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Tag: capitol insurrection

Does Rupert Murdoch Have The Guts To Take Down Trump?

If the stunning midterm results bear any message for Republicans, it is that Donald Trump continues to poison their party’s prospects, as he has done in every election since his fluke Electoral College squeaker six years ago. Nobody sees Trump more clearly now than Rupert Murdoch, the party’s would-be kingmaker, whose media empire trained its artillery on him after the election fiasco.

In classic New York Post style, Murdoch’s flagship tabloid lampooned its former object of affection on page one as “Trumpty Dumpty,” with a suitably humiliating illustration and accompanying columns that blamed him for the midterm failure and urged him to forget about running for president again. On the same day, Murdoch’s upscale Wall Street Journal editorial page whacked Trump as the midterm’s “biggest loser,” pinning on him the GOP defeats in 2018, 2020, 2021, and now 2022-- and suggesting that maybe, finally, Republicans are “sick and tired of losing.”

Meanwhile, on Fox News Channel, the Murdoch network that once served as state TV for the Trump campaign and White House, the post-election commentary was so shocking to Trump—man bites dog--that he snapped back on his Truth Social platform. “For me, Fox News was always gone, even in 2015-16 when I began my journey,” he complained with typical dishonesty. “But now they’re really gone.”

As Erik Wemple noted in the Washington Post, we’ve watched this melodrama unfold more than once already, most recently last summer after the House Select Committee’s devastating hearings, when the Post and the Journal both denounced Trump’s incitement of the January 6 insurrection. The media mogul has never liked Trump, whom he regards as an intellectual inferior and a business fraud. But the problem, as Murdoch has learned, is that Trump’s mass cult following can affect Fox’s ratings by turning to its competitor Newsmax.

Despite his current apparent enthusiasm for flavor-of-the-month Ron DeSantis, Murdoch and his minions will of course crawl back if the Florida governor’s scant appeal fizzles away. But what would Rupert do if he had the testicular fortitude to rid the Republican Party of that meddlesome mountebank Trump?

If Rupert at all means what his publications now say, he must direct their fire as he does whenever he pursues a political vendetta. Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, among many others, know exactly how that goes.

If Murdoch is serious and not just striking a frivolous pose, the test for him is clear. To put the stake in Trump, Murdoch must at once instruct his editors and producers, his writers and TV personalities, to desist from undermining the myriad investigations into the former president’s alleged crimes – and instead lend support to those probes and publicize their ruinous revelations.

In his past feuds with political figures, the News Corp boss (and those who do his bidding) have never hesitated to fabricate or fib. This time, however, there is no need for his trademark journalistic malpractice. The Murdoch media could do something completely new and different -- real journalism that accurately reports the current federal and state investigations of Trump and his associates, and editorially encourages prosecution to uphold the rule of law.

Murdoch is mean and reactionary, but he isn’t stupid. He is well aware that the Trump Organization has acted fraudulently for decades, as shown in the evidence compiled by New York Attorney General Letitia James. He has heard Trump’s taped conversation with Brad Raffensperger, attempting to bully the Georgia secretary of state into fixing the 2020 election for him by “finding 11,780 votes.” Murdoch understands the wider conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election, not least because individuals on Fox News were privy to the coup as it unfolded. He has seen the FBI photos of top-secret documents that Trump stole from the White House and took to Mar-a-Lago.

Knowing all that, the old press lord must dictate a course correction to his corps of obedient lackeys and get on board with the investigations. He would find himself in familiar company, from hardcore conservative Rep. Liz Cheney to Bill Kristol, the Never Trump neoconservative who edited the Weekly Standard magazine when Murdoch owned it.

Chances that this will actually happen are vanishingly small. But unless he backs the investigations that could haul Trump and his gang before the bar of justice, Murdoch’s current criticism will be exposed as cheap talk and nothing more.

Murdoch has now set the test for himself. Will he back down as he did after blasting Trump over the January 6 insurrection? Will he again prove to be a blowhard and a weakling? The whole world is watching, Rupert.

Oath Keepers Sent Promise Of Violence To Trump After January 6

Four days after the insurrection on January 6, 2021, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, extremist leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, had a secret meeting in the parking lot of an electronics store in Texas.

