Dominic Pezzola Suspects the FBI’s Cooperating Witness Is the Guy Who Recruited Him into the Proud Boys

A number of people are pointing to this motion to modify bond by Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola, the guy who helped kick off an insurrection by breaking the window of the Capitol with a stolen police shield, reporting either that Pezzola is bidding to plead out or that that the Proud Boys are turning on themselves.

Both may be true.

But buried within the filing is a far more inflammatory allegation. Pezzola, the guy who kicked off the entire assault on the Capitol on January 6 in coordination with other Proud Boys, is suggesting that someone who came to serve as an FBI cooperating witness less than a week after an attack that purportedly took the FBI entirely by surprise, was actually the guy who recruited him into the Proud Boys and set him up with a thumb drive loaded up — unbeknownst to him, he maintains — with the Anarchist’s Handbook, including its bomb-making plans.

Pezzola makes the allegation by rebutting the claim he is dangerous, the basis by which Magistrate Robin Meriweather. came to deny him bail.

As Pezzola notes, Meriweather denied him bail not because of a presumption of detention or a concern he would flee. It was because he posed a danger to the public. Meriweather framed that presumed danger as arising from a thumb drive loaded with the Anarchist’s Handbook found at his home and the testimony of a witness.

In determining that Pezzola’s release presented “danger” to the community the Court cited 2 factors from the prosecution’s proffer: (1) the claim that Pezzola participated in a group conversation when others expressed an intention to return to DC with weapons to commit acts of violence; (2) recovery of a thumb drive with plans for making, bombs, poisons, etc.

Per Pezzola’s arrest affidavit, the witness was someone whom the FBI interviewed at least twice before obtaining an arrest warrant against Pezzola on January 13, just a week after the insurrection. The description of witnesses in the total universe of January 6 affidavits are totally inconsistent (in part because so many different FBI Agents wrote them), meaning we can’t conclude anything by the description an agent uses. Nevertheless, this one was always among the only ones that seemed to be an insider. The witness is someone who described Pezzola as “Spaz” right away (though elsewhere he is called Spazzo), described Pezzola as bragging about breaking into the Capitol, and he described the group — the Proud Boys — as capable of killing Nancy Pelosi or Mike Pence, and planning more actions.

The FBI has spoken to an individual your affiant will refer to as “W-1” for purposes of this affidavit. W-1 stated that W-1 was in Washington, D.C., during the protests that occurred on January 6, 2021.

W-1 stated that after the events at the Capitol as described above, he or she spoke to an individual he or she knows as “Spaz,” along with other individuals. W-1 stated that during that conversation, “Spaz” bragged about breaking the windows to the Capitol and entering the building. In a subsequent interview W-1 clarified that “Spaz” said that he used a Capitol Police shield to break the window. W-1 said that “Spaz” can be seen on the cover of many newspapers and recognizes him from those photographs. W-1 stated that other members of the group talked about things they had done during the day, and they said that anyone they got their hands on they would have killed, including Nancy Pelosi. W-1 further stated that members of this group, which included “Spaz,” said that they would have killed [Vice President] Mike Pence if given the chance.

I had thought this witness would be one of numerous Proud Boy hangers on who was hanging around in DC after the attack, but as we’ll see, Pezzola believes it’s the guy he commuted to insurrection with.

The witness first told the FBI that the Proud Boys were preparing an event on January 20th (which is consistent with other reports).

According to W-1, the group said it would be returning on the “20th,” which your affiant takes to mean the Presidential Inauguration scheduled for January 20, 2021, and that they plan to kill every single “m-fer” they can.1 W-1 stated the men said they all had firearms or access to firearms.

Then, in a later interview (again, remember that this is before January 13), the witness said maybe the next event wasn’t inauguration, but soon after. Whenever it was, it’d involve guns.

In a later interview, W-1 stated that the group had no definitive date for a return to Washington, D.C, but W-1 re-iterated that the others agreed there would be guns and that they would be back soon and they would bring guns.

The witness also misidentified Doug Jensen, the QAnon adherent who chased officer Goodman up the Capitol stairs, as someone else, presumably a member of the Proud Boys, only to clarify later that someone else was the individual in question.

In W-1’s initial interview with law enforcement, W-1 initially incorrectly the individual in the black knit hat in the foreground of this photograph as someone I will refer to as “Individual A.” W-1 later clarified that the person in the knit hat is not in fact Individual A and identified a different person in a separate photograph as Individual A.

Thus far, this witness sounds like he’s telling the FBI what he expects they most want to hear, something you often hear from informants trying to maximize their own value. By misidentifying Jensen, he may have falsely suggested the Proud Boys chose where to go in the Capitol. And by promising there would be more events, featuring violence (again, which is consistent with what public chatter was at the time), he heightened the urgency of case against the Proud Boys.

