Release the Kraken!! Two Degrees of Donald Trump at the East Doors

It was probably happenstance that Jimmy Haffner, who was arrested the other day for assaulting the cops guarding the East door of the Capitol on January 6, met “Sidney FRICKIN’ Powell” while she was on a bus tour spreading the Big Lie. The FBI included a picture of him apparently pictured with Powell (her face is redacted because she has not been arrested) purportedly to add validation for their identification of him.

The rest of his networking, however, seems absolutely central to the evidence the government is collecting to explain how the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and a mob led by Alex Jones all converged on the East steps of the Capitol just before it was breached, with the involvement of a number of Marines.

As the FBI explains, Haffner and his buddy Ron Loehrke — who lived in Washington State on January 6 but both of whom have moved since — were recruited to go to DC by then head of the Proud Boys in the Northwest, Ethan Nordean. On December 27, the complaint explains, Nordean texted Loehrke saying he wanted him “on the front line” with him. In response, Loehrke told Nordean he was bringing three “bad mother fuckers” with him.

Loehrke and Haffner’s phones were in contact 106 times between December 19 and January 7. Sometime on January 5, Nordean’s phone called Loehrke’s.

On the morning of January 6, Loehrke showed up at the Washington Monument, where Telegram chats sent the day before said the Proud Boys were meeting up. He and Haffner marched with Nordean and others towards the Capitol (though Haffner was pretty disciplined in keep his face hidden). Loehrke helped people over the initial barricades and waved people forward. He later encouraged rioters: “Don’t back down, patriots! The whole fucking world is watching. Stand the fuck up today!”

Both Loehrke and Haffner then moved to the East side of the Capitol, where Joe Biggs, the Oath Keepers, and Alex Jones would also go. The two men helped dismantle the barricades that enabled a mob to crowd the stairs in advance of the East doors being opened. “Let’s go! Get in there!” Loehrke exhorted.

The government alleges that Haffner sprayed the officers guarding the East doors with some kind of aerosol, which played a key role, they suggest, in the cops losing control of that entrance. Minutes later, the rioters breached the Capitol.

The arrest affidavit doesn’t say it, but Joe Biggs and the Oath Keepers were in the immediate vicinity as this happened; Alex Jones had been or was just yards away riling up the crowd he had lured there by falsely claiming that Trump would speak there, chanting “1776!” with his blowhorn.

The affidavit explains that Loehrke went to Merkley’s office once he breached the Capitol; it doesn’t say whether he met with Zach Rehl there.

There are lots of other details the FBI doesn’t provide either: the time on January 5 when Nordean called Loehrke, the hotel in downtown DC that Haffner checked into on January 5, the hotel at which Loehrke’s tattooed hand was videoed outside. It doesn’t reveal whether Haffner or Loehrke were at a meeting on January 5 that Nordean and Biggs — but not their alleged Proud Boy co-defendants — attended.

Even without those details, however, the arrest affidavit strongly suggests that guys Nordean personally recruited to attend the January 6 riot not only knew to converge on the East doors at the same time that Biggs, the Oath Keepers, and Jones were also doing so, but played a key role in successfully breaching that door.

Update: Here’s a video of Loehrke’s activities that day (look for his maroon hood) put together by online researchers. They also note he’s a Marine, just like many of the other key figures behind the breach of the East doors.

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54 replies
  1. DaveC says:

    Brings up (again) that if one were an adversarial state intelligence agency, and aware of plans to storm the capitol, it would be an obvious opportunity to infiltrate the mob and potentially steal sensitive information of interest to the adversarial state intelligence agency. Possibly your infiltrators have some op-sec & specialized attack skills possibly not. Doesn’t have to be a Russian adversary, plenty of other US adversaries would drool over the opportunity. Sure hope DoJ & FBI are looking hard for that kind of thing.

    • subtropolis says:

      I saw a lot of speculation along those lines immediately after the coup attempt. It’s not realistic, imho. Especially the suggestion that foreign Intelligence officers might themselves have joined the crowd. (That’s not necessarily what you are saying but some people were.) That’s the stuff of really bad fiction. But, even sending an agent — some witting American — in with instructions to go find X is mildly outlandish. The SVR isn’t interested in smash & grab jobs. There wasn’t enough time to plan for that, and the target space is awfully narrow. They’d have been far more interested in simply doing what they could to help along America’s descent into chaos. (I don’t think that their influence was necessary but they might have been prodding things along in the weeks leading up to the big show.)

      Now, might they have been interested in Pelosi’s laptop after the fact? Perhaps, but I suspect that their response to an offer to buy it would be a firm “Nyet!”

      • Rugger9 says:

        Well, we did have the rioters looking for specific offices and taking off with laptops and other files, so it’s not as ridiculous as you seem to think. Chaos makes great cover for spooks.