There, a witness told the court at his sedition trial, Rhodes penned a message to then-President Trump warning of “combat here on US soil” if the lame-duck leader didn’t “use the power of the President” to invoke the Insurrection Act, call up paramilitary groups, and arrest lawmakers who resisted the coup.

“If you don’t, then Biden/Kamala will turn all that power on you, your family,” Rhodes wrote Trump in a message prosecutors showed Wednesday. “You and your children will die in prison.”

Rhodes typed the invective in the phone of trial witness Jason Alpers, identified in court as a military veteran and co-founder of Allied Security Operations Group, a cyber security firm that colluded with Trump allies, including crazed “Kraken” lawyer Sidney Powell, to spread lies about voter fraud in the 2020 elections.

On the stand, Alpers testified he had “indirect” access to Trump’s “Inner circle,” which was why Rhodes wanted to meet him. Rhodes, Oath Keepers lawyer Kelly SoRelle, and Joshua James, an Oath Keeper who pled guilty to seditious conspiracy in March, were present in that meeting, FBI agent Jennifer Banks told the court.

Prosecutors have presented reams of evidence — many of which were Rhodes’ speech — to the jury portraying the paramilitary extremist as an obsessed Trump superfan ready to do anything to keep Biden out of the White House, for fear the Democrat would execute Republicans and destroy the country that voters elected him to govern.

“You must do as Lincoln did,” Rhodes wrote in the Notes app of Alpers’ phone. "He arrested congressmen, state legislators, and issued a warrant for SCOTUS Chief Justice Taney. Take command like Washington would.”

Urging Trump to implement the Insurrection Act — a federal law that empowers a sitting U.S. president to deploy the military to quash a domestic uprising against the government — Rhodes continued: “You must use the Insurrection Act and use the power of the President to stop him. And all of us veterans will support you and so will the vast majority of the military.”

“I am here for you and so are all my men. We will come help you if you need us. Military and police. And so will your millions of supporters,” Rhodes added.

Alarmed that such “extreme ideologies” would damage his “credibility,” Alpers said he didn’t deliver the message to Trump but turned it and a secretly recorded audio of the encounter to the FBI.

“[Sending the message] would have wrapped me into agreeing with that ideology in some way, which I did not,” Alpers said in court. “I didn’t want to get involved."

After typing the ominous warning, Rhodes pivoted to a discussion to expand on his message, which Alpers told the court he secretly recorded on a thumb drive-shaped recording device.

Prosecutors played that audio for the jury, during which Rhodes could be heard telling Alpers that there would be “combat here on US soil no matter what” if Trump handed Biden the reins of power.

When Alpers denounced the storming of the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters and said he didn’t want a civil war, Rhodes expressed regret: had he known Trump wouldn’t invoke the Insurrection Act, he and his band of neo-fascist extremists would have “brought rifles” and “fixed it right there and then.”

“If he’s not going to do the right thing, and he’s just gonna let himself be removed illegally, then we should have brought rifles,” Rhodes ranted in the recording. “We could have fixed it right then and there. I’d hang fucking [House Speaker] Pelosi from the lamppost.”

Already, Pelosi’s husband is in the hospital after his skull was fractured by a hoax-peddling Trump fanatic who broke into the Pelosi family’s San Francisco home in search of the speaker.

Rhodes called the Capitol riot a “good thing” and warned of mass felony murder charges for everyone who stormed the halls of Congress “... because someone died,” according to the Washington Post, to which SoRelle audibly agreed, saying, “I know it’s gonna happen.”

Rhodes and four of his co-conspirators — Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins, and Thomas Caldwell — face up to twenty years behind bars if found guilty of the seditious conspiracy charges levied against them by the U.S. government.

Prosecutors are expected to rest their case on Thursday, but their arguments, supported by a litany of evidence, as well as the outcome of this highly-publicized trial, are expected to set a precedent for the December seditious conspiracy trail of another far-right militia: the Proud boys.

Raskin Hints Fresh Revelations About Roger Stone In January 6 Hearing (VIDEO)

A member of the House Select Committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), suggested Friday that the congressional panel might have some shockers about convicted MAGA felon Roger Stone under wraps for the American public as the committee enters the last months of its investigation, according to CBS News.