As Pezzola describes in his motion for bail, he suspects the person who said the Proud Boys had ongoing plans is a guy he drove home to New York with from DC.

Pezzola maintains no recollection of the referenced conversation but suspects if the conversation did occur in his presence it could have only occurred in the car on the return trip from Washington when Pezzola was asleep in the car. Upon information and belief, the CW is not detained. Rather he has reached an agreement where he is making allegations against others in order to avoid his detention for what is actually his greater involvement in the underlying events.

That would explain why William Pepe, also from NY, was named Pezzola’s co-conspirator: presumably both were in the same car speaking to the same guy, which is how the government had confidence that Pepe’s actions were coordinated with Pezzola’s and not, for example, the two other people charged with kicking off the attack on the Capitol, Robert Gieswein and Ryan Samsel.

As Pezzola describes, “it is alleged” that he’s just a recent recruit to the Proud Boys (something I don’t necessarily buy, but it seems to reflect Pezzola parroting back what he’s seen in discovery so far).

Pezzola’s alleged contact with the “Proud Boys” was minimal and short lived. It is alleged he had no contact prior to late November 2020. Upon information and belief, the prosecution alleges his first contacts occurred around that time. They principally amounted to meeting for drinks in a bar. Prior to January 6, 2020, there is no allegation that Pezzola took any action with the “Proud Boys” that was in anyway criminal or violent. His only event prior to January 6, 2021, was that he attended a MAGA rally in support of Donald Trump in December 2020. There is no allegation he was involved in any criminal or violent activity there.

He claims that the cooperating witness is actually far more involved in the Proud Boys.

Addressing these in turn: There is a claim as the prosecution pointed out that a “cooperating witness” claimed that Pezzola was present in a group when someone professed an intention to return on January 20, 2021, Inauguration day to instigate more violence. However, there is no claim Pezzola made those statements nor that he expressed a similar intent1 nor any intention to participate in any acts of violence, let alone murder. Although the defense cannot be certain it is believed the “cooperating witness” (CW) who has made these claims is actually someone who was a much more active participant in the “Proud Boys” than Pezzola, having been with the organization for a much longer time than Pezzola’s alleged association and much more active.

And Pezzola claims that the thumb drive showing possession of bomb making instructions was actually given to him by the guy he suspects of being the cooperating witness.

What was unknown at the time of the prior hearing is that the thumb drive at issue was given to Pezzola, probably by the Prosecution’s CW5 when that person was making efforts to introduce Pezzola into the “Proud Boys.”

Finally, Pezzola further alleges that the guy he suspects of being the cooperating witness confessed to spraying cops with pepper spray, an assault that has not been charged (only Giswein and Samsel were charged with outright assaults on cops).

Although it is impossible to know with certainty at this point, if the defense supposition about the CW is correct, that person admitted to spraying law enforcement with a chemical agent, likely “OC or Pepper” spray during the January 6 event.

It is true that Pezzola nods to making a plea deal in this filing.

Although the Court can play no role in disposition negotiations, via counsel Pezzola has indicated his desire to begin disposition negotiations and acceptance of responsibility for his actions. He seeks to make amends.

But there’s little chance DOJ can offer him a deal that will help him rebuild his life. Even in this filing, he admits he was attempting to stop the vote count, the goal of every overriding conspiracy charge thus far, which would be a key part of any seditious conspiracy case. He doesn’t deny he broke into the Capitol; he instead disingenuously downplays the import of being the first to do so, noting that numerous doors and windows were breached over the course of the day. His claim he has never used his Marine training since his service is inconsistent with the way he walked through the Capitol with much greater operational awareness than many of the other rioters. Plus, even in his first bail hearing, Pezzola insisted he was not a leader of the attack, which — if he was a recent recruit, makes total sense (and is consistent with Felicia Konold, someone else who played a key role, but who was just a recruit-in-progress). So he wouldn’t necessarily have that much information on anyone except those who gave him directions and the guy in the car, not necessarily enough to trade as the guy who kicked off the insurrection, even if he was acting on orders.

He’s likely fucked one way or another, not least because he’d be far less useful as a cooperator if everyone knew he had a plea deal.

But Pezzola’s allegation is troubling for several more reasons.

As noted, the FBI interviewed this cooperating witness at least twice before January 13, suggesting at the very least that the FBI reached out to him right away (or vice versa), rather than collecting more information on the person’s own role. And in spite of two variations in his story — misidentifying Jensen and equivocating about when the next operations were planned — his testimony was deemed credible enough to implicate someone he may have recruited and provided other the other damning evidence on.

