Crime Fourth Capitol riot defendant charged with having firearms
Security, intelligence failures led to Jan. 6 insurrection: Bipartisan Senate report
A bipartisan Senate investigation of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection found security and intelligence failures at every level of government that led to the Capitol's breach The 95-page report, a product of a roughly five-month, joint probe by the Senate Homeland Security and Rules Committees, found significant breakdowns ranging "from federal intelligence agencies failing to warn of a potential for violence to a lack of planning and preparation by (U.S. Capitol Police) and law enforcement leadership." There was no overall operational or staffing plan for that fateful day, a total failure of leadership, according to the committees.
A fourth Capitol riot defendant was charged Thursday with firearms violations in connection with the January 6 attack. The new charges add weight to claims that rioters used weapons during the mob violence and come afterhave already been charged with wielding other "deadly or dangerous" weapons.
The defendant, Guy Reffitt, of Wylie, Texas, was charged with two new crimes in a superseding indictment Thursday, which alleged that he transported a rifle and a semi-automatic handgun to D.C. and that he carried the semi-automatic handgun while on U.S. Capitol grounds January 6.
Senate report on Capitol attack finds police need basic gear, better sharing of intel
WASHINGTON – A Senate report on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot recommends Congress empower the Capitol police chief to request help from the D.C. National Guard in emergencies and that officers receive regular training on handling civil disturbances and are provided basic protective gear including helmets, gloves and gas masks. The joint report from the Senate Rules and Homeland Security committees details the failure of law enforcement to fully understand the threat in the days leading up to the insurrection, when online posts warning of violence were deemed not credible by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.
Reffitt had already been facing three other charges for alleged obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted area and obstruction of justice. In the original affidavit filed when he was arrested in January, prosecutors said Reffitt had told his family that he'd brought his gun to D.C. and had "stormed the Capitol," but they hadn't previously charged him with a firearms violation.
Reffitt's wife told prosecutors he is a member of a "Three Percenters" militia — a group that likens present-day U.S. government to the oppression of British authorities during the Revolutionary war — and in an April court filing, the government said that Reffitt had spoken over Zoom with two other Three Percenter militia members on January 10, and told them he had been carrying a .40 firearm on his side January 6.
Senate report on Jan. 6 attack finds Capitol Police, intelligence agencies failed to relay threat posed by pro-Trump rioters
In the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, the day Congress was scheduled to meet to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis struggled to determine whether social media posts calling for supporters of former President Trump to go to the U.S. Capitol armed and prepared for violence amounted to a legitimate security threat or was simply “online bravado.” Ultimately,Ultimately, according to a Senate report released Tuesday, both DHS and the FBI concluded that such conversations were not credible and, as a result, neither agency issued an official threat assessment or intelligence bulletin to warn law enforcement about the potential for violence at the
After the attack, prosecutors also alleged Reffitt threatened his family when his son participated in an interview with the FBI. According to Reffitt's son, Reffitt told his kids that if they turned him in, they would be traitors, "and you know what happens to traitors… traitors get shot," he allegedly said.
He is the fourth Capitol riot defendant to be charged with a firearms violation, but he is the first to be charged under a statute that alleges he transported the firearms "intending" that they be used "unlawfully and in furtherance of a civil disorder." Of the three other riot defendants charged with firearms violations, court documents suggest that at least two of them were armed with guns during the mob attack on January 6.
One defendant, Christopher Alberts, faces charges for possession of a firearm on Capitol grounds or buildings. Police said in a criminal charging document that during the evening of January 6, as authorities were clearing the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Alberts was arrested with a loaded handgun and a spare magazine, along with a gas mask, pocket knife, a packaged military meal and a first aid kit. Authorities said there was one round in the handgun's chamber. Alberts has pleaded not guilty.
Ex-police chief, 5 others charged in Capitol riot conspiracy
At least some of the men charged are believed to have ties to the Three Percenters antigovernment extremist movement, according to court documents. They are accused of conspiring with one another in a plot to block the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. The U.S. Department of Justice has brought similar conspiracy cases against members of other far-right extremist groups, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, in its sweeping prosecution of the deadly Jan. 6 riot.Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.
Another, Lonnie Coffman, was found with a "large and unlawful" trove of weapons in his truck, which he had parked downtown. When Coffman returned to his vehicle the evening of January 6, authorities said he had also been carrying two additional loaded firearms, and a judge wrote in a court ruling that there was evidence he was armed while participating in riots near the Capitol.
Coffman has not been charged with carrying firearms during the riot, and he pleaded not guilty to the charges he faces for unlawful possession of firearms, high-capacity magazines and ammunition.
Another defendant, Cleveland Meredith, did not attend the rally at the Capitol January 6, but was arrested in D.C. the day after the attack with an assault-style rifle equipped with a telescopic sight, a Glock firearm with several high capacity magazines and over 2,500 rounds of ammunition — including at least 320 "armor-piercing" rounds.
He said he'd arrived too late to attend the rally, but the following day, authorities said he sent a text threatening to shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the head.
Fact-check: Fox News and Republican lawmakers push new false flag conspiracy that FBI orchestrated US Capitol insurrection
Fox News, right-wing websites and Republican lawmakers are promoting a new false flag conspiracy that the FBI orchestrated the deadly assault on the US Capitol. © Getty Images Fox News host Tucker Carlson The haywire theory originated from an article published Monday by Revolver News, a right-wing website. From there, it was picked up by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who used his opening segment on Tuesday night to slam the FBI, saying it played a role in the January 6 attack. Several Republican lawmakers quickly piled on.
While driving to Washington, D.C., on January 6, Meredith sent a text that said, "Hauling ass, 3.5 hours from target practice."
It is not clear how many may have carried firearms during the siege because the majority of riot defendants were not arrested the day of the attack, but rather, were tracked down at their homes or businesses weeks or months later. Reffitt's case stands alone, in that he was charged for firearm violations months after the attack. The other three defendants were arrested while they were still in D.C., and, according to the criminal complaints against them, all were found with firearms in their possession at the time.
In addition to those charged federally, at least five people were arrested in downtown D.C. on January 5 and 6 in what Metropolitan Police designated as "unrest-related" arrests. They were all charged locally with carrying pistols and large capacity ammunition feeding devices, though the Metropolitan Police Department would not connect them directly to the events at the Capitol because they were arrested before the riot began.
In addition to those charged with carrying firearms, a CBS News review of court documents last month revealed that dozens of defendants had been accused of wielding other "deadly or dangerous" weapons that weren't firearms, including Tasers, tomahawk axes, crowbars, flagpoles, a knife, an ice axe, a firecracker, a stun gun, baseball bats, fire extinguishers, a wooden club and chemical spray.
Clare Hymes contributed to this report.
How the FBI became the target of a conspiracy theory about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot .
How the FBI became the target of a conspiracy theory about the Jan. 6 Capitol riotOn Tuesday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson told his roughly three million viewers that it appeared “the FBI was organizing the riots of Jan. 6.” Though Carlson provided no evidence for this inflammatory allegation, his claim was quickly picked up and repeated as fact by a number of other conservative pundits and Republican lawmakers.