'To save America': Jan. 6 rioters networked in advance, planned to storm the Capitol and fantasized about hanging lawmakers for 'treason'
www.rawstory.com

As the January 6th Committee bears down on its investigation into potential coordination between high-level Trump associates involved in the effort to overturn the 2020 election and the rioters who stormed the Capitol, legal filings in the cases of 725-plus people who have been criminally charged to date yield a patchwork of clues.

Court documents in the cases brought against some of the Jan. 6 defendants facing the most serious charges yield information about communication and coordination among the defendants from different groups in advance of Jan. 6, 2021, shared memes that placed a bullseye on the US Capitol on the day Congress convened to certify the electoral vote, and aspirations to kill or kidnap lawmakers that were articulated by the rioters with disturbing frequency. Much of the information in this story has been previously reported in other outlets, but patterns of conduct and overlaps between the participants make a striking impression when considered as a whole. Conversely, this story is by no means comprehensive as a summary of all the evidence of coordination that has been published.

Members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are charged with conspiracy, but none of the charges specifically allege coordination between members of the two groups or with unaffiliated individuals. Similarly, federal authorities have unveiled conspiracy charges against members of two smaller groups from southern California: the Patriots 45 MAGA Gang and the California Patriots-DC Brigade.

Members of both the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers attended a pro-Trump rally in Washington, DC on Dec. 12, 2020 in which Proud Boys and their allies clashed with left-wing counter-protesters and Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes called on President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act. Proud Boys leaders Enrique Tarrio and Ethan Nordean stood alongside Trump confidant Roger Stone as he exhorted a crowd of the former president’s supporters to “fight to the bitter end for an honest count of the 2020 election.”

READ: 'Trust fund baby' Trump and his 'oligarch' enablers pushed a mob up the Capitol steps -- and let them take the fall: Morning Joe

In two separate Facebook messages on Dec. 22 and 25, 2020 — within a week of Trump’s tweet summoning supporters to DC for a “wild protest” on Jan. 6 — Kelly Meggs, the designated state lead for the Oath Keepers in Florida mentioned to contacts that he had formulated a plan to join forces with the Proud Boys.

“Orchestrated a plan with the Proud Boys,” Meggs wrote on Dec. 25, according to a government filing. “I’ve been communicating with their leader. We’re going to march with them for a while. Then fall back to the back of the crowd and turn off. Then we will have the Proud Boys get in front of them. The cops will get between antifa and the Proud Boys. We will come in behind antifa and beat the hell out of them.”

Meggs’ lawyer, Jonathon Moseley, told Raw Story he hasn’t had the opportunity to ask his client about the statement.

Meggs’ use of the word “leader” to describe his Proud Boy contact mostly likely points to Chairman Enrique Tarrio, who lived in Miami, but Joe Biggs, a former InfoWars correspondent and Proud Boys organizer is also from Florida.

READ: A dress rehearsal for fascism: The complete Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection timeline

Dan Hull, a lawyer who represents Tarrio in his capacity as a witness subpoenaed by the January 6th Committee, told Raw Story that he asked Tarrio if he had spoken with Meggs in the runup to Jan. 6. Tarrio's response was, "No way. That never happened."

Hull also represents Biggs in his criminal defense against conspiracy charges related to the Jan. 6 assault. Hull said that Biggs likewise told him, “Absolutely not,” when asked if he had talked to Meggs before Jan. 6.

David A. Wilson, who also represents Meggs, told a federal judge during his client’s detention hearing in March 2021 that the messages “seem to point to a preparation for some sort of perceived confrontation with antifa,” adding, “There is not one communication that the government can point to where Mr. Meggs plans, discusses, or mentions any pre-planning to enter the Capitol.”

Referencing evidence presented by a prosecutor that Meggs said he was “organizing an alliance between the Oath Keepers, the Florida Three Percenters and the Proud Boys” to “work together and shut this shit down,” Judge Amit Mehta concluded: “Whether he’s talking about the election count or shutting down violent protests or violence involving antifa; nevertheless, we have somebody who’s already prepared to organize and engage with other groups in violent acts on the streets of the District of Columbia.”

The claim that the Oath Keepers were only concerned with confronting counter-protesters, alongside providing security and VIP escort for dignitaries like Stone, is undercut by evidence that Meggs and other Oath Keepers went looking for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after they followed a mob through the Columbus Doors on the east side of the Capitol.