The FBI knew that Enrique Tarrio and the rest of the Proud Boys were coming to DC for the January 6 events, which is how they were prepared to arrest him on entry in DC. They knew that during the Proud Boys’ previous visit, the group had targeted two Black churches. DOJ had investigated threats four members of the Proud Boys had made against a sitting judge in 2019.

And yet, not only didn’t FBI prevent the January 6 attack kicked off by the Proud Boys, they didn’t even issue an intelligence warning about possible violence.

It’s possible this witness genuinely did just reach out to the FBI and try to pre-empt any investigation into himself. It’s possible that as the FBI has done more review (including of video outside the Capitol, where a pepper spray attack on cops likely would have occurred), they’ve come to grow more skeptical of this witness.

But it’s also possible that the FBI has ties with witnesses — possibly this guy, and very likely Rudy Giuliani interlocutor James Sullivan, who said he was in contact with the FBI — who have more information on those who set up this insurrection, rather than just busting down the window. Particularly given the unsurprising news that investigators are scrutinizing the role that Roger Stone and Alex Jones might have played (Rudy is not mentioned, but not excluded either), it seems critical that the FBI not adhere to its counterproductive use of informants targeting a group (no matter how reprehensible) rather than action.

The FBI has a lot to answer for in its utterly inconceivable failure to offer warnings about this event. If their informant practices blinded them — or if they’re making stupid choices now out of desperation to mitigate that initial failure — it will do little to mitigate the threat of the Proud Boys.

89 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    One thing I’ve seen about the RWNJs is how quickly they run away, squeal like stuck pigs and turn on each other when facing real trouble in epic profiles in cowardice. I see elseweb how the Feebs are looking at Roger Stone and Alex Jones in DC (both were known to be there, and Stone started up Stop the Steal LLC), and are also looking for the LLC’s registered agent to ask why the required federal forms aren’t being filed.

    This is on top of how Rittenhouse is being hidden in violation of his release terms, Capitol rioters being let out to go on a prepaid Mexico vacation despite being charged with multiple felonies and our QAnon shaman gets special treatment in jail. I see that the Capitol Police also disciplined and are investigating something like 3 dozen officers for collaboration with the seditionists, will the police unions actually do something about this (short answer, no)?

    Aside from an obvious common thread, does anyone wonder why Kaiser Quisling still calls the shots from his (illegal) residence? The number of GOPs trying to kiss his arse is impressive on their political hajj to Mar-A-Lago and seems to be rising quickly.

    These clowns need to be in jail, all of them, especially since the standards when applied to POC were much more stringent. After all, the MAGAs demanded to lock HRC up for far less.

        • graham firchlis says:

          Several sources available and read thoroughly, this appeared the most up to date and sufficiently factual. Is there something suspect about this particular article? Is there something about The Hill on hard news that makes them less worthy than others cited here, such as say Politico or for that matter CNN? Please enlighten me.

          Whatever, thanks again for being a loyal reader.

        • chum'sfriend says:

          “One of the suspended officers took a selfie with someone who was part of the mob that overtook the Capitol, according to Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio.”
          This really bothers me.  We’ve all seen the imagery of this incident.  A member of the mob was standing next to a Capitol Police officer.  That member of the mob rather jovially held up a camera overhead and took a selfie of himself and the officer.  The officer did look up and paused for a moment while the photo was being taken, but the officer wasn’t holding the camera.  The officer didn’t smile or change his facial expression for the camera.  What was he supposed to do?  Push the guy’s camera out of the way?  Cover his face?  The officer did not take a selfie.  But the media and now a member of Congress, keep repeating that false claim.

        • subtropolis says:

          You’re not the only one. You’ve just spelled out exactly why I was so bothered by the outrage over that. I’ve no idea whether that officer was sympathetic to the seditious mob. The video clip sure isn’t damning, to my eyes.

        • Kathleen Galt says:

          With you on this “selfie” issue chum

          . With all of the chaos going on, what was the officer supposed to do? If the investigation comes up with some sort of association that officer has with rioters, whole different issue.

    • Chris.EL says:

      Didn’t Roger Stone form the “Stop the Steal LLC” in 2016?

      Wonder who is the LLC’s registered agent? “…to ask why the required federal forms aren’t being filed.”

      Isn’t the *only* reason for the LLC is to collect money?

      Where is Manafort these days?

      He seems to play the role of financier or banker in these dramas.


      Bottom line!!!

      Got to get Trump and his co-conspirators indicted, convicted and sent to JAIL.


      Interesting developments in Libya involving Erik Prince; a strongman named Hifter (!!!!!) wanted helicopter gunships and other weapons to execute takeover of the country and (according to wapo) mercenaries were willing to help!

        • Chris.EL says:

          Saw the name both ways, but NYT and wapo seemed to be consistent on Hifter —- so I don’t know — either way the name is alarming.
          Trump simply WILL NOT GO AWAY!!!