The suggestion followed a Politico report Friday that select committee aides traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, in August to watch portions of over 170 hours of documentary footage recorded by a Danish documentary crew that covered Stone for two years, including on January 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump supporters breached the halls of congress to overturn to Joe Biden’s victory.

According to the Washington Post — the first to report on the substance of the footage — the crew, known as “The Ark,” tracked Stone as he covertly aided former President Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, capturing footage for their forthcoming film A Storm Foretold.

Although the select committee aides’ findings from the footage remain a mystery, Raskin — who once described Stone as someone “interfacing with the underworld of domestic violence extremists” — told CBS News journalist Robert Costa in an interview on Friday that “there might be some clues that surface from the new information we got there.”

Although Raskin refused to divulge details of the select committee’s upcoming public hearing on Wednesday, he let slip to Costa that Stone “saw where things were going,” CBS News noted in its report.

Stone dismissed the select committee’s aides’ trip as a wild goose chase in a statement to Politico before the paper aired its report. “While the committee investigators may find the documentary film footage entertaining, they will find no evidence of wrongdoing,” he wrote.

“I did exercise my First Amendment right at a legally permitted rally on January 5 to question the many anomalies and irregularities in the 2020 election,” he added.

After Politico’s report went live, Stone lashed out at the publication on Trump’s failing social media platform, Truth Social, writing, “A fresh load of BS to be delivered Wednesday," Stone predicted. "Any claim or assertion that I knew in advance about, participated in or condoned any illegal act on January 6 is categorically false. The campaign of 'guilt by association' is obviously going to continue."

Stone went on to attack Raskin and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a popular target for Republican slander over his prominent role in the 45th president’s first impeachment. “Will this fake pasted up BS never end? Raskin is a congenital liar and con-man like [Adam] Schiff," he wrote.

According to the Post, the Ark crew captured unsettling moments in its time shadowing Stone, including when the ruthless Republican operative nicknamed his staffer, a person of color, “Mongoloid” and once made reference to “the Negroes.”

In February 2021, ABC News released footage showing Stone in the company of members of Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group — some of whom have pled guilty to seditious conspiracy — on the morning of January 6, 2021.

After pleading the Fifth Amendment multiple times in a deposition by select committee investigators last year, Stone said that the notion that “because I know members of the Proud Boys and came in contact with members of the Oath Keepers, means I must have had some advance knowledge of the illegal activities of some of their members on January 6th” was false.

According to Politico, the Ark crew took photos of Stone using his phone, “which showed contacts via an encrypted app with Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes.”

Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, was sentenced to more than three years on several felony counts, including lying to Congress, but he was pardoned by Trump two weeks before January 6.

Child Abuser, Neo-Nazi Among January 6 Defendants Who Keep Criming

It’s been over 20 months since the January 6 insurrection — an unprecedented breach by irate Trump supporters that caused $1.5 million in damages to the Capitol building and grounds — but the damage to American democracy is still being tallied.

The Department of Justice has charged over 900 people with crimes in connection with the Capitol riot, several dozen of whom are still locked up and awaiting trial. Thirty of these rioters are currently sitting in a Washington, D.C., jail., CBS News reported Friday.

As the FBI sifts through video footage, social media posts, and public tips in search of those who have escaped justice thus far, a rising number of indicted rioters have been re-arrested for gun, drug, or domestic abuse-related crimes, a CBS News review of Justice Department court filings showed.

Neo-Nazi Navy Reservist

One such instance is the case of Hatchet Speed, a Navy reservist from McLean, Virginia, who allegedly stormed the Capitol with the Proud Boys, an alt-right paramilitary group; bought dozens of firearms after January 6; and talked of how to “wipe out” Jews.

Prosecutors described Speed, who was arrested on June 22 and charged for his involvement in the Capitol breach, as a “heavily armed Nazi sympathizer” with “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) clearance,” according to the Washington Post.