READ: Trump has been laughing about the suffering of 1/6 victims when talking with close friends: report

In an exchange cited by the government, an unidentified person reportedly said to Meggs that they had been “hoping to see Nancy’s head rolling down the front steps.” Meggs reportedly answered: “We looked forward her [sic].”

Explaining his decision to hold Meggs in pre-trial detention, Mehta also cited a message from Meggs upon learning that Vice President Mike Pence would count the electoral votes, in which the Oath Keeper leader reportedly said, “That checks all the boxes. I think this is why we were called here. Anything less would be a terrible mistake. The natives are getting restless. Tell your friend this isn’t a rally.”

Judge Mehta concluded, “I think there’s ample evidence here of conspiring and planning and coordinating dangerous activities, including nighttime confrontations with the likes of antifa and others, and planning for those purposes.”

The government presented strikingly similar evidence to support its request for the detention of Proud Boy defendant Matthew Greene, an Army veteran from upstate New York with combat experience in Afghanistan.

The government’s motion for detention cited an FBI interview with an unidentified witness, who reportedly told agents that Greene was with a group of individuals who described their actions on Jan. 6. The witness reportedly told the FBI that members of the group told them that “anyone they got their hands on they would have killed, including Nancy Pelosi” and also “that they would have killed Mike Pence if given the chance.”

The witness reportedly told the FBI that the Proud Boys discussed plans to return on Jan. 20 for the inauguration and that Greene said words to the effect of “We’ll kill them all.”

Greene pleaded guilty to obstructing Congress and conspiracy to obstruct law enforcement on Dec. 22; the plea deal offers him the opportunity to reduce his sentence in exchange for providing substantial assistance to the government in its cases against other defendants.

Greene’s lawyer did not respond to emails from Raw Story seeking comment on his client’s alleged threats against lawmakers, although a federal judge who ordered Greene’s detention in August indicated that he has denied making the statement.

Some of the Jan. 6 defendants accused of the most violent conduct at the Capitol reported coordinating with the Proud Boys or other extremist groups in the runup to Jan. 6.

Lucas Denney, an Army veteran from the Fort Worth suburbs in Texas who launched the Patriot Boys militia as a vehicle to mobilize people for Jan. 6, exchanged messages with Donald Hazard, his sergeant at arms, about their plans for the day on Dec. 25, 2020, according to the affidavit providing the factual basis for the charges against the two men.

“So, the 6th is going to be bigger than the last rally,” Denney reportedly told Hazard. “I can’t tell you everything I know over media here but it’s gonna be big. Millions and millions will be there, I can tell you that.

“We will be linking up with proud boys though,” Denney said in the next message. “I’ve been in contact with a few different chapters, and they’re helping us out with safe hotels to get.”

When Metropolitan police Officer Michael Fanone was dragged into the crowd of rioters outside the tunnel at the Lower West Terrace, Denney is accused of swinging his arm and fist at the officer and then grabbing him and pulling him further down the steps.

As previously reported by Raw Story, the government alleges that Denney wrote in a Dec. 31, 2020 message to an unidentified individual that “a lot of the presidents and commanders of militias like myself are meeting on the 5th to organize and plan.” It’s unclear whether the Jan. 5 meeting took place, but Denney is also reported to have said in a separate message sent on New Year’s Eve: “I’m still up chatting with all my brothers that are going to DC. All the presidents have been so busy organizing, planning and talking lol.”

Ryan Nichols, a Marine Corps veteran from east Texas, reportedly expressed interest in joining the Proud Boys before traveling to Washington DC with his friend, Alex Harkrider.

“I’m thinking of joining the Proud Boys chapter in Texas,” Nichols wrote to Harkrider on Dec. 14, according to texts cited by the government. “Would you be open to doing that with me?”

Nichols “coordinated with other participants before, during and after the riot,” according to the government. Prior to Jan. 6, Nichols “reported on ‘intel’ he was gathering, passed along messages from ‘group sources,’ joined several Zello groups which were active before and during the attack on the Capitol, and attempted to recruit others to join him in DC,” prosecutors wrote in a motion requesting Nichols’ detention.

