The Delayed Trespassing Charges against Savanah McDonald and Nolan Kidd

Two MAGA tourists from Georgia, Savanah McDonald and Nolan Kidd, were arrested last Friday on charges of trespassing into the Capitol on January 6. They were two of the last remaining people captured in a photo of Jacob Chansley to be arrested.

There’s a detail of interest that may have some bearing on other cases.

People called in tips to the FBI on the two just days after the assault. On January 11, someone sent a screen cap of Kidd’s Facebook account full of pictures from inside the Capitol. Three days later someone sent a picture of McDonald in.

The FBI interviewed both shortly after receiving the tips. They told a story that many other insurrectionists have told since: they were let in.

On January 14, 2021, FBI agents interviewed MCDONALD in Elberton, Georgia. MCDONALD agreed to speak to the agents. When MCDONALD was shown the below picture, MCDONALD confirmed that the person circled was her.

MCDONALD stated that she and KIDD marched to the U.S. Capitol, and when they reached the U.S. Capitol, there were uniformed police officers near the doors telling them to come inside and showing them where to go.

On January 15, 2021, FBI agents separately interviewed KIDD in Athens, Georgia. KIDD agreed to speak to the agents. KIDD told the agents that the doors to the U.S. Capitol were wide open.

Nothing apparently happened for a while, until, on March 8, the FBI Agent on the case viewed video from the Northwest stairs leading to the door through which the two entered showing cops first attempting to rebuff an assault with tear gas, followed by the breach of the perimeter. She found that four minutes after that breach, in the wake of the tear gas, McDonald and Kidd rushed up the stairs.

The FBI agent explained that McDonald and Kidd entered via a door slightly to the side of the one that Dominic Pezzola first broke through, just 14 seconds after it was opened, “by unauthorized individuals” she doesn’t name.

MCDONALD and KIDD entered the U.S. Capitol through a Senate Fire Door approximately 14 seconds after it was breached from the inside by unauthorized individuals. The Senate Fire Door is marked in the above photo by an arrow.

That same day, she got search warrants for Kidd’s Facebook account and McDonald’s SnapChat, the former of which — in addition to admitting that he had removed his pictures to avoid arrest — showed McDonald and Kidd posing in front of a line of cops at the site of the Chansley confrontation, the latter of which depicted McDonald bragging about making it to the Senate.

The claim that that Northwest door was not strongly defended is true. It’s a claim that many defendants have made. But what seems to have happened here is that the FBI held off on applying for a probable cause warrant until they could show that before they walked in an unattended door, McDonald and Kidd were right in the middle of a crowd where cops were taking explicit measures to hold back the crowd.

This is not the first time we’ve seen something like this. When Brady Knowlton was arrested after they discovered him entering the building with Patrick Montgomery, his lawyers immediate demanded exculpatory evidence showing them walking right in this door. [Note,  this is believed to be a different door–the West central door; thanks to “Sansa Stark” for clarifying.]

Then the government indicted him along with Montgomery, charging the latter with assault along the way. Last DOJ reported, Knowlton was entertaining a plea offer.

Something happened at these doors that is both making it hard to hold people accountable for entering it, but also seems to be of investigative interest. Perhaps that’s why McDonald and Kidd got arrested — to obtain the video that Kidd, especially, shot.

But until then, prosecutors may be relying on confrontations outside the building to make it clear that defendants knew they shouldn’t have stormed the building.

53 replies
  1. ThomasH says:

    I wonder if this Northwest door was part of the (reconnaissance?) tour given the day before the insurrection by members of Congress to people who are alleged to have then participated in the storming of the Capital the next day?

    • Pete T says:

      And, AFAIK, the 1/5 tour guides have yet to be identified. That can’t be as hard as looking through tons of pictures and “reels” of video to ID the 1/6 perps.

      • milestogo says:

        I figure either there’s no there, there. Or, they have the goods but are waiting for the conspiracy to roll up at the proper pace to nail the leaders.

  2. Savage Librarian says:

    Marching Orders

    The pants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah.
    The pants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah.
    The pants go marching one by one,
    The coup-coup mark flops for QAnon,
    And they all go marching down,
    Thru the town, commemorating Cain.

    two by two: the coup-coup mark flops without a clue

    three by three: the coup-coup mark flops for Fox TV

    four by four: the coup-coup mark flops & gives a roar

    five by five: the coup-coup mark flops on overdrive

    six by six: the coup-coup mark flops into the mix

    seven by seven: the coup-coup mark flops for Kevin & Devin

    eight by eight: the coup-coup mark flops, full of hate

    nine by nine: the coup-coup mark flops without a spine

    ten by ten: the coup-coup mark flops with access open

    • joel fisher says:

      I’m sure some of them thought it was an authorized tour and the police were the tour guides. There’s no telling what they were thinking: start out stupid and mainline Fox, Newsmax, and OAN. Who cares? The prisons are full of morons.

      • Rayne says:

        I can’t tell if you’re being snarky or if you’re hitting the substances because anyone coming in through an an entrance on the northwest side of the Capitol must have seen this “welcome committee.”
        Security blocks the entrance on the West Front of the Capitol, photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

        • joel fisher says:

          Pure snarkiness at the beginning–cocktail hour is a ways off–but, as I was writing, I started to think, “What lightweights these defendants are!” And, “They’ll believe anything.” It’s not just the defendants; the GOP as a whole is drifting–dashing?–in the direction of, “The whole thing is overblown.” Soon, “It never happened at all.” Photographic evidence? That means nothing. Substances are called for.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            It’s always past five o’clock somewhere.