        • mossyrock says:

          Most of that thievery i suspect was to be used a’ la O’keefe. the stealing of diaries and laptops is totally a right wing media thing for revealing outrageous behavior that might hopefully exist. something for a gotcha. but since their lies are so much better than anything they could have hoped to have found there has been little ado about it. I bet they thought they were going to find blueprints for the tunnels under the white house that q says are for….I will just say pizza parlor related issues. these men think like nerdy teenagers. its hard to imagine them navigating life without their facebook friends. and yet their danger matches their immaturity and so i fear them all.

        • subtropolis says:

          I agree, that some of the participants sought out specific offices is not at all unusual. It was stupid smash & grab stuff. What I cannot swallow is the notion that any spook would take the time to task one of their agents to slip in amongst the mob so as to make off with anything, including laptops. To believe that, one would have to accept that the spook had very high confidence that the mob would overwhelm security and wander at will inside the Capitol to the degree that they could force office doors, and that the laptop in question would contain something worthwhile. While we all know what went down that day, I’d think that most of us were genuinely shocked at how things transpired. It beggars belief that any spook would have judged that the day would play out like that.

      • timbo says:

        Why are you assuming that foreign intelligence operatives were not involved in this riot before it happened? There appeared to be several foreign run botnets ginning up all sorts of nonsense around the Big Lie narrative prior to Jan 6…why would it be a stretch for there to be more than just that?

        • subtropolis says:

          It seems as though you didn’t finish reading my comment.

          “I don’t think that their influence was necessary but they might have been prodding things along in the weeks leading up to the big show.”

          In fact, my assumption has always been that they’ve been “prodding things along” in that regard.

      • emptywheel says:

        Who has Patrick Byrne worked for since Maria Butina specifically targeted him? How hard would it be to recruit Mike Flynn, someone who already allowed himself to be recruited for chump change, at a time when his ego was vulnerable? What was the outcome of the foreign agent investigation of Stone that Billy Barr may have shut down?

        That’s how you’d influence this operation if you were a hostile foreign power.

  2. L. Eslinger says:

    Are people like Sidney Powell, Alex Jones, Ali Alexander (and on an on) members of an organized and centrally controlled conspiracy, or are they mainly aligned and directed by their psychopathy and opportunism?

    Likewise with the many violent, disaffected right-wing groups, which amount to dry kindling and other flammable materials that have been allowed to collect over the decades: are they part of a conspiracy, or simply primed and ready to burst into flame when the opportunity arises?

    Is what is being revealed the result of synergistic actions by a collection conspiracies, driven, if not created, by a variety of foreign and domestic actors?

    It’s concerning that there appears to be a strong potential for the house to be reignited and burn down while investigators are working to determine the constituents of an earlier fire. The work of the investigation must be done correctly and thoroughly, else the conclusions will be easy to impeach, but it is nerve wracking for people who care, but who can do nothing to help.

    • emptywheel says:

      I suggest you link through to the other posts.

      The Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys in FL (at a minimum) were coordinating. Joe Biggs was central to both. His former boss, Alex Jones, literally lured the mobs to the East side. And then, like magic, the doors opened.

      The thing to remember is that Joe Biggs is very close to all sides of this (including Stone, though he’s not directly implicated in the way Jones is).

      • gmoke says:

        Interesting to me that Ali Alexander has not been more prominently mentioned almost since January 6. He seems to have been subpoenaed by the J6 Committee but I don’t believe he’s been either indicted or arrested. Yet.

        Is he in hiding?

        • timbo says:

          Why are you so interested in Ali? Can you explain how he might be involved in a general conspiracy to the same level or more than Biggs or Alex Jones?

          • Leoghann says:

            I happened to read your comment, timbo, very soon after you posted it. It got me to thinking about just what Ali’s involvement really is, so far as we know. He is a constantly reappearing, very irritating and provocative, noisy mouth. But in re: Jan 6, seems to me he was involved in the physical part of the organizing, facilitating. He helped get contracts and paperwork together, and on social media he constantly played up the coming events and stoked the outrage. He appears to have been only a foot soldier, though, and not involved in any of the strategic planning, more of a useful idiot. Clearly he took his orders from someone highly involved. An odd thing about his involvement on the day is that, like the Kremers, he disappeared just as the real fun started, and viewed it from the safety of his phone or a television.

            • Eureka says:

              timbo and Leoghann:

              Among many other things (including being part of the “peaceful deal” with the WH and being “let out early” from the Ellipse with Jones, per Jones; directing followers to facilitate the delay, with a timeframe suggesting inside knowledge – previously linked SM posts), Alexander used front orgs for the crucial east-breach lure (which I’d call more than ~ ‘help w/paperwork’) and was in fact right up on the East steps with Jones and Shroyer. Look for him in the immediate background of all those “1776” Jones-at-bullhorn images. Unlike the Kremers, Alexander is too hardcore eager beaver to have left the scene.