Prosecutors charged that Speed blamed “Antifa” for breaking the Capitol building’s windows; accused then-Vice President Mike Pence of betrayal in rhetoric that mirrored former President Trump’s incendiary tweets against his number two at the time; and made threats against Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Months after, prosecutors brought more charges against him: that he “espoused the use of violence to further his anti-government and anti-Semitic ideologies” in statements to an undercover FBI agent — and that he purchased $50,000 worth of firearms in a fit of “panic” buying, amassing a weapons stash that included rifles, shotguns, pistols, revolvers, and even silencers.

Speed, prosecutors also alleged in charging documents, sympathized “with domestic terrorists Eric Rudolph and Ted Kaczynski,” backed “jihadist” efforts to “wipe out” Jews, and called Adolf Hitler “one of the best people that's ever been on this earth.”

Speed’s arraignment is set for September 22, and the federal public defender assigned to him has declined all requests for comment.

'Sexual Battery Of A Minor'

Authorities also arrested another rioter from Norfolk, Virginia, who illegally entered the U.S. Capitol with a “Captain America-style shield,” on domestic violence charges months after his arrest for January 6, CBS News noted in its report.

The rioter, Kene Brian Lazo, was sentenced to 45 days in jail after pleading guilty for his role in the Capitol siege. He admitted to illegally entering the Capitol and remaining for 30 minutes in Rotunda and senate chamber.

Prosecutors said that Lazo, donning a helmet, goggles, an American flag cape, and other tactical gear, stormed the Capitol building chanting “our house!”

“[I]f shit his the fan [I] will get some dead guys [sic] gear and guns if it comes down to it,” Lazo posted on Facebook, according to prosecutors.

In his hearing before U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper, Lazo sniffled and cried so loudly that the judge asked if he needed some to recompose himself, to which Lazo replied, “I’m okay, Your Honor, I’m okay,” according to LawandCrime.

Months later, Lazo was re-arrested on more serious charges: “rape, aggravated sexual battery of a minor under 13 years of age, assault and battery of a family member, and other charges,” LawandCrime noted in its report.

Four Vials Of Testosterone

CBS News also reported on the arrest of Elias Nick Costianes of Nottingham, Maryland, a Capitol rioter who federal agents alleged committed other offenses after executing a “Capitol riot warrant” at his home last February.

Federal agents found four guns in Costiane's home: “a 9mm pistol; a M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle; a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle; and a 12-gauge shotgun, as well as 9mm, .22 caliber, .223 caliber, and shotgun ammunition,” per a U.S. government press release. Two of the guns weren’t registered to the defendant.

Agents also found a hypodermic needle and four vials of Testosterone Enanthate, a controlled substance in the United States, in his Costianes home, per CBS.

Costiane will appear in court again in October for his Capitol riot case, where he stands accused of breaching the senate chamber’s second level.

Federal Grand Jury Summons Trump Aide To Testify On January 6 Planning

The focus of an overarching Justice Department investigation into the Capitol insurrection last year has shifted to members of Trump’s orbit, with a "senior adviser" to former President Trump the next in line to receive a subpoena.

That aide — 31-year-old William Russell, who served as a special assistant and deputy director of presidential advance operations for the Trump administration — was with the former president for a time on January 6, 2021. He left the White House with the previous administration and moved to Florida to continue working for Trump, one of a few former staffers to do so.

According to CBS News, FBI agents in Florida paid a visit the aide to Russell’s home on Wednesday morning for questioning but didn’t find anyone there. They contacted him afterward and served him a subpoena via email.

Representatives for the senior Trump adviser ignored requests to comment on the subpoena.

The subpoena — as the New York Times reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources — pertains to the grand jury investigation into the events that preceded the January 6, 2021 storming and ransacking of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.

Federal investigators have expanded their probe into the failed months-long campaign by Trump and his cronies to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 general elections.

Last week, Pat Cipollone, a former White House counsel, and Patrick Philbin, Cipollone's deputy, testified before the grand jury investigating Trump’s post-election efforts to cling to power. Cipollone and Philbin, multiple sources say, were in the room where key conversations around the former president’s election subversion efforts took place.

The grand jury has also heard testimony from two aides of former Vice President Mike Pence: Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, and Greg Jacob, Pence’s former general counsel.