Another rioter who has not been arrested but who is identified as “Associate-1” in charging the documents for Ronald Colton McAbee, with whom he traveled to DC, put in an application a couple days before Jan. 6, according to the government. McAbee, who was working as a deputy with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee when he joined the Capitol riot, is accused of dragging a police officer into the crowd and participating outside the tunnel on the Lower West Terrace. After fellow rioter Jack Wade Whitton and another man allegedly knocked Officer “AW” to the ground, Whitton later bragging that he “fed an officer to the people,” McAbee is accused of grabbing “AW” by his left leg and torso while another man grabbed his right leg, and dragging the officer towards the stairs. In texts released by the government, “Associate-1,” who has been dubbed #ScaryCherry3P by online sleuths, indicated that he knew one of the other rioters. While sharing a video depicting a battle between rioters and police outside the Lower West Terrace tunnel, “Associate-1” wrote to McAbee: “I know the guy in the red and black crowd surfing.”

It’s not clear based on Associate-1’s description who the other rioter is, but a number of men climbed on top of the crowd and swung sticks and other makeshift weapons at officers.

Other unaffiliated Jan. 6 defendants joined forces with the Proud Boys at the Capitol. Kevin Tuck, who was employed by the Windermere Police Department in Florida at the time of the riot, and his son, Nathaniel Tuck, who was formerly employed as a police officer, were charged together with three Proud Boys — Arthur Jackman, Paul Rae and Edward George Jr. The five men posed together for a photo together on the Capitol lawn after breaching the building, along with Proud Boys leaders Nordean and Biggs. Nordean and Biggs were charged together with conspiracy in a separate case.

In one case, the allegation of coordination between the Proud Boys and an apparently unaffiliated rioter is even more direct.

Court documents indicate that Nordean communicated by phone with Ronald Loehrke in December 2020. Nordean reportedly told Loehrke on Dec. 29, 2020 he wanted him with him “on the front line.” Loehrke, in turn, is reported to have pledged to Nordean he would bring three “Bad mother f*ckers [sic]” with him. After marching with the Proud Boys and making his way to the line of officers protecting the Capitol at the West Plaza, Loehrke is alleged to have upbraided the other rioters for allowing themselves to be “stopped by twenty-five officers.”

“Don’t back down, patriots!” Loehrke reportedly shouted. “The whole f*cking world is watching. Stand the f*ck up today!”

Later, Loehrke is alleged to have made his way to the east side of the Capitol, dismantling barricades and urging on other rioters with words to the effect of, “Let’s go! Get in there!”

David Dempsey, a southern California man accused of spraying a chemical agent at police officers and striking them with a pole and a crutch near the mouth of the tunnel at the Lower West Terrace, had previously attended rallies with Proud Boys. Dempsey’s charging document includes a photo of him posing with two men dressed in Proud Boys gear in Sacramento, Calif. in November 2020, and Dempsey can be seen in another photo marching with the Proud Boys in DC on Dec. 12, 2020.

Dempsey can be seen wearing the same American flag gaiter that he would wear on Jan. 6 behind Michael Sobczak, who stood out because of his yellow knit hat and handlebar mustache. Sobczak was removed from his position as commander of the American Legion post in Escondido, Calif. after his involvement with the Proud Boys came to light. But he posted a meme featuring a photo of a gallows, accompanied by the text “Government repair kit” on the social media platform Parler under the handle @PatriotMick on Dec. 30, 2020.

Proud Boy Michael Sobczak posted a meme depicting a gallows on Parler on Dec. 30, 2020 that foreshadowed the actual gallows erected at the US Capitol seven days later.Screenshot

On Jan. 6, 2021, prior to the assault on the Capitol, Dempsey was filmed in front of a makeshift gallows fitted with a noose on the National Mall, where he launched into a violent rant.

“Them worthless f*ckin’ shitholes like Jerry Nadler, f*ckin’ Pelosi,” Dempsey said. “They don’t need a jail cell. They need to hang from these mother*ckers…. They need to get the point across that the time for peace is over…. For four, or five years really, they’ve been fucking demonizing us, belittling us... doing everything they can to stop what this is, and people are sick of that shit…. Hopefully one day soon we really have someone hanging from one of these mother*ckers.”

James Mault, a member of the Ironworkers Local 33 union in Rochester, NY who is also accused of spraying chemical agents at officers stationed at the Lower West Terrace tunnel with two separate canisters. Photos in Mault’s charging document show him handing one of the canisters off to Dempsey. There’s no indication that the two men knew each other prior to Jan. 6.