          I’m waiting for him to trot over to North Korea, offering to hold Kim Jong Un’s hand — haven’t read wapo’s story about North Korea’s economic problems — seems perfect for Trump and Putin to team up and cause embarrassment to U.S.

          Trump will never stop — the elixir of power tastes waay too sweet to him.

    • PeterS says:

      I completely understand why you say these clowns should be in jail, but I don’t agree with the final sentence. What the MAGA crowd chanted about HRC has no effect on my thinking here. (A pedantic point, sorry)

      • Rugger9 says:

        That point was intended to show their rank double standard based on political view, but thanks for the input.

      • Chris.EL says:

        Dear people —- don’t know if my thought is wanted or needed, but here goes.

        For the life of me I still don’t understand **WTF** all the **stoopid** chanting about lock her up — except to maybe align minds to parallel-thinking, to push for a result?

        For gods sake; Hillary was secretary of state and she seemed to do the job to the satisfaction of Pres. Obama — so the chanting was designed to damage HRC as an opposing candidate, demonize, after all she was just a lowly woman (as am I).

        I’m still amazed — in the workforce after 50 years — graduated with honors Univ. of Calif. (not Cal) still not seen as having a brain — didn’t realize how much misogyny — one day just hit me — I went !!WHOA!!

        (I voted for Shirley Chisholm (had nearly forgotten that!)

        Didn’t Trump’s daughter use a private email server, or non-government email to do govt. business? It’s like if the Trumps do it, it’s OK.

        I’m so tired of Trump’s BS — he is a crook, he must walk the ________ to jail, no more shenanigans. Enough is enough so I hope they finally nail him! Plus if he’s in jail he can’t run for or be president!

        Robbie Kaplan’s cases are probably going to run for another TWO YEARS!!!!

  2. harpie says:
    9:27 PM · Feb 6, 2021

    Christiaan Triebert of the NYT visual investigations team posted this conversation on parler from around 11/21/20 between TARRIO and Oath Keeper MINUTA.

    TARRIO posted a PHOTO of PEZZOLA and MINUTA at the 11/14/20 Million MAGA march.
    And MINUTA responds to TARRIO.

    I just think that’s an interesting triangle of people.

    • Raven Eye says:

      Mostly for the sake of my own sanity, I’ve long tried not to think in polar terms such as right-wingers and left-wingers. I’ve looked at “conservatives” as more of a Venn diagram with one circle being *political* and the other *social*. And, at least in my opinion, some social conservative positions are in opposition to political conservative positions.

      But these militia/proto-fascist groups kinda need their own circle in the diagram. Their “elements” can be found in the other two circles, but there are a bunch more that are outside.

      One of the fallacies is identifying Trump as a conservative. He’s only that only to the extent that his “conservative license” plate is one of the paper ones that you lose driving home from the dealer’s lot.

      • Norskeflamthrower says:

        Your your analysis is very useful. Let’s remember that in two national elections Aldolph Schicklgruber and his merry band of Orchs never got more’n 35% of the vote in Weimar. This triangulation has long been compared to the early revolutionary period in the colonies: a one third-one third-1/3
        split. Some like me have argued that the deal with the devil that brought the slavocracy into coalition behind the Constitution structurally eliminated the “moderate middle” or the middle one third. Now over 230 years later we wonder where it went.

        • Rugger9 says:

          More recently we had two times that Paul LePage was elected Governor of Maine with about 35-37% of the vote in three way races where Angus King (currently the junior Senator) was involved in at least one of them. Charlie Pierce described LePage properly as a “human bowling jacket”, and LePage’s maladministration likely pushed the ranked choice voting initiative in Maine to prevent it from happening again.

          By the way, Le Page was making noises a while back about a comeback, but I haven’t heard anything recently. Like DJT, LePage did not go quietly into the night after his term was done.

          Speaking of jerks, I see Nunes lost his lawsuit against CNN when it was tossed. Normally in CA we have a “loser pays” standard for civil litigation, so I hope CNN sticks him with the legal bills.

        • ernesto1581 says:

          small correction: lepage ran against libby mitchell in 2010, against mike michaud in 2014. he won each time w <40%. in both cases eliot cutler was the spoiler.
          lepage briefly threatened to run against angus king for us senate in 2018 but evidently thought better of it and moved to florida after losing a third election to janet mills. as he left office in 2019, lepage noted that Democrats' "money comes from" Jews "for the most part."

      • subtropolis says:

        I agree with that approach to thinking about these people, although I question your use of the word, “conservative”, even couched as you have. There is nothing at all conservative about any of them anymore. No Republican who supported acquittal is remotely conservative, regardless of their bullshit Constitutional excuses. Certainly not the Trump true believers. And there is little in the way of conservative media. It’s long past time that we stop using the word to denote people on the “right”, as much as we’d like to avoid right/left language.

