By David M. Greenwald
Ever since the Capitol Riots occurred last Wednesday, President Trump and his supporters have blamed “Antifa people” for storming the Capitol. But the FBI, Kevin McCarthy and an exhaustive report from the Associated Press make it clear that the vast majority of those involved were MAGA, committed Trumpists along with QAnon and some Proud Boys sprinkled in.
Various news agencies are reporting that President Trump most recently made the remark to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in a 30-minute phone conversation. McCarthy who has steadfastly supported the President, nevertheless pushed back: “It’s not Antifa, it’s MAGA. I know. I was there.”
The Hill this morning reports that McCarthy “told members of his GOP conference on a call Monday that the riot at the Capitol was not caused by Antifa, urging lawmakers not to further spread misinformation about the pro-Trump mob that stormed the House and Senate last week.”
“McCarthy told all members on the call that he has been receiving FBI briefings and it is clear that antifa was not behind this,” the Hill reported quoting “one source familiar with the call.” “That it was in fact right-wing extremists and QAnon adherents, and he urged members to stop spreading false information to the contrary.”
Yesterday Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida made the claim that “antifa was behind the violence that broke out at the Capitol on Wednesday.”
“Evidence growing that fascist ANTIFA orchestrated Capitol attack with clever mob control tactics,” Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama tweeted the day after the riot.
However, McCarthy told members that “it was determined to be right-wing extremists and supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory.”
Furthermore, the FBI has said publicly that “it determined that no members of the left-wing movement antifa were involved in the storming of the Capitol.”
“We have no indication of that at this time,” Washington Field Office assistant director Steven D’Antuono said when asked about any potential involvement of Antifa last week.
The Associated Press said on Monday that they “reviewed social media posts, voter registrations, court files and other public records for more than 120 people either facing criminal charges related to the Jan. 6 unrest or who, going maskless amid the pandemic, were later identified through photographs and videos taken during the melee.”
They report, “The evidence gives lie to claims by right-wing pundits and Republican officials such as Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., that the violence was perpetrated by left-wing antifa thugs rather than supporters of the president.”
The AP found “that many 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 a vast international conspiracy. Several had openly threatened violence against Democrats and Republicans they considered insufficiently loyal to the president. During the riot, some livestreamed and posted photos of themselves at the Capitol. Afterwards, many bragged about what they had done.”
The article details numerous individuals who were arrested and their ties to right wing groups.
The AP reports that their “review found that QAnon beliefs were common among those who heeded Trump’s call to come to Washington.”
They note that the mob “also included members of the neofascist group known as the Proud Boys, whom Trump urged to “stand back and stand by” when asked to condemn them by a moderator during a presidential debate in September.”
One of many people profiled in the AP article was William Arthury Leary, “who owns a manufactured housing business in Utica, New York. In an interview Friday, Leary told the AP that he strongly believes the election was stolen from Trump and that he went to Washington to show his support.”
He said that “he doesn’t trust information reported by the mainstream media and that one of his main sources of information was Infowars, the far-right conspiracy site run by Alex Jones. He denied he ever set foot in the Capitol and complained that he was held for more than 24 hours and had his cell 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.”
The AP reports that some are facing consequences even beyond their arrests.
For example, they report that a Texas sheriff announced Thursday “that he had reported one of his lieutenants to the FBI after she posted photos of herself on social media with a crowd outside the Capitol. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said Lt. Roxanne Mathai, a 46-year-old jailer, had the right to attend the rally but he’s investigating whether she may have broken the law.”
One of the posts Mathai shared was a photo that appeared to be taken Wednesday from among the mass of Trump supporters outside the Capitol, “Not gonna lie……aside from my kids, this was, indeed, the best day of my life. And it’s not over yet.”
Bottom line—those arrested by the FBI tell the story that the people arrested for crimes inside the building were active Trump supporters, not part of any type of counter-Trump insurgency.
—David M. Greenwald reporting
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