Mault traveled with his friend, Cody Mattice, to the Capitol. While court documents provide no indications that Mault and Mattice held formal membership in any extremist groups, they appear to have derived esteem from their perception that they were fighting alongside the Proud Boys.

“It was dope, and James had everyone hyped bro,” Mattice texted another person at 7:44 p.m. on Jan. 6, according to the government. “Even the Proud Boys were thanking us. Legit, bro, it feels like a f*ckin movie.”

One interaction between a Proud Boy leader and an unaffiliated rioter stands out as a potentially decisive moment in the assault on the Capitol.

Ryan Samsel, a Pennsylvania man who was one of the first two rioters to approach the police line at the entrance to the Pennsylvania Avenue Walkway, can be seen in a video published by the New York Times conferring with Proud Boys leader Joe Biggs shortly before pushing and pulling the barricades apart and knocking down a police officer. The crowd quickly overran the police line and streamed onto the Capitol lawn.

According to a New York Times report, Samsel told investigators that Biggs encouraged him to push at the barricades and then flashed a gun at him when he hesitated, questioning his manhood.

“Absolutely false,” Biggs' lawyer, Dan Hull, told Raw Story. “There hasn’t been anything to support that theory that I’ve seen or heard. Nothing from DOJ. Certainly, you would have heard it from DOJ because it would go to his detention. It continues to be laughable.”

He added that Biggs did not show Samsel a gun, and would never bring a gun to DC.

Hull said his client doesn’t recall what words were exchanged between the two men.

“He doesn’t remember a conversation with Samsel,” Hull said. “He doesn’t know Samsel. He doesn’t remember a conversation at all, other than several people said, ‘Oh, it’s Joe Biggs. I saw you on InfoWars.’”

Hull has acknowledged a complex interplay between Proud Boys members and unaffiliated individuals on Jan. 6, while promoting the view that the Proud Boys were unwittingly steered into the assault on the Capitol.

“The Proud Boys are sitting down,” Hull told host Ron Coleman on a podcast recorded last month, describing their activities shortly before they joined a mob that streamed onto the Capitol lawn. “They’re looking around and somebody says, ‘What are they doing?’ So, rather than go to the Ellipse, at the last minute, there’s this magic moment, and they say, ‘Let’s go over there to the edge. Let’s go over there in Peace Circle, the roundabout.’”

Hull added that “by that point, a few people that we now know were not Proud Boys who were in the group — there were people who worked for other organizations….”

While alluding to other actors on the group’s periphery, Hull has also steadfastly stuck to the narrative that his client’s defense hinges on — that there was no conspiracy, at least on the part of the Proud Boys.

“This was the madness of crowds when the people went up that hill,” he said.

Regardless of the nature of the exchange between Samsel and Biggs, the Proud Boys played a decisive role in the breach of the Capitol. Dominic Pezzola, Greene’s co-defendant in a separate conspiracy case, used a stolen police riot shield to bust out a window in the Capitol building, allowing the first group of rioters to enter the building shortly after 2 p.m.

Joseph Padilla, an Iraq war veteran from Georgia, reportedly told a friend on Facebook in advance of the attack that he did not believe “anything less than taking DC with an a [sic] heavily armed protest” would work, adding that if he couldn’t find an organized group, he “might just have to fight Proud Boys style.” Afterward, according to Padilla’s charging document, he lamented on TheDonald.win: “If we could have occupied the Capitol, we could have invoked the right given to us in the 2nd paragraph of the Declaration of Independence…. We would have been in the Seat of Power. All we would need to do is declare our grievances with the government and dissolve the legislature, and replace it with Patriots who were there. Then simply re-adopt the Constitution with amendments added to secure future Federal elections.”

Edward Jacob Lang, a 25-year-old man from New York’s Hudson River Valley, is accused by the government of attempting to organize a militia on Telegram after the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. Lang, who is accused of three separate assaults on police officers including swinging a metal bat at them, disputed the notion that those who participated in the siege of the assault were merely swept up in the moment.