For weeks after his loss, Trump and his allies peddled egregious claims of election fraud in an all-out assault on the integrity of the election, giving rise to the assault on Congress meant to stymie the certification of a democratically elected candidate.

Preceding the insurrection, the Big Lie was, in the weeks before the certification of Biden’s electoral victory, accompanied by an audacious plan by Trump and his allies to install a slate of fake electors subservient to Trump in seven battleground states to overturn Trump’s loss.

The fake elector scheme, proposals to seize voting machines, and an attempt to strong-arm the Department of Justice into investigating voter fraud conspiracies were part of the broad Republican-led effort to overturn Trump’s loss, the Times noted in its report.

The Department of Justice is also entangled with Trump in a separate case involving the former president’s mishandling of classified government documents. On Monday, the judge in that case, a Trump appointee, granted the former president’s request to have a special master review the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago and shockingly halted the government’s review of the classified documents and assessment of national security risks.

The Justice Department notified Judge Aileen Cannon on Thursday of its intention to appeal her ruling.

Jury Selection Advances In Bannon's Contempt Trial

Jury selection in the criminal contempt trial of Steve Bannon, a one-time adviser and strategist to former President Trump, which began Monday, is set to extend into a second day as attorneys round up the tedious process of selecting non-biased jurors.

Bannon was charged with two counts of contempt of Congress for his ten-month-long defiance of a subpoena issued by the bipartisan House panel probing the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol for his records and testimony.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols oversaw the selection of 22 tentative jurors — 12 men and 10 women — from an initial pool of 60 D.C.residents. The trial, which is expected to breeze through the court, will resume Tuesday morning, and lawyers for Bannon and the Justice Department will downsize the list to 14 jurors, two of which are alternates.

The often-laborious process of potential juror questioning unveiled stark assessments of the polarizing, Trump-allied defendant who vowed to make the criminal case a “misdemeanor from hell.”

Evan Corcoran, Bannon’s lawyer, pressed the juror candidates on their knowledge of his client, particularly whether they’ve written or said anything about Bannon and if they had opinions of the House Select Committee and its work. Many of the potential jurors admitted they’d heard little about the case, and some said they’d “taken in at least some of the select committee’s public hearings,” per CNN.

A juror candidate told Nichols that he’d find it “a challenge” to remain impartial. "I have formed an opinion about the case," the man said, looking towards Bannon. "The opinion is that Bannon is guilty." The acknowledgment saw the candidate promptly disqualified.

Another candidate was dismissed after deriding Bannon's pre-trial promise to “go full medieval” at the trial. “I felt that was a purely preposterous statement,” the male candidate said. “Pray for our enemies, because we’re going medieval on these people. We’re going to savage our enemies,” Bannon had declared on his “War Room” podcast Last Tuesday.

Although Bannon’s legal team had argued for a delay in the case at the pre-trial, citing the high coverage of the January 6 hearings, most of the would-be jurors said they hadn’t formed an opinion or knew little about the case.

Bannon attended the voir dire session mainly wearing black, but he never said a word in court, according to the Washington Post. It is also unclear whether the indefatigable Trump ally will testify in his own defense. Bannon lashed out at the select committees outside the courthouse, calling its hearings “a show trial.”

The committee presented evidence last week that Bannon and Trump spoke at least twice on January 5, 2021, the day before the Capitol assault. The committee also played a clip of Bannon saying on January 5 that "all hell is going to break loose tomorrow," remarks that the committee said he made after his first call with Trump.

Opening arguments in the trial are scheduled to begin Tuesday — soon after the number of jurors selected on Monday is whittled down to 14.

Bannon’s trial will go far in ascertaining Congress’ leverage when witnesses flout its subpoenas, as several Trump allies, including the former president himself, have done.

The select committee will hold its next prime-time hearing on Thursday night, and it is expected to hone in on Trump’s dereliction of duty on January 6.

House Homeland Security Committee Reaches Bipartisan Deal On Jan. 6 Commission

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Members of Congress have reached a deal on a commission that will probe the violent and deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol 128 days after a mob of Donald Trump supporters carried out the attack. The deal, reached by House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and ranking member John Katko (R-NY), was announced by Thompson.

