WASHINGTON—More and more shadowy details of the links connecting the Jan. 6 insurrection and attempted coup d’état by several right-wing militia groups has drawn them closer to the White House and former President Donald J. Trump himself. News reports and two congressional hearings have put Mr. Trump’s hands all over the melee.
A member of the Proud Boys militia group who took part in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, was in contact with someone in Mr. Trump’s White House in the days before the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, The New York Times reported. An anonymous source who is familiar with a cellphone data report from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) told the Times that it’s not clear what they discussed and did not disclose the names of either individual.
This comes after Federico Klein, a former State Department aide, was arrested in connection to the riots. Mr. Klein was appointed by Mr. Trump and worked on his 2016 presidential campaign before becoming a special assistant in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs in the State Department in 2017. He resigned his government position just days before the U.S. Capitol attack.
These revelations are hauntingly similar to the 1972 Watergate break-in scheme in which the telephone number of White House official and former CIA operative E. Howard Hunt was found in the address book of one of the burglars arrested in the lawless scheme which ended in the humiliation and resignation of President Richard Nixon. The news comes after the leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, told the Times that he spoke on the phone with Roger Stone, a close associate of Trump, at a rally in front of Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) home a few days before the Capitol attack.
In addition, there is ample evidence of collusion by dozens of Republican members of Congress in the scheme as well. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) released a massive, 1,900-page report compiling the social media posts of every Republican who voted to object to the counting of certain states’ Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.
Mr. Trump had hyped that Jan. 6 congressional objection effort as his last real hope of stealing a second term, and on the morning of Jan. 6, he urged the thousands of supporters that he’d summoned to Washington for a “Stop the Steal” rally to march to the Capitol and provide some “courage” to the members of Congress voting inside.
Many of those 147 House members spent weeks spreading what Democrats labeled a “big lie”—the false claim that the 2020 election was fraudulent, and that Joe Biden was not the rightfully elected president. Rep. Lofgren’s report creates a detailed record of the GOP effort to justify overturning the election.
As far as the riot itself—which left one Capitol Police officer and four others dead—is concerned, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified, debunking right-wing conspiracy theories that fake Trump supporters or “Antifa” were behind the insurrection. Mr. Wray defended an FBI’s report from the Norfolk field office on Jan. 5 warning of potential violence at the Capitol as “more than just an email,” as Capitol Hill officials complained. Mr. Wray said the warning correspondence was shared on a law enforcement database and delivered as part of an in-person briefing.
But D.C. National Guard Commander Maj. Gen. William Walker said the Pentagon slow-walked urgent requests to deploy National Guard troops to help quell the disturbance as the right wing militants overran the Capitol.
Gen. Walker delivered a stunning piece of information during his opening testimony: It took more than three hours to get approval for the National Guard to deploy to respond to the Capitol insurrection. Gen. Walker also said that senior military officials were concerned about the “optics” of having a militarized response to the Capitol unrest, especially after coming under intense criticism for the heavy-handed approach used over the summer during racial justice protests.
Another data leak exposed the identities and other personal information of military service members and others involved in a right wing paramilitary group involved in the Capitol breech. The information, from the “American Patriots Three Percent” website revealed the names, phone numbers and photographs of members—who ranged in age from their 20s to 70s and who were drawn from a variety of backgrounds—according to the UK-based Guardian newspaper.
“A lot of us are former military, former law enforcement,” Phillip Whitehead told the newspaper by phone. “Some of us have had high level security clearance. This has put myself and my family at risk.”
“We are stuck on a ship of fools, and sadly and tragically enough the uber fools are in the driver’s seat,” Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston told The Final Call.
“The invaders of the Capitol took time to engage in Christian prayer in the midst of this search for Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Michael Pence, who of course they were threatening with harm and mayhem,” said Dr. Horne. “So, we also need to realize that these advocates of so-called White Christian nationalism are an essential component of the Republican party base, which is one of the reasons why the leadership in Washington is reluctant to distance themselves from these forces because they feel they need them to continue in office.”
The phenomenon has been caught the attention of several Black scholars. It is the “religion of White rage,” and a group of scholars got together to write a book about it, which classified “Whiteness” as a religion that puts itself against Black progress and against perceived White “genocide.”
“Whiteness is acting as a religion in that you don’t have to worry about religious affiliations or differences in religion to claim the identity of being ‘White,’ ” Dr. Stephen C. Finley, co-editor of the book, and professor of African American Studies at LSU told The Final Call’s Anisah Muhammad. The 2017 “Unite the Right” White supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. and the Capitol insurrection are expressions of that White rage and were unifying calls for White people.
“I think that for our constituency what we need to be concerned about and be aware of is that these so-called White Christian nationalists may be on the verge of seizing the reins of power from the traditional Republican Party leadership, and you can say that in certain states they already have,” said Dr. Horne. “They’re the tail that’s wagging the dog, so to speak.”
Which recalls the warning written 66 years ago in his book “Notes of a Native Son,” by James Baldwin. “People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”