“This was no mob,” Lang reportedly told his associates in the private Telegram video. “A mob is a bunch of people like attacking each other. This was an organized unit of patriots trying to take on tyrants. You know what I mean. A mob has no goal. A mob is just, uh, screaming and shit. This was patriots on a goal, on a mission to have the Capitol building. To stop this presidential election from being stolen so that we at least have one presidential veto left from all of these bullshit laws and restrictions.”

Some of the early arrests in the Jan. 6 investigation included tantalizing leads suggesting the defendants were linked to a broader network, but information available through court documents has yet to yield charges against additional defendants.

Rachel Marie Powell, previously identified by online sleuths as #PinkHatLady, used a large metal pole to break out a window to the Senate conference room adjacent to the tunnel at the Lower West Terrace. Video footage of her speaking into a bullhorn through an open window stating that the rioters should “coordinate together if you are going to take this building” and that they “have another window to break” commanded public attention in the early days of the investigation.

“She corralled her fellow rioters and gave instructions on how to take the Capitol, including instructions that I believe you indicated you saw in the video, that seemed to suggest an operative knowledge of the interior layout of the Capitol,” the government argued in a motion for Powell’s detention.

Powell’s lawyer proffered that there was no evidence that Powell had ever been to the Capitol before Jan. 6, which he said undercuts “the argument that she was some kind of organizer or leader with respect to this.”

Judge Beryl Howell appeared to agree with Powell’s counsel.

“And there is no evidence in the proffer that’s been given based on her social media… that she was part of a larger group of people whose mission is disruption,” Howell said during Powell’s detention hearing.

But the government noted that Powell traveled to DC with a man named Kevin Lynn, whom she had met at a July 4, 2020 rally at Gettysburg National Military Park.

Lynn, who is the executive director of a group called Progressives for Immigration Reform, reportedly met President Trump at the White House. To date, Lynn has not been arrested. Prosecutor Elizabeth Loi described Lynn to the court as “a militia member” during Powell’s detention hearing in February 2021. At the time, she said the government was still investigating Powell’s “relationship to the other rioters.”

Lynn did not respond to an email message and voicemail from Raw Story seeking comment for this story.

Riley June Williams, a 22-year-old follower of white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes, urged rioters to ascend a stairway leading to Pelosi’s office, according to the FBI. She appears to be in a video depicting the theft of a laptop computer consistent with one stolen from Pelosi’s office. Williams’ ex-boyfriend told the FBI she had unsuccessfully attempted to broker the transfer of the computer to Russian intelligence. Her lawyer cast doubt on that claim during a detention hearing.

“Based on our initial investigation in preparation for today, it is our position that the allegations surrounding the theft of Speaker Pelosi’s computer came in part from a former abusive boyfriend,” Lori J. Ulrich, Williams’ lawyer, told a federal judge during her detention hearing in Harrisburg, Pa. on Jan. 21. “He threatened Ms. Williams in a number of ways, including if she filed a restraining order against him, he was going to go after her. His accusations are overstated.”

In November, Williams was indicted on eight counts, including theft of government property and aiding and abetting, and assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers. To date, no additional arrests have been made against individuals accused of involvement in the alleged theft of the computer or any scheme to pass it along to the Russian intelligence services. AJ Kramer, one of Williams’ lawyers, declined to comment on her behalf.

In other cases, the government has acknowledged that violent rioters who played decisive roles in the attack appear to have not coordinated with other rioters before Jan. 6.

In a motion to detain Albuquerque Head, a Tennessee man, ahead of his trial, prosecutors wrote, “While the evidence does not suggest coordination or pre-planning, the defendant instigated the assault on Officer [Fanone] by pulling him into the crowd away from the police line and shouted, ‘I got one!’”

Although there is abundant evidence of horizontal coordination among the defendants, few, if any, cases filed to date provide clues about potential vertical organization. But Cindy Chafian, an organizer behind the rallies that brought Trump supporters to DC, and her husband Scott, a retired Navy officer, were present at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Nathan Hughes, an Arkansas man who rode to the Capitol in a golf cart driven by Scott Chafian, was in the crowd of rioters that battled police inside the tunnel at the Lower West Terrace, at one point urging his fellow rioters to take one of the officer’s shields. Publicly available video also shows Hughes hovering over Officer Michael Fanone after he was dragged into the mob. Neither the Hughes nor the Chafians have been arrested to date, but the January 6th Committee has issued a subpoena to Cindy Chafian, ordering her to turn over documents and give testimony.