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          “No Republican who supported acquittal is remotely conservative…”

          I have begun to wonder in the last few years if in fact oligarchic fascism isn’t the logical conclusion to “conservatism” as it has been experienced and defined by it’s practitioners over the last 200 years. The contradictions become impossible to support their own weight and eventually break the entire enterprise into it’s component pieces. It’s hard to see “conservatism” in anything beyond two dimensions.

        • Min says:

          Of course, they are conservative. You just have to go back far enough in time, like to the antebellum South. Reactionaries are conservative.

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          You see “conservatism” as I do then: conservativism is a phase or stage of a historical process…two dimensions, as I said.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          min, I would argue that reactionaries are definitionally *not* conservative, but that they cloak their truly activist, radical goals in the term “conservative” to make them palatable.

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          Prey tell me, what is the difference between “conservative ” and “reactionary” other than the degree of their willingness to do violence to AND on behalf of the Constitution?

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          My point was that the increasing majority of those who call themselves “conservative” are in fact reactionaries, following leaders who use the label “conservative” to gloss what is actually an activist (that is, anti-conservative), radical movement. To conserve means keeping the status quo. These so-called conservatives want to tear it down and replace it with their ideal: government intrusion when it suits them (women’s bodies, religion, marriage), “liberty” when that lets them have their guns. Those funding the movement don’t care, as long as wealth continues to be redistributed in their direction through tax cuts and loopholes. None of these policies is truly conservative–not the way Barry Goldwater articulated the stance 60 years ago–but whatever intellectual purity the movement once claimed has long since been drained by bigotry and greed.

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          Your efforts only support the conclusion that “conservative” and “reactionary” have rhetorical differences without real distrinction.

      • Raven Eye says:

        To my original point, using the term “conservative” without a modifier is perhaps an exercise in simpleton-ness or obfuscation. Such usage has been so for decades, and going back in in time with the Way-Back Machine is about as useful as Trump’s 1950’s MAGA fantasy.

        For years, if necessary, I would ask “Do you mean social conservative or political conservative”. Anyone who said “Both” could be suspected of some level of analytical deficiency.

        If the similar question came up today, I would ask “Do you mean social conservative, political conservative, or proto-fascist conservative”. To my (admittedly questionable) approach, there are now three circles in my “conservative” Venn diagram.

        • Christopher Blanchard says:

          I have a lot of trouble with the word(s) conservative/Conservative.

          On my own account I feel myself to be:

          Profoundly conservative, by which I mean I want to preserve and promote the good things in the world, and I am very suspicious of disruptive policies which just sound good. In other words I am, at the great age of sixtyfive, pretty cautious. Good things can be done, slowly and carefully.

          Very left wing. Policies I favour include tax regimes which disrupt, diminish and, if things go well, eventually eliminate concentrated wealth and power. NO ONE is ‘entitled’ to billionaire wealth, at all, EVER. I also like the look of Universal Basic Income in wealthy countries, though I am damn sure it can be introduced piece-meal, so that If I am wrong, we can make adjustments which can make it work.

          Extreme liberal. I think, in US terms, that means some kind of social or left libertarian. I don’t know if I get the jargon right but what I mean is, broadly, leave people alone, so sexuality, religion, weird practices, stupid opinions and speech, drug consumption, and anything else in your social world is not my business unless someone attacks or imposes on their neighbours (broadly defined to include, of course, their families and other potential victims, anywhere in the world).

          My result leaves me with the UK Green Party – a conservative response to the environment, left wing policies to let us turn that into reality and a free and democratic society to make it all worth while, but that result doesn’t matter much because there are a lot of political positions which seem reasonable to me, even though I disagree with them.

          (And I don’t much like the look of the US Green party, by the way).

          I am inclined to think that anyone grown-up, in the modern world, has some mixture of these three positions, although with wildly different emphases. These are examples, and all respectable in my terms:

          Some conservatives want to promote their churches – let them get on with it, inside ‘liberal’ restrictions. I don’t care, and I shouldn’t, and a lot of the best music in the world is religious, so good for them.
          Some leftwingers are pacifist, others marxist, and all kinds of other stuff – that is all fine, in my terms, within those cautious (‘conservative’) and ‘democratic liberal’ restrictions. I disagree, but so what.
          ‘Liberals’ or ‘libertarians’ all care about some kinds of freedom more than others, and every freedom has prices. That is OK so far as it goes and balancing them is a matter of working out the consequences. (A telling example of getting that wrong, by the way is the way ‘freedom’ for US realtors (estate agents in UKese) has promoted racial segregation).

