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Who were they? Records reveal Donald Trump fans who stormed US Capitol

They came from across America, marching on Washington in support of his false claim that the Nov election was stolen and to stop the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden as the victor.

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Donald Trump | US Capitol attack | Republican Party

AP  |  Washington 

US Capitol

They came from across America, summoned by President to march on Washington in support of his false claim that the November election was stolen and to stop the congressional certification of Democrat as the victor.

Big protest in DC on January 6th, Trump tweeted a week before Christmas.

Be there, will be wild!

The insurrectionist mob that showed up at the presidents behest and stormed the US Capitol was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including officials, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, members of the military and adherents of the QAnon myth that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals. Records show that some were heavily armed and included convicted criminals, such as a Florida man recently released from prison for attempted murder.

The Associated Press reviewed social media posts, voter registrations, court files and other public records for more than 120 people either facing criminal charges related to the January 6 unrest or who, going maskless amid the pandemic, were later identified through photographs and videos taken during the melee.

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.

If the reports are true, Gaetz said on the House floor just hours after the attack, 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 DAntuono, the assistant director in charge of the FBIs Washington field office, told reporters that investigators had seen no indication antifa activists were disguised as Trump supporters in Wednesdays riot.

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 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.

As the mob smashed through doors and windows to invade the Capitol, a loud chant went up calling for the hanging of Vice President Mike Pence, the recent target of a Trump Twitter tirade for not subverting the Constitution and overturning the legitimate vote tally. Outside, a wooden scaffold had been erected on the National Mall, a rope noose dangling at the ready.

So far, at least 90 people have been arrested on charges ranging from misdemeanor curfew violations to felonies related to assaults on police officers, possessing illegal weapons and making death threats against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Among them was Lonnie Leroy Coffman, 70, an Alabama grandfather who drove to Washington to attend Trumps Save America Rally in a red GMC Sierra pickup packed with an M4 assault rifle, multiple loaded magazines, three handguns and 11 Mason jars filled with homemade napalm, according to court filings.

The truck was found during a security sweep involving explosives-sniffing dogs after two pipe bombs were found and disarmed Wednesday near the national headquarters of the Republican and Democratic parties.

Coffman was arrested that evening when he returned to the truck carrying a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun and a .22-caliber derringer pistol in his pockets.

Federal officials said Coffman is not suspected of planting the pipe bombs, though he was charged with having Molotov cocktails in the bed of his truck.

His grandson, Brandon Coffman, told the AP on Friday his grandfather was a Republican who had expressed admiration for Trump at holiday gatherings.

He said he had no idea why Coffman would show up in the nations capital armed for civil war.

Also facing federal charges is Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., a Georgia man who in the wake of the election had protested outside the home of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump had publicly blamed for his loss in the state. Meredith drove to Washington last week for the Save America rally but arrived late because of a problem with the lights on his trailer, according to court filings that include expletive-laden texts.

Headed to DC with a (s-) ton of 5.56 armor-piercing ammo, he texted friends and relatives on Jan. 6, adding a purple devil emoji, according to court 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 once again added a purple devil emoji, and wrote he might hit her with his truck instead.

Im 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 is white, then texted a photo of himself in blackface. Im gonna walk around DC FKG with people by yelling Allahu ak Bar randomly.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mon, January 11 2021. 21:25 IST
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