One of the organizers responsible for logistics and security at a series of rallies that drew thousands of Trump supporters to Washington, DC in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol expressed approval as rioters broke out an exterior window.
Raw Story has previously reported that Cindy Chafian, who pulled permits and coordinated security for two large pro-Trump gatherings in Washington, DC in November and December 2020 and then organized her own event on the eve of the attack, was present on the Lower West Terrace when a mob dragged DC Metropolitan police Officer Michael Fanone into the crowd and assaulted him.
Now, Raw Story has obtained video that shows Chafian standing with her husband, Scott on a temporary riser erected for the inauguration and affirming a woman who enthusiastically announced that rioters were breaking into the Capitol.
The video zooms in on a window where four people can be seen standing on the ledge and assisting a fifth who is climbing up. Cracks can be seen in the windows. As rioters sing the National Anthem, a young man with long, blond hair can be seen vigorously battering a hard object into the window.
The person filming then turns to the left and shows Mariposa Castro, a yoga studio owner from Gilroy, Calif., excitedly announcing: “We’re breaking in. We are breaking in. We’re doing this. We’re breaking in, right?”
The camera immediately turns to the right, and Cindy Chafian can be seen nodding affirmatively.
“This is our Capitol,” Chafian says. “It’s we the people. We’re not taking it anymore. We’re taking our house back.”
Watch the video below or at this link.
Cindy Chafian and Mariposa Castro at US Capitol youtu.be
The video was presented by the government during Castro’s sentencing in federal court in February, and later released by order of Judge Reggie B. Walton. The owner of the @BetoAngelMommas Twitter account provided the video to Raw Story.
Castro pleaded guilty to one count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, after video she uploaded to Facebook showed her crawling in through the window depicted in the video. She was sentenced to 45 days in jail, and a $5,000 fine.
During the exchange between Castro and Chafian on the Lower West Terrace, Castro can be heard saying, “We’re taking our house back. This is our Capitol. We’re taking it back. No more bulls***!”
“No more bulls***,” Chafian agrees.
As the video trains back onto the Capitol, some rioters can be seen scaling the wall as others continue to focus on the window.
“Oh s***, they’re inside,” an unidentified man says.
“They went inside?” a woman who appears to be Castro asks.
The video is among the strongest pieces of evidence linking the relatively small group of operatives responsible for organizing the large rallies protesting the results of the 2020 election to the thousands of far-right militia members, QAnon followers and ordinary Trump supporters who overtook the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Cindy Chafian and Erika Wulff Jones, the wife of conspiracy theorist honcho Alex Jones, traveled to the Capitol by golf cart on Jan. 6. Cindy Chafian’s husband, Scott, and Nathan Hughes, who took part in a battle with DC Metropolitan police inside the tunnel just prior to Officer Fanone’s assault, traveled to the scene in a separate golf cart. Hughes has not been arrested in connection to the events of Jan. 6.
Cindy Chafian could not be reached for comment for this story, and in the past has requested that Raw Story refrain from contacting her. But in an interview last December with far-right podcaster Ann Vandersteel, Chafian said, “There was no insurrection by the people. Everything was lawful. It was what they are entitled to do under their Constitution. We are free citizens. We are free people. And we have the right to address our government.”
Chafian received a subpoena in September 2021 from the House selection committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, ordering her to appear for a deposition and turn over documents.
“I chose not to comply because I don’t see them as a legitimate entity,” Chafian told Vandersteel. “The people who sit in those chairs, I don’t even know if they were legally elected by their constituents.”
Chafian insisted she “didn’t do anything illegal,” adding, “I had nothing to do with anything that happened on the Capitol.” Later, she said, “I’m a mom of five. I’ve never done anything like this. This was just a culmination of frustration for people.”
“Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander, who collaborated with Chafian on a Jan. 5 “Rally to Revival,” had made provocative statements that left room for interpretation about how far Trump’s supporters should go to prevent Congress from certifying the election.
Only one day after Trump issued his infamous tweet summoning supporters to DC for the “wild” rally on Jan. 6, Alexander reportedly addressed a crowd in Phoenix on Dec. 20, telling them: “One of our organizers in one state said, ‘We’re nice patriots, we don’t throw bricks.’ I leaned over and I said, ‘Not yet. Not yet!’ Haven’t you read about a little tar-and-feathering? Those were second-degree burns!"