          However, these three attitudes: conservative, left and liberal, have relatives, which are often perverted and perverse, and which you all know. They get perverted by getting mixed up with stuff which I think is outside the decent range, including fascist, fascistic, theocratic, Tory (British and equivalents), reactionary, nationalist, militarist, promoting aristocracy, Stalinist and lots of others. All kinds of stuff which disgusts me, – name your own.

          Someone else here might see this more clearly than I do and, I dearly hope, can explain what I mean where I am floundering, or show me why I am being stupid.

          I think, to grossly oversimplify, that anyone who doesn’t have all three pieces I’ve described in their character, in their own proportions, risks falling into a kind of perversion. That partiality, or partitiallness – that moral incompleteness – is what lets conservatives ally themselves with fascistic characters like Trump – they are missing an appreciation of freedom, and of the social cohesion which is necessary to the left (and ought to be essential to conservatism). That same incompleteness used to have left wingers sympathetic to Stalinism (and I have relatives who approved the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia), and which lets right wing ‘libertarians’ ally themselves with climate change deniers. All these, and similar stupidities, share that one thing in common: they are not ‘grown-up’; to repeat, they are incomplete.

          That is too harsh. Most people do have that variety of moral senses, so a fairer description would be to say that all those compromised people have ignored parts of themselves in a way which makes them look incomplete. And there are plenty of people whose central moral sense is facist or one of the rest I despise, but even then most of them have pieces of the better senses buried inside them; the trick is bringing it out.

          Life, of course, ain’t that simple, and this has gotten too bloody theoretical. To sloganise a bit:

          ‘Anarchist logic and pragmatic politics’.
          ‘Neither Work nor Leisure’.

          It is late at night and I feel this is clumsy. To try to sum up: conservatism is a necessary and legitimate part of all of us but a lot of what calls itself conservative is either a perversion of the useful term, or a straight lie.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Thank you, Christopher Blanchard, for articulating your own complicated understanding of and relationship to conservatism (as opposed to “conservatism”). I was trying to do something similar, and I found your exploration valuable. Not clumsy at all!

  3. CD54 says:

    It seems that the investigation is heading in the direction of several or many distinct conspiracies which were in furtherance of a larger conspiracy.

    Can an overarching conspiracy be supported by independent conspiracies itself? Have nested conspiracies ever been prosecuted in such a manner or do all the conspiracies default to the highest level?

    • Tom R. says:

      That is pretty well covered on page 11 of the jury instructions that bmaz posted:

      «(3) There is no requirement that a particular defendant be inter-connected with all the other co-conspirators or that he be specifically connected with some particular other co-conspirator. It is the conspiracy itself to which the defendant must be connected.

      (4) But proof that the defendant simply knew about a conspiracy, or was present at times, or associated with members of the group, is not enough, even if he approved of what was happening or did not object to it. Similarly, just because the defendant may have done something that happened to help a conspiracy does not necessarily make him a conspirator. You can consider these things in deciding whether the government has proved that the defendant joined a conspiracy. But without more they are not enough.

      (5) What the government must prove is that the defendant knew the conspiracy’s main purpose, and that he voluntarily joined it intending to help advance or achieve its goals. This is essential.»

      In this case, I reckon that interfering with the vote count was the central goal of the conspiracy. Anybody who participated in the attack, intending to advance or achieve that goal, ought to be seriously worried.

      • I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

        Agreed. The ubiquitous use of the phrase “Stop the Steal” by various participants will be helpful to prosecutors when they bring conspiracy charges. It will be important, however, to avoid relying exclusively on people’s use of this phrase. Hopefully the prosecutors won’t take that type of shortcut in bringing charges.

  4. BobCon says:

    It seems possible that Pezzola was given the thumb drive by someone else, but I’d be awfully suspicious that it was a setup.

    I’m inclined to think that at a minimum Pezzola knew that physical transfer of data implied something too risky to go through a network. And it is more likely he had at least a higher degree of knowledge of what was on it. It is the equivalent of a corner guy agreeing to hold a package for a known dealer.

    I don’t know the implications as far as a criminal case, and maybe the thumb drive was concealed in a way which gives more plausibility to his claim. But I’m skeptical that he was a total dupe.

  5. P J Evans says:

    “The Anarchist’s Cookbook”? Srsly? That’s from a long time back, and IIRC, the “recipes” aren’t reliable.

    My father had a pamphlet on makeshift incendiaries, put out by the government, from back around then. Much more reliable. (I think he got it from his work buddy who was a pyrotechnics guy. My mother insisted that I get rid of it after he died and we were preparing to move. Been regretting that (I probably could have stashed it in my stuff; she wouldn’t have found it. Heck, *I* probably wouldn’t have found it.)

    • Joseph Andrews says:

      PJ Evans: Man do I love your comment. In a way, I could have written it…particularly the ‘I wouldn’t have found it’ part.

