West Virginia GOP Legislator Charged In Capitol Riot
Reprinted with permission from American Independent
At least one Republican state lawmaker has been arrested and federally charged as part of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Department of Justice announced on Friday.
West Virginia state Del. Derrick Evans filmed himself inside of the Capitol, breaking into the building with the mob of Trump supporters.
He's one of 12 GOP state lawmakers who were either at the rally where Trump incited the mob to head to the Capitol, or were in the Capitol itself as part of the insurrection — according to a list compiled by FiveThirtyEight's Nathaniel Rakich.
Some of the lawmakers claimed they were not part of the violence. But their presence ties them to the horrific events the country watched unfold and is leading to calls for their resignations.
The Republican lawmakers are:
Tennessee state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver: At 6:41 p.m., as law enforcement was still working to clear the building of the violent insurrectionists who broke in as part of a now-failed coup attempt, Weaver tweeted a photo from earlier in the day at the Capitol praising the mob.
"Epic and historic day gathering with fellow Patriots from all over the nation DC," Weaver tweeted.
Weaver admitted to the Tennessean that she was "in the thick of it" and falsely claimed that there "wasn't any violence going on here."
But Trump supporters were captured on video assaulting journalists and law enforcement officials by countless media outlets and individuals at the scene, in reports that traveled around the world. One Capitol Police officer is now dead from injuries sustained trying to protect the hundreds of lawmakers and workers inside, in addition to four others who died.
Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase: A leading contender to be the Republican nominee for governor of Virginia, Chase posted an image of the pro-Trump mob gathered outside of the Capitol to Facebook, writing, "DC Rally! SHARE what the media won't show you!"
She later defended the violent coup attempt in a video, saying, "I will tell you that while I do support peaceful protest, that I believe that we the people have had enough, and when you back good people, law-abiding citizens, into the corner, they will push back when you give them no other options."
The Virginia Democratic Party called Chase's comments "despicable" and "what the whole @VA_GOPhas become."
West Virginia state Del. Derrick Evans: Like Weaver, Evans was one of the insurrectionists who illegally entered the Capitol.
The New York Timesreported that in a since-deleted video posted to his Facebook Page, Evans screams "We did it!" upon entering the building, adding "Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!"
Evans also ignored demands from Capitol Police officers to leave, shouting "Patriots inside, baby!" according to the Times.
He has been charged by the Department of Justice for his role and is now facing calls to resign.
Michigan state Rep. Matt Maddock: Maddock and his wife, Meshawn Maddock, spoke at the rally before the violent insurrection took place.
Meshawn retweeted a video of the mob walking toward the building and said it was "the most incredible crowd and sea of people I've ever walked with."
A local Michigan Patch site reported that Meshawn claimed she left before the violence started.
Missouri state Rep. Justin Hill: Hill, a former police officer, did not attend his own swearing-in at the Missouri state Capitol to attend the rally and later the violent insurrection at the Capitol.
In a post on Facebook, Hill claimed that he went to the Capitol but left "immediately" when he heard that someone had been shot and suggested that the violent insurrectionists inside were not Trump supporters — a lie right-wing media and some Republican lawmakers are pushing.
Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano: A local news outlet reported that Mastriano led a bus of Trump supporters down to the rally, where Trump called on his supporters to "fight" and march to the Capitol, where the violence began.
Mastriano told a local news outlet that, "At no point did we enter the Capitol building, at no point did we tread upon the Capitol steps, and at no point did we tread upon police lines. Obviously, we're there together and we don't want to get caught in any violence, so we left out of there."
Nevertheless, his Democratic colleagues are calling for his resignation.
"Doug Mastriano is a sitting senator who actively organized a violent insurrection in an attempt to prevent a peaceful transfer of power. Sen. Corman & GOP leadership should call for his immediate resignation. If not, he should be removed from all committee or leadership positions," Democratic state Sen. Tim Kearney tweeted.
Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem: Finchem tweeted on Jan. 1 that he was traveling to Washington, D.C., to "fight for President @realDonaldTrump," adding that he was going to be at a protest at 10 a.m. at the Capitol building, where the insurrection occurred.
Finchem later tweeted a photo of the mob on the steps of the Capitol with the caption, "What happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud."
That language appears to directly support the insurrection that took place.
Finchem later complained that he could not get food delivered to his hotel room after attending the violent insurrection because of law enforcement activity.
Alaska state Rep. David Eastman: Eastman was at the rally earlier in the day where Trump incited the mob but claimed that he did not go to the Capitol, the Anchorage Daily Newsreported.
Still, Eastman traveled from Alaska all the way to Washington, D.C., to attend a rally, whose sole purpose was to egg on the effort to force Republican members of Congress to block President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
Eastman told the Daily News that he thought the riot and break-in was "pretty terrible."
Democratic state Rep. Sara Hannan told the outlet that she heard from constituents who wanted Eastman to be expelled for attending the rally, but said he would not be because he had a First Amendment right to attend a rally.
"If his picture shows up having breached and vandalized the Capitol buildings ... then I think there should be repercussions," Hannan told the Daily News. "But as far as his right to protest, that's an American's right."
Incoming Nevada state Assemblywoman Annie Black: A local news outlet in Nevada reported that Black was at the Capitol when the violence broke out but did not go past the security line "to avoid being associated with the mob."
Like Eastman, Black traveled a long distance to attend a rally that was specifically trying to pressure Congress to overturn a free and fair election. Yet she condemned the violence, later trying to blame it on "rogue Trump supporters or outside agitators" — the same kind of blame-shifting rhetoric that has been seen on right-wing media outlets.
"Whoever these people were, whether they were rogue Trump supporters or outside agitators, they should be identified, arrested, charged, prosecuted, and severely punished," Black told 8NewsNow.
Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller: Miller posted a video to Facebook at the rally before the mob breached the Capitol.
He used violent rhetoric, calling the rally a "great cultural war to see if we will survive, whether if we will remain a free people."
He spoke of the "dangerous Democrat terrorists" who are "trying to destroy our country."
Miller's wife is Rep. Mary Miller, also a Republican, who is now facing calls to resign after she spoke at the rally and said "Hitler was right" to recruit youth into his Nazi movement.
Outgoing Georgia Rep. Vernon Jones: Jones attended the rally that preceded the violent insurrection, where he officially declared that he was leaving the Democratic Party and joining the GOP.
"Moments ago, I announced that I am officially joining the Republican Party," Jones tweeted. "Now more than ever, the Republican Party is in desperate need of leaders that know how to fight. I know how to fight."
Jones took a selfie at the march to the Capitol with Finchem, one of the other GOP lawmakers at the insurrection.
Kern went to the rally where Trump fired up his supporters to go to the Capitol. He tweeted a photo of himself outside of security fencing, and it's unclear whether he went inside.
Kern lost reelection in 2020.
Former Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone: Saccone is no longer in the state Legislature, but he was also part of the violent mob at the Capitol.
He said in a since-deleted Facebook post that, "We are storming the capitol. Our vanguard has broken through the barricades. We will save this nation. Are u with me?"
Saccone lost a special election to Democratic Rep. Connor Lamb in 2018. Saccone went on to lose a GOP primary in a different United States House district in Pennsylvania later that year.
The violent insurrection that occurred on Wednesday was spurred on by Trump himself.
Trump called for Republicans to fight 20 times in his rambling one-hour-and-13 minute-long speech, in which he called on his supporters to march to the Capitol to "give our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help, we're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country," according to a transcript.
Trump is likely to be impeached for a second time over the incitement.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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