“We’re going to convince them to not certify the vote on January 6 by marching hundreds of thousands, if not millions of patriots, to sit their butts in DC and close that city down, right,” Alexander continued. “And if we have to explore other options after that… ‘yet.’ Yet!”
On Jan. 6, Alexander gave a statement in a video filmed from a nearby government building with the Capitol in the background, saying, “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this. This is completely peaceful, looks like so far, and there are a couple of agitators that I obviously don’t endorse.”
As recently reported by Raw Story, Jason Sullivan, a social media strategist who had previously worked for Trump confidant Roger Stone, told a group of Trump supporters during a Dec. 30, 2020 conference call that there were “dates floating around for some of the people in the militia,” adding, “they will not allow Biden to go into the White House.” Later in the call, Sullivan urged listeners to “descend on the Capitol” and “make those people feel it inside so they understand that people are breathing down their neck.”
Cindy Chafian is listed as the “person in charge” on an event permit issued by the National Park Service for a Nov. 14, 2020 rally organized by Women for America First, a group led by mother-and-daughter team Amy Kremer and Kylie Kremer. The permit specified that 1st Amendment Praetorian, a security group associated with retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, would serve as demonstration marshals. Chafian told Rolling Stone that she also “used” 1st Amendment Praetorian for the March for Trump at Freedom Plaza on Dec. 12. The Oath Keepers, whose founder Stewart Rhodes and nine other members now face charges of seditious conspiracy, assisted 1st Amendment Praetorian with security at the Dec. 12 rally.
While its leadership advertised 1st Amendment Praetorian’s primary purpose as providing protective security details for VIPs at right-wing rallies, founder Robert Patrick Lewis also spoke approvingly about vigilante action during the runup to Jan. 6.
Speaking during a Dec. 15 episode of the “Uncensored Abe” podcast with fellow 1st Amendment Praetorian member Alan Kielan, Lewis referenced a contingency plan in the event that various desperate schemes by Trump and his allies were to fail, including persuading the courts to overturn the election result, getting law enforcement to arrest election officials, or convincing the president to declare martial law and order the National Guard to seize machines.
“And there’s even one more plan,” Lewis said. “And that’s if they can’t get it done through the courts, can’t get it done through law enforcement, can’t get it done through the military. I still hold firm that there are two men that can issue one sentence. And there would be at a minimum 10 to 15 million pissed-off patriots that would take it to the streets and go take it into their own hands."
“And all it would take would be one sentence from President Trump or General Flynn,” Lewis continued in a statement that would prove to be remarkably prescient. “And I guarantee you 10 to 15 million pissed-off American patriots — probably a large percentage of them would be vets — would drop everything, go to DC or their state capitol and take action into their own hands.”
Four days later, Trump tweeted, “Big protest in DC on January 6. Be there, will be wild!”
On Dec. 21, Lewis tweeted: “Just spit-balling here, but my spidey senses are telling me @realDonaldTrump is asking all Patriots to report to DC as a ‘show of force’ based on what else is going on that day (1/6/21). Your commander in chief is requesting your assistance…. Many of you have given excuses for why you couldn’t take part in the MAGA, Stop the Steal & Patriot events over past few months. But now your commander in chief has spoken. You’re fresh out of reasons to not be a part of this movement. @1st_praetorian will be there in force.”
By late December 2020, an apparent rift was developing between the Kremers on one hand, and Chafian and Alexander, who were considered more militant, on the other.
A text from Amy Kremer that was obtained by ProPublica indicates that the White House was aware of the split.
“The WH and team trump are aware of the situation with Ali and Cindy,” Kremer reportedly said. “I need to be the one to handle both.”
Now working independently of the Kremers, Chafian obtained a permit for the Rally to Revival at Freedom Plaza for Jan. 5, 2021. Again, 1st Amendment Praetorian was listed as providing unarmed security. Chafian’s Eighty Percent Coalition held the final slot from 5 to 8:30 p.m., following the “Stop the Steal” slot held by Alexander.
Lewis, the founder of 1st Amendment Praetorian made his first appearance as a public speaker at the Rally to Revival. Introducing Lewis, Chafian described 1st Amendment Praetorian as an “organization [that] is near and dear to my heart.”
Like Chafian, Lewis has also received a subpoena from the January 6th Committee, but to date no members of the security group have been charged in connection with the events of Jan. 6.
During her own speech, Chafian also expressed gratitude to the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, whose members face charges of seditious conspiracy.“Thank you, Proud Boys!” Chafian shouted at the end of her speech. “The Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters — all of those guys keep you safe.”