      My own father reloaded tens of thousands of 12 gauge shotgun shells in our basement.

      Only one accidental explosion (that I know of)…

      • P J Evans says:

        My father had firearms – mostly antique long guns. There were a couple of working shotguns, but the rest were stashed in the basement. Most were sold when my mother moved back to CA; one went to her cousin, for pheasant hunting. The two really antique guns (pre-Civil War) went to a museum after she died: my father wanted my brother to have them, but he wouldn’t take them, and my sis and I, who would have, don’t have safe places to store them.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Sounds like it comes from the era when the army had an elite training program it called “kitchen explosives school.” I can only imagine what was required for the final project. Fictional versions of the skills acquired surface in, say, the first Terminator, the Shooter, and in Steven Seagal movies.

    • RLHall says:

      “The Anarchist’s Cookbook” used to float around in paperback in the 1970s and ’80s. I’m sure there are still copies out there. Now they get it on thumb drives or on the web. There’s an old proverb about the “more things change …”

      • eyesoars says:

        Indeed; copies of The Anarchists’ Handbook have circulated online for forty years or more, and it was noted as unreliable from its earliest days.

    • Raven Eye says:

      I worked in an advisory business unit for one of the Big Four. The company-provided laptops had a “bad words” filter baked into them. To do web searches on the projects I was dealing with, I had to bring in my own laptop, plug it into the company LAN, run the searches, and then email the results to my company laptop sitting on the same desk.

      In an earlier job we build simulated IEDs that were identical, less the actual explosives, but with added penalty circuits. I even designed a “standard” circuit board that you could wire several different ways, depending on what the client needed for the training.

      Some of that stuff is probably buried among the thousands of files in the “Documents” folders that have been carried along for a few decades.

  6. greengiant says:

    FBI statement on Tarrio’s arrest by the DC Metropolitan Police Department.
    Is the January 12th fig leaf over the FBI not acting on any other information.
    We immediately shared that information and action was taken, as demonstrated by the arrest of Enrique Tarrio by the Metropolitan Police Department the night before the rally.”

      • ThoughtMail says:

        If that’s what was meant, then an indefinite or definite article (‘a’ or ‘the’) preceding the word ‘insurrection’ would make the meaning clearer.

        Perhaps I’m just being pedantic about grammatical construction, but EW only tenuously made a connection to traveling in her comments about sleeping in a/the vehicle (unclear what kind of vehicle it was, besides which, ‘commuting’ implies a continuing travel pattern of the two, which is not evident). Furthermore, using the word ‘committed’ has a more durable connection to the headline about ‘the Guy Who Recruited Him’.

        Suffice to say, I was mildly confused when I encountered the word.

  7. Badger Robert says:

    The patriotic part of the FBI might have thought they were too weak as long as the former President was in power.
    The President could disrupt them if they moved to soon.
    I think you have to aim higher than the FBI to determine who was in on it.

    • subtropolis says:

      Agreed. I expect that there’s much about the efforts to shut down warnings, or even actions, leading up to the 6th that haven’t been made public yet. Not because it’s being covered up, but that it involves the most sensitive part of the investigation into the attempted coup.

      Hell, the Attorney General has yet to be sworn in. It’s no wonder that we’re not learning much about what went on at the top.

      • FL Resister says:

        Will Mitch McConnell stand in the way of Merrick Garland’s confirmation this time?

        (Quote) In addition to Oklahoma City, Judge Garland supervised high-profile cases that included Theodore J. Kaczynski (a.k.a. the Unabomber) and the bombing at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. “The militias and the right-wing terrorists whom we encountered in the 1990s were a foreshadowing of the groups you saw storming the Capitol,” said Jamie Gorelick, who as deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton was Judge Garland’s immediate boss at the Justice Department. “Their literature is the same, their tattoos are similar, and their language is similar.”

        • bmaz says:

          Jamie Gorelick is a complete and unadulterated asshole. If there is any truly horrible supposed Dem voice I would never like to hear from again, it would be Rahm Emanuel. Gorelick can pound sand and rot.

        • Badger Robert says:

          But what about Judge Garland? Does Biden have the votes? It looks as if Durbin and Grassley have a schedule.

  8. Zinsky says:

    I believe that if the FBI keeps pulling threads, they are going to find Roger Stone, Trump, Tarrio and other Proud Boy and other alt-right riff-raff worked together (conspired) to make January 6th something more than a simple protest. They were at least trying to intimidate public officials, if not do them bodily harm,
    Some people have said we need a 9-11 Commission to investigate this. I think that is the wrong analog. This group are not smart enough to be terrorists. Terrorists would have had a plan once they got inside the Capitol. These knuckleheads didn’t know what to do except smear feces on the walls. This was a giant crime scene and they need to treat it as such.. Everyone who planned it should be treated as you would any criminal conspiracists, up to and including Trump and his son, Don Jr. and send them to prison.