Hughes had previously attended the Nov. 14, 2020 Million MAGA March in DC and filmed Trump passing the rally at Freedom Plaza in his motorcade. Hughes’ video was incorporated into a story published on the DCPatriot website run by Hughes’ friend, Matt Couch.

Couch played an instrumental role in mobilizing Trump supporters to get to DC on Jan. 6. In a Jan. 4, 2021 tweet, Couch tagged Hughes and seven other social media influencers. “TrumpTheStreets.com and FighttheFrauds.com are on the ground here in DC,” Couch wrote. “Big events planned all day Tues/Wed!”

Hughes responded: “See you soon brother!”

In a Jan. 3 Periscope stream to more than 100,000 viewers, Couch said he had “been in touch” with Ali Alexander and various other Stop the Steal organizers. Couch also suggested that he had a liaison with the Trump administration, speaking with an individual named “Jason,” who was offscreen during the video recording.

“I’ve already walked the Capitol grounds today with — what’s your name — a very skilled gentleman called Jason — that’s his real name — but Jason’s obviously worked on the campaign and done other things for the administration, and he’s involved in a lot of different things,” Couch said. “He’s kind of one of those guys, he’s the straw that stirs the drink in a lot of these events you see going on around the country.

“And so, we’ve walked the Capitol grounds,” Couch continued. “We’re checking security protocols. We have guys on the ground doing ahead-of-the-game surveillance from different groups that we’re in coordination and talks with. There’s a lot of things happening here. A lot of moving parts. You will be safe. We need to send a loud message that we need you in Washington DC.”

While declaring that “God is leading the charge, and patriots are heeding his call,” and that “the time to fight is now,” Couch added a disclaimer. “These are peaceful events,” he said. “There is strength in numbers. And let them hear our voices.”

Couch could not be reached for comment for this story.

In a speech about the January 6th anniversary on Wednesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland offered a few clues about what’s in store for the FBI’s ongoing investigations into the Jan. 6 assault.

“The actions we have have taken thus far will not be our last,” he said. “The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”

Garland acknowledged the frustration among some members of the public who are anxious to see more high-profile arrests.

“Because January 6th was an unprecedented attack on the seat of our democracy, we understand that there is broad public interest in our investigation,” the attorney general said. “We understand that there are questions about how long the investigation will take, and about what exactly we are doing. Our answer is, and will continue to be, the same answer we would give with respect to any ongoing investigation: as long as it takes and whatever it takes for justice to be done — consistent with the facts and the law.”

Garland’s remarks were ambiguous as to whether the Justice Department will be reluctant to hold Trump and his associates accountable out of a concern that the department’s actions would be viewed as politicized.

“The central norm is that, in our criminal investigations, there cannot be different rules depending on one’s political party or affiliation,” he said. “There cannot be different rules for friends and foes. And there cannot be different rules for the powerful and the powerless.”

Several of the most violent rioters expressed intentions to storm the Capitol in advance of Jan. 6.

Lucas Denney, the president of the Patriot Boys militia in Texas, shared a meme on Facebook on Dec. 30, 2020 that read, “Occupy Congress: If they won’t hear us, they will fear us. The great betrayal is over. Election fraud is treason. January 6, 2021.

Michael John Lopatic, a resident of Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, made a Facebook post on Jan. 1, 2021 reading, “Assemble on the Capital January 6th, 2021,” according to the government. “United we stand, go forth and fight.”

On Dec. 31, 2020, Charles Bradford Smith, who rode in a car with his friend Marshall Neefe from nearby Cumberland County to DC, reportedly discussed the election results and their plans for the upcoming rally in DC.\

“I can’t wait for DC!” Smith wrote to Neefe, according to the government charging document. “Apparently it’s going to be WAY bigger lol. If it’s big enough we should all just storm the buildings… Seriously. I was talking to my Dad about how easy that would be with enough people.”

Ronald Sandlin, who traveled to DC with his friends Nate DeGrave and Josiah Colt, recorded a livestream before the attack, according to the government, in which he “urge[d] other patriots” to “take the Capitol.” He also reportedly told his followers on social media that “we are going to be there back by one o’clock when it is action time; it is game time.”

According to the government, Sandlin and DeGrave wrestled with officers to get inside the Senate gallery. The government accuses Sandlin of striking one of the officers in the back of the head, while alleging that DeGrave shouted at the rioters to “take laptops, paperwork, take everything.”