The House is expected to vote on a bill that would establish the commission in the coming weeks, according to a report from CNBC.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Friday morning that he wanted the commission to look beyond the Capitol insurrection: "I know Nancy Pelosi played politics with this for a number of months, and you got to look at the buildup before, and what went on afterward, otherwise the commission is not worth it," he said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Congress has held multiple hearings on the events of the January 6 insurrection, when Trump supporters broke into the Capitol to demand lawmakers block certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory in the 2020 presidential election. Five people died as a result, and roughly 140 law enforcement officers were injured with everything from head trauma to burns.

However, the so-called National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex will not be made up of members of Congress or any currently serving government officials.

Instead, it will have ten members, five each appointed by Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress, who will be experts in key fields such as law enforcement, intelligence, counterterrorism, law, and civil rights.

The commission will have the power to subpoena documents and testimony related to the attack from relevant figures and government departments.

Thompson said in a statement announcing the deal on the commission:

Inaction — or just moving on — is simply not an option. The creation of this commission is our way of taking responsibility for protecting the U.S. Capitol. After all, the Capitol is not just a historic landmark; it is where our constituents come to see their democracy in action. As such, we owe it to the Capitol Police and all who enter our citadel of democracy to investigate the attack. The timing of this action is particularly poignant with this being National Police Week, when we honor those who gave their lives to protect us.

Democrats have been pushing for a commission for months.

However, Republican leaders were blocking a deal by demanding it also look into Black Lives Matter protests and antifa, which had nothing to do with the January 6 attack.

The GOP lost that battle: The deal reached by Thompson and Katko does not include BLM or antifa in the commission's charge.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said Republicans were blocking the commission because some GOP lawmakers may be implicated in the findings of the review.

McCarthy did not commit to voting for it. He reportedly said Friday that he wants to see the details and that he wants the commission to focus on more than just the events of January 6.

The commission is mandated to submit a final report to the president and Congress by the end of 2021.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Capitol Rioter Who Brought Gun On January 6 Said He Was Hunting Pelosi

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham and others on the far-right have been accusing Democrats of exaggerating the violence that occurred when Donald Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6. And they have dismissed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's January 6 select committee as overblown political theater. But according to Politico, 56-year-old Indiana resident Mark Mazza — one of the defendants charged with bringing a gun to the Capitol that day — has implied to investigators that he would have committed violence against Pelosi had he been able to get to her.

Politico's Kyle Cheney reports, "An Indiana man charged with carrying a loaded firearm to the Capitol on January 6 told investigators that if he had found Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 'you'd be here for another reason,' according to court documents posted over the weekend. Mark Mazza, 56, is the latest of about half a dozen January 6 defendants charged with bringing a gun to the Capitol. In this case, Mazza allegedly carried a Taurus revolver known as 'The Judge,' which is capable of firing shotgun shells — two of which were in the chamber, along with three hollow-point bullets. A Capitol Police sergeant obtained the weapon after allegedly fending off an assault from Mazza."

On March 29, according to Cheney, two investigators from the Capitol Police went to Mazza's home in Shelbyville, Indiana, where he told them, "I thought Nan and I would hit it off. 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."

Former President Trump has tried to paint the Capitol rioters as largely nonviolent, but Cheney points out that in fact, a variety of things were used as weapons on January 6.

"The mounting evidence has undercut claims by former President Donald Trump and his allies that the mob attacking the Capitol was unarmed," Cheney notes. "In addition to the growing number of firearms authorities suspect were carried onto Capitol grounds, rioters brought knives, axes, batons, tasers, bats, poles and even a crutch and hockey stick. Others stole police shields and used metal barricades and furniture as makeshift weapons. But Mazza's case is the most clear-cut yet of a loaded firearm on Capitol grounds that day."

Cheney continues, "Prosecutors obtained the gun from the alleged assailant himself and used its serial number to trace it back to him. They located Mazza after learning that on January 8, Mazza himself reported the gun stolen to local authorities. He told the Shelbyville police that it was taken from his car on January 5 while he was driving through Ohio. Mazza's report was entered into a national database, which Capitol Police accessed as they attempted to find the gun's owner."