    • P J Evans says:

      They crimed, whether it counts as terrorism officially or not. What’s being done is finding out how many, and who, were in on the planning and set up: that’s conspiracy.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Speaking of crime scenes, how much of the investigation was compromised by the rush to clean it up so legislators could return? I’m still haunted by the images of Rep. Andy Kim working alongside Capitol staff, scrubbing away evidence that never got processed in any meaningful way as far as I know.

      • harpie says:

        Just wanted to share what Rep. Andy Kim wrote a month after the insurrection:
        2:10 PM · Feb 6, 2021

        It was a month ago when I found this broken eagle while cleaning the Capitol after the insurrection. I kept it as a tender reminder of the enormous work ahead to heal. This is one of several symbols I want to share with you as we think what comes next for our nation (THREAD) […]

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Just to be clear, in no way do I blame Rep. Kim or Capitol staff for dismantling a crime scene; that decision was made much higher up, and I would like to know by whom and by what criteria.

  9. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    The FBI has a history of giving incriminating stuff to people and then charging them for it, and the RW has learned the judo flip of turning investigations back on the investigators, who knows.

    Was this the same gentleman that filed a pre emptive motion saying, “don’t look at my phone”?

    • harpie says:

      Feuer doesn’t link to the document. This is what the screenshot says [the first sentence is from Trump’s speech at the rally.]:

      You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.” 14. On January 5 and 6, Ms. Watkins was present not as an insurrectionist, but to provide security to the speakers at the rally, to provide escort for the legislators and others to march to the Capitol as directed by the then President, and to safely escort protestors away from the Capitol to their vehicles and cars at the conclusion of the protest. She was given a VIP pass to the rally. She met with Secret Service agents. She was within 50 feet of the stage during the rally to provide security for the speakers. At the time the Capitol was breached, she was still at the rally where she had provided security. The government concedes that her arrival at the Capitol was a full 40 minutes after the Capitol had been breached.

      Reminded that Alex JONES said he was contacted by the WHITE HOUSE, and was given specific directions / locations / times about what to do at the rally and march.

      I’ll find the original language.

      • harpie says:

        According to JONES, “the WHITE HOUSE told” him that the Secret Service would show him what to do and when.
        The video was posted by his ex-wife.

        JONES: […] And then, the White House told me three days before, We’re gonna have you lead the march. The Secret Service, before Trump finishes, 30 minutes before or so, will lead you to a point, take you out of the front row, and lead you to the place where they want you to start the march and Trump will tell people, Go on, I’m going to meet you at the Capitol.

        There was a million people outside of the Ellipse that was you know, metal detectors, folks coming in. And so, by the time I got out there, 40 minutes 30 minutes before Trump finished his speech, there were already hundreds of thousands of people ahead of me marching.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          How was Alex Jones supposed to lead a mile-long march? Didn’t he need physical support just to get up/onto the Capitol steps? IIRC, he pleaded lack of stamina for some such minor exertion.

      • harpie says:

        John Scott-Railton did a thread on Friday’s superseding indictment of OATH KEEPERs. One of the things he mentions that I hadn’t heard before is:
        3:33 PM · Feb 19, 2021

        11/ Sidenote: the #OathKeepers donned their battle rattle behind a jumbo video screen blaring “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” at the Trump rally. [VIDEO]

        So this is where they stored their stuff? And, if so, who gave them permission to store it there?

    • harpie says:

      Here’s Zoe TILLMAN with the document…
      should have checked her right away!
      10:20 PM · Feb 20, 2021

      Capitol insurrection defendant Jessica Watkins, charged in the alleged Oath Keepers conspiracy, filed her brief tonight opposing the govt’s effort to keep her in jail. Lawyer argues Watkins “fell prey to the false and inflammatory claims” of Trump et al. /

      • FL Resister says:

        Watkins is no Patty Hearst.
        She wasn’t kidnapped and brainwashed or in fear of her own life.
        She was recruiting and training people to fight to the death for something other than country while serving as active military. Court martial appears appropriate.
        Her crimes are serious.
        When I was a public school teacher I learned the value of making an example early on. The sooner the better, military officials need to make it clear that they do not accept behavior such as Watson’s in either active or retired military.

  10. Badger Robert says:

    Stories about the rioters are interesting. But stories about who funded the buses that helped create the crowds will also be interesting. Who muffled the warnings and who disabled and delayed the responses?
    Ms. Wheeler’s reporting shows there was an organization behind this.

  11. Kathleen Galt says:

    As or more interesting as dad’s guns in basements. He actually brings up the Jan 6th riots, Trump, however, plays them down. Odd.

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