              IOW, I’d never characterize him as a useful idiot or mere footsoldier, nor rank him down with the Kremers. There’s too much to review [Luke O’Brien’s HuffPo feature on him comes to mind, and there’s another backgrounder (not Will Somers’, tho that’s good) at the tip of my brain], but recall, too, that 1/6 was not the first Alexander-and-Jones Capitol theater. Their 11/18/20 “storming” of the Georgia State Capitol served as stoker and (effectively) dry run.

              • Eureka says:

                Some bang for the buck: includes (re:) AA re: his sources/the delay (scroll up for context) — which all looks even more compelling since the Eastman memo/ comms and WaPo publishing Pence chief counsel Greg Jacob’s draft editorial — and if you click through the linked tweet threads, there’s some from the East steps and AAs tweets at time of East breach, etc.:

                https://www.emptywheel.net/2021/08/03/brady-knowltons-lawyer-suggests-there-were-no-victims-on-january-6/#comment-898936


                In public appearances, the “deal” b/w Jones and AA is generally frontman-hypeman (respectively; there are egos to feed) but I recall AA getting pretty mouthy at the megaphone in one of these GA clips:

                https://www.emptywheel.net/2021/01/28/tunnels-and-trump-the-missing-details-in-the-oath-keeper-conspiracy/#comment-880044

                Also, never underestimate the power of tactical social media goading [AA & lieutenants’ perhaps more prominent roles, even if he/they (e.g. Michael Coudrey] often find their ways to the mic) to produce willing bodies, cf. Trump.

              • Eureka says:

                And the quicky highlight reel should *OF COURSE* include AA’s claiming credit for setting the whole thing up, roping in Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, and Mo Brooks before-the-fact as his co-schemers.

              • timbo says:

                Thanks for clarifying this issue more thoroughly and pointing to some of AA’s contributions to the fomentation on J6, Eureka!

              • Eureka says:

                IOW, I’d never characterize him as a useful idiot or mere footsoldier, nor rank him down with the Kremers.

                Ironic update this morning given parts of this convo. Turns out — in a statement published by NYT — that Ali Alexander really does want you to rank him with the Kremers (and Katrina Pierson), via a sly comparison where he claims that he was ~ out there trying to “STOP” the violence, while they had their feet up drinking donor champagne at the Willard “War Room”.

                Seems he’s hoping folks will get tripped by the outre, glossy falsehood and miss that he’s trying to create a mental frame where he is just like the Kremers. (Well, except for the “War Room in the Willard” part, cross-filed as ‘and also let me point your attention over there while I’m at it’.)

                # NiceTry, but and maybe not the cleverest of tactics…

                You can get to to Luke Broadwater’s thread and NYT article on the subject w/ Alan Feuer, plus Alexander’s statement via:

                https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1468610728177410052

                see also:

                https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1468651105546608642

                EW paints the continued echoes of Roger Stone at both tweets.

                *10:56 PM Sommer’s
                *11:28 PM tweet (of several) shown is at time of initial building breach on the other side

            • timbo says:

              I was just continually angered by the Alex Jones bullying nuttery to the point where I mostly avoided reading about him and his sphere of crazies up until recently. I hope they lock him up, frankly. He’s done a lot of harm to a lot of innocent people, victims of gun violence. And now he’s gone and trashed our nation’s capitol as well. Ugh.

              • emptywheel says:

                Those are for people whose crimes are clear but whose identities are not.

                Ali’s identity is clear but DOJ has to collect evidence of his crimes. Hopefully Congress will squeeze some out of him this week.

                • Rayne says:

                  That, and they found him to serve him a subpoena. They surely must have a lot on him to use as leverage already, given how freely and widely he acted before/during Jan 6, leaving a huge digital wake (like WildProtest dot com).

            • mossyrock says:

              the parents who did nothing to stop thier child from killing four children and wounding with firey bullets so many others ? dead children bleeding out on the linolium floor of the school s not a political conundrum. and besides she wrote a love letter to trump. for all we know they were there on the 6th. if Flynns brother hadnt been in charge waiting for the coup to succeed then who knows maybe the boy would have been in foster care getting help. i have kids in school today in texas. and if they are hurt i will pay to have any culprit brought to justice.

              • bmaz says:

                Huh. That’s swell. So YOU are going to go all vigilante are you? And are willing to lead the lynch mob on other bad parents. Nice.

          • emptywheel says:

            It should tell us that DOJ has worked their way through the militia conspiracies to the point where they can prove there was a plan to open a second front on the Capitol, and they have already arrested the easiest target of the people with Ali that day.

            Which is a whole shit ton of evidence that they’re getting there.

  3. JohnForde says:

    The marines who entered the capitol on J6 have got to bend “Semper fi” an awfully long way to make the meaning fit their behavior.
    I guess they are not semanticists.

    • Rugger9 says:

      The enlisted are geared more toward the ‘orders of the officers appointed above me’ part of their