Republican nominee for a seat in the Hawaii statehouse.

Very pleased Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was arrested Monday in Washington on weapons expenses and requested to stay out of the nation’s funds. Tarrio is accused of vandalizing a Black Life Subject banner at a historic Black church previous month.

Jay Robert Thaxton, 46, was arrested near the Capitol for curfew violations on Wednesday. A North Carolina guy with the similar identify has also been linked to the Very pleased Boys. He informed The Stanly Information & Press in 2019 that he was a Happy Boys supporter but wouldn’t say if he was an formal member of the team. A different North Carolina newspaper, The Jacksonville Each day Information, printed a photo of Thaxton carrying a “Make The us Excellent Again” hat at a 2019 protest around the removing of Accomplice statues.

A gentleman who answered a phone amount linked with Thaxton hung up on an AP reporter. The recipient of a text concept to the very same amount responded with an expletive.

Also arrested at the Capitol was William Arthur Leary, who owns a created housing enterprise in Utica, New York. In an job interview Friday, Leary instructed the AP that he strongly thinks the election was stolen from Trump and that he went to Washington to demonstrate his aid.

Leary said he doesn’t belief information documented by the mainstream media and that 1 of his most important sources of details was Infowars, the considerably-suitable conspiracy web-site operate by Alex Jones. He denied he at any time set foot in the Capitol and complained that he was held for more than 24 hrs and had his mobile telephone seized.

“They addressed us like animals,” he complained. “They took all our telephones. I didn’t get to make a cellphone get in touch with to inform anyone where I was.”

Leary reported he remembers viewing a female, Kristina Malimon, 28, sobbing at the detention heart because she experienced been divided and not permitted to translate for her mother, who mainly speaks Russian. The two ladies experienced been charged with curfew violation and illegal entry. According to a online video posted on her Instagram account, the young Malimon suggests she was born in Moldova, where her relatives had faced persecution underneath the Soviet-period regime for their Christian beliefs.

Malimon, who traveled to D.C. from Portland, Oregon, is vice chairwoman of the Younger Republicans of Oregon, according to the group’s internet site and is also shown as an “ambassador” for the pro-Trump group Turning Stage Usa. Her social media feeds are complete of images taken at Trump gatherings, including the earlier “Million MAGA March” held in Washington previous month. She also posted photos of herself posing with Donald Trump Jr. and Roger Stone, who was convicted of crimes which includes obstruction of justice and pardoned by Trump on Christmas Eve.

Media reports from Oregon quoted Malimon in August as the key organizer of a Trump boat parade on the Willamette River, the place major waves established by dashing boats traveling Trump flags swamped and sank a scaled-down boat that was not collaborating, throwing a spouse and children into the h2o to be rescued by the sheriff’s division.

“Oregon, right now you came out and confirmed your like and assistance for our superb President, Donald J. Trump thank you!” Kristina Malimon wrote on Facebook next the parade.

Malimon also served as a Republican poll watcher in Ga and spoke at an event arranged by the Trump marketing campaign in December, boasting to have found voting devices and tabulation personal computers in Savannah, Georgia, with suspiciously blinking green lights she interpreted as a indication they were being getting secretly managed by outside hackers — a declare debunked as phony by GOP election officers in the state.

A phone number outlined for Kristina Malimon rang without being answered on Friday. At the address detailed for her in southeast Portland on Friday evening, her teenage brother answered the door as other family members associates, like youthful small children, ran around.

The loved ones spoke Russian to each other and the brother, Nick Malimon, translated. He mentioned his sister was even now in Washington but experienced termed the loved ones subsequent her release from jail and didn’t seem upset about her arrest.

Many others are struggling with repercussions even outside of arrest.

A Texas sheriff announced Thursday that he experienced noted a single of his lieutenants to the FBI soon after she posted shots of herself on social media with a crowd outside the house the Capitol. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar stated Lt. Roxanne Mathai, a 46-yr-outdated jailer, experienced the suitable to attend the rally but he’s investigating whether she may possibly have damaged the legislation.

One particular of the posts Mathai shared was a photo that appeared to be taken Wednesday from among the the mass of Trump supporters outside the Capitol, “Not gonna lie……aside from my young children, this was, without a doubt, the ideal day of my everyday living. And it’s not around however.”

A attorney for Mathai, a mom and longtime San Antonio resident, stated she attended the Trump rally but in no way entered the Capitol.

Attorney Hector Cortes mentioned Mathai’s deal bars her from talking straight with the press but that she welcomes an FBI investigation and that her steps had been squarely in just the bounds of the Initial Amendment.

Brad Rukstales, a Republican political donor and CEO of Cogensia, a Chicago-dependent knowledge analytics organization, was arrested with a group of a 50 %-dozen Trump supporters who clashed with officers Wednesday inside of the Capitol. Campaign finance stories exhibit Rukstales contributed extra than $25,000 to Trump’s campaign and other GOP committees during to 2020 election cycle.

He instructed a neighborhood CBS news channel past week that he had entered the Capitol and apologized. He was fired Friday and did not react to phone calls and emails in search of comment.

Derrick Evans, a Republican just lately sworn in as a delegate to the West Virginia Dwelling, resigned Saturday adhering to his arrest on two rates linked to the Capitol riot. He had streamed movie of himself charging into the constructing with the mob.

“They’re building an announcement now declaring if Pence betrays us you far better get your head ideal mainly because we’re storming the building,” Evans, 35, claims in the video clip, as the doorway to the Capitol creating is smashed and rioters hurry via. “The doorway is cracked! … We’re in, we’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”

On Saturday he issued a assertion indicating he regretted taking section.

“I take entire obligation for my actions, and deeply regret any damage, suffering or embarrassment I could have induced my relatives, friends, constituents and fellow West Virginians,” the statement explained.

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Kunzelman noted from University 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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Comply with Related Push investigative reporter Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck

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Get hold of AP’s world investigative crew at [email protected]

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