            I’ve given up thinking that anyone – certainly not those who think up the right’s outrageous characterizations – actually believes them. They’re like a McDonald’s commercial – regardless of how inane, if it sells product, it’s all good; if not, it’s gone in an instant.

  3. PieIsDamnGood says:

    Fire door would have to be opened from the inside? Maybe that’s the reason for extra interest.

    • Rayne says:

      See item 6. at this Curbed article, which says the doors on the west were opened from inside by rioters who came in from the east side.

      ADDER 3:29 pm ET — sure would like to know where this officer was located inside the building during this harassment.

  4. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    I have to say, that so many of the clowns now being charged for their participation in the activities of the 6th sound way too much like George Costanza from Seinfeld, when he was called into the boss’s after having sex with the cleaning lady on his desk…

    George: “Was that wrong? Should I have not done that? I tell you I gotta plead ignorance on this thing because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing was frowned upon, you know, cause I’ve worked in a lot of offices and I tell you people do that all the time.”

    I know this is really serious… I’m still furious about the entire episode and really, truly worried about the direction the country is headed in…

    And at the same time, there’s this ridiculous cartoonish quality to so many of the individuals involved…

    And they then followed up by leaving an astonishing evidence trail all over social media… like law enforcement’s NEVER gonna think to look there, huh?

    Simply astonishing…

    “Was that wrong? Should I have not done that?”

    • Rayne says:

      We shouldn’t minimize what happened by marginalizing these individuals. They may not look like the people a world-class private security company would hire, but they managed to temporarily obstruct the normal operation of Congress including the transfer of power, utterly ignoring the democratic process. The person who bears most responsibility for inciting them is similarly less than scintillating having been bankrupt multiple times but he still managed to attain the presidency and wreak havoc on our nation, killing more than half a million Americans.

      I worry this red team’s failures will make the next red team more successful, and our blue team isn’t adequately prepared for that.

      • joel fisher says:

        All the minimizing you could imagine is happening right now before our very eyes as the GOP media machine picks up the pace of the theme: “They were just tourists who got a little out of control” and “The rioters don’t represent the real GOP” and the one that makes my blood boil the most: “What about BLM?”

        • Rayne says:

          Which is why sane folks need to avoid stepping into the GOP’s framing, giving it oxygen by repeating the minimization.

          The president incited rebellion and insurrection from his white supremacist supporters, who engaged in seditious conspiracy to mount that insurrection. They violently obstructed Congress and the peaceful transfer of power. It doesn’t matter if they look like denizens of Denny’s and Gander Mountain — the perps committed a terror attack on our democracy.

          See ConnectionsLab for help framing the insurrection’s perps under “Download FIA (framing in action): Insurrection slides PDF”

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The “tourist” meme would be laughably inappropriate were it not part of the big lie. At any major UK tourist site, a stately home or an old university’s college, for example, you’d be written up just for walking on the grass. But the outrageous characterization creates a mental “safe space” for the insurrectionists determined to steal the next election.

        • pdaly says:

          Also, “It’s Antifa” grates on my ears.

          Waiting and hoping for the day House Republican Kevin McCarthy’s 1/6/21 phone call from the besieged Capitol to Trump at the WH (with McCarthy demanding Trump call off his people storming the Capitol) becomes part of an indictment timeline.

          Trump to McCarthy: These are not my people. It’s “Antifa.” [sounds like a phrase the Proud Boys were using pre-1/6]

          McCarthy: No. It’s not Antifa. These are YOUR people.

          Trump: Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.

          And yet McCarthy has gone silent since getting on TV that day to announce his call to Trump to call off his people. Wondering who hushed him?

          • bmaz says:

            Lol, it should. “Antifa” is the strawest of men. Byt the way, our daughter is in your and Phred’s vicinity…again. Flew in today, now in Cape Cod.

    • FL Resister says:

      Clownish stupidness appears to be a central characteristic of fascist behavior.
      And the more audacious, the better, we’ve learned.
      In a place without shame nothing’s of value.
      Things are broken and shit upon.
      Things like election machines, certified ballots, officials and laws governing elections.
      The abuses will continue to escalate until the jaws of law clamp down on them.
      Very glad and grateful to see AG Merrick Garland say he’s doubled the number of attorneys staffing this area. But more is needed.

  5. Molly Pitcher says:

    From the Daily Beast:‘Vanilla Kind of Guy’: Defense Lawyer Roasts Capitol Rioter in Bid to Keep Him From Jail

    “A California man accused of coordinating a group of “armed fighters” to stop the electoral certification of President Joe Biden on Jan. 6 is just a “vanilla kind of guy” who was simply angry at having to wear a mask, his lawyers claimed Tuesday.” …

    “In a Tuesday court filing arguing for detention, prosecutors further laid out Taylor’s coordinated efforts to plan an attack on the Capitol—including sharing a Jan. 5 photo Taylor took of his tactical vest, hatchets, knife, gloves, and backpack with the caption “now getting ready for tomorrow.”

    From at least December, he texted Hostetter about travel plans to D.C. and whether they should bring firearms. Prosecutors allege the pair are leaders of the American Phoenix Project, described as a group that “advocate[s] for violence against individuals and groups who supported the 2020 presidential election results.” ”

    • P J Evans says:

      A lot of people don’t want to wear masks, but they don’t travel across country, with weapons, to protest at a location where people who *didn’t* make the mask rules are doing their mandated duty.

  6. pdaly says:

    Welcome back to her! She picked a good week to be on the Cape. Is she just visiting or staying?

Comments are closed.