Nicholas Languerand, a QAnon follower whose phone reportedly included pictures of Proud Boys leaders, the logo of the Three Percenter movement and pictures of Nazi iconography, is accused of throwing a traffic bollard and other objects at police officers guarding the entrance of the tunnel at the Lower West Terrace. Federal agents who searched the Vermont trailer where Languerand had once lived with his grandparents reportedly found a notebook “containing militaristic language seemingly referring to Washington, DC,” according to a detention order signed by Judge John D. Bates.

“One page was headed ‘(Obj Washington) (N&J),’ followed by what appears to be coded language, examples of which include ‘diamond — road (waiting point),’ ‘emerald — breach point,’ and ‘iron — N. obj cleared,’” Judge Bates wrote.

Despite Languerand’s apparent interest in the Proud Boys and Three Percenters, Judge Bates concluded that there was no evidence that he coordinated with other participants before Jan. 6, 2021, or on the day of the assault on the Capitol.

Charging documents for other defendants show startling consistency in statements expressing motivation to harm lawmakers from individuals who stormed the Capitol, some with links to extremist organizations and others who appear to have traveled to DC alone or with one or two friends.

Mark Mazza, a disabled Army veteran from Indiana, brought a Taurus revolver loaded with deadly hollow-point bullets that he apparently dropped during a scuffle with a police sergeant on the Capitol steps.

Mazza reportedly told an FBI agent who interviewed him in March 2021 that the only thing he regretted about going to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 is that he didn’t see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, suggesting that he would have harmed her.

“I was glad I didn’t because you’d be here for another reason, and I told my kids that if they show up, I’m surrendering, nope they can have me, because I may go down a hero,” Mazza continued, according to the government’s motion for pre-trial detention.

Guy Reffitt, from northeastern Texas, is accused of continuing to plan for violence after defying Capitol police officers attempting to hold the line on the Capitol steps.

During a Zoom call with fellow Three percenter militia members four days after the Jan. 6 assault, Reffitt reportedly told them: “I had my Spartan Armor plates, my kidney plates, and my .40 on my side.”

Then, according to the government, Reffitt said his objective had been to kidnap House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“I said, ‘Well I’m not done till we drag them out screaming and kicking. I don’t care if Pelosi’s head is hitting every step while I drag her by her ankles — she’s coming out,’” he said.

Many of the rioters who made it to the front lines at the Capitol on Jan. 6 either had extremist ties or had actively coordinated with others in advance.

Gina Bisignano, a salon owner from Beverly Hills, Calif. who is linked to the Patriots 45 MAGA Gang, and Ryan Nichols, the Marine Corps veteran who contemplated joining the Proud Boys, both found themselves in the Senate conference room adjacent to the tunnel at the Lower West Terrace.

Wearing a Louis Vuitton sweater and with her makeup smeared from teargas, Bisignano can be seen in videos livestreamed by other rioters standing on the ledge of the window to the conference room.

“Everybody, we need gas masks… we need weapons… we need strong, angry patriots to help our boys,” she told the other rioters, speaking into a bullhorn. “They don’t want to leave. We need protection.”

The government alleges that seconds after Bisignano made that statement, a rioter “begins striking at officers in the police line with what appears to be a baseball bat.” Based on the time, place and conduct, the individual described in Bisignano’s court documents is consistent with Edward Lang.

Later, according to the government, Bisignano entered the window through a hole.

“We need Americans,” she said, continuing to address the rioters through the bullhorn. “Come on guys. We need patriots! You guys, it’s the way in. We need some people. We need some people.”

The government has described Bisignano as “an instigator, a director, and an active participant in the violence, destruction and obstruction at the Capitol” on Jan. 6, 2021.

Nichols, who is alleged to have dispersed pepper spray at officers, was one of the first rioters to climb through the broken window, according to the government.

After going inside the conference room and using furniture to barricade doors, Nichols reportedly came back out and climbed onto the ledge, grabbing a bullhorn and waving a crowbar.

“Get in the building!” he yelled. “Get in the building! This is your country. Get in the building! This is your country! Get in the building! We will not be told no!

“If you have a weapon, you need to get your weapon!” Nichols continued. “If you have a weapon, you need to get your weapon!”

Daniel Rodriguez, a 38-year-old resident of Panorama City, Calif. and member of the Patriots 45 MAGA Gang had tased Officer Michael Fanone in the back of the neck when he was dragged out into the mob. Now, along with two other members of Patriots 45 MAGA Gang — Edward Badalian and a man known only as #SwedishScarf — climbed through the window into the conference room.

After the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Rodriguez, Badalian and #SwedishScarf visited Bisignano at her home in Beverly Hills, according to the indictment against the three men. (Although Bisignano is charged separately, she is identified as “Person One” in the Patriots 45 MAGA gang indictment.) According to the government. #SwedishScarf unplugged Bisignano’s Amazon Alexa devices and gestured for her to keep quiet, and then wrote in a notebook: “I want to help you delete everything and to transfer the files to a secure hard drive.”

Rodriguez told the FBI after his arrest in March 2021 that he was radicalized by watching InfoWars, the show hosted by conspiracy-monger Alex Jones. After Jan. 6, Badalian and Bisignano would appear on the show, and a slip by Bisignano appears to have helped authorities identify Badalian.

During an earlier period in his life, Rodriguez told the FBI he was hanging out with gang members in southern California. He started growing marijuana, but he “kept getting robbed” and he felt like he never fit in.

“And then Trump — and I was listening to InfoWars, and I was, like, getting patriotic, and I was — and I ended up leaving all those people behind me, and I ended up being homeless,” Rodriguez told the FBI. “I became — I put myself to be homeless because I didn’t want to deal with those people anymore.”

Rodriguez liked what he heard from then-candidate Donald Trump in 2015, and he went to a campaign office in Whittier to sign up as a volunteer. He wound up knocking on doors and making phone calls.

“I was homeless and I went — and I called my mom and I told her I needed somewhere to stay,” Rodriguez continued. “I needed to come back home and move in. And I was already — Trump was already, like — this is 2015, and I was already into InfoWars and Alex Jones, and he’s backing Trump. And I’m like, ‘All right, man. This is it. I’m going to — this is — I’m going to fight for this. I’m going to do — I want to do this.”

Rodriguez started attending rallies where right-wingers protested COVID measures and clashed with antifascists in August 2021, mostly in Beverly Hills, but sometimes also in Huntington Beach.

“We’re learning about, like, Jade Helm and the FEMA camps, you know?” Rodriguez told the FBI. “Why are they ordering all these body bags and what’s all this military movement and, you know, these plastic coffins and, like, there’s just hundreds of thousands, you know? So, it started, like, triggering reactions in my mind that, like, you know, this country is — I mean, that’s how Rome fell. Rome fell from within, right?”

One of Rodriguez’s statements to the FBI suggests he wasn’t someone with the resources to get to DC on his own. After Rodriguez told the FBI that he and his friends expected Trump supporters to be “rounded up” after the election, one of the agents asked him what he would have done to defend himself.

“Well, there’s not much I could’ve done,” Rodriguez responded. “I mean, I don’t have a — I’m not financially stable that I couldn’t be home. I don’t really have anywhere to go. So, you’re saying, like — I could’ve been homeless or living in a tent or something.” He told the agents he put about $100 towards the van trip from California to DC.

“What were your thoughts at the Capitol when you tasered Officer Fanone or when you entered the Capitol building?” one of the agents asked Rodriguez during the interrogation.

“I thought that we were going to save this — I thought we were going to do something,” Rodriguez responded. “I thought that it was not going to end — happen like that. I thought that Trump was going to stay president and they were going to find all this crooked stuff and we were going to — I mean, we found out that — we thought we did something good.

“We were getting Nancy — somebody was — it was rumored that Nancy Pelosi got her laptop stolen and that they found all this evidence on it and it was a secret plan,” he continued. “We were like — it was, like, a — it was a — were a distraction. We were put there to go distract and so somebody can go get Pelosi’s laptop and then get all the intel.

“And then we could just bust everything and find the truth and it’ll all be exposed and we’ll see that she’s corrupt or some kind of evidence,” Rodriguez said. “And we thought we were being — we were part of a bigger thing. We thought we were being sued as part of a plan to save the country, to save America, save the Constitution, and the election, the integrity.”

This story was updated at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 6 to reflect that Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio said through his lawyer that he did not speak to Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs in the runup to Jan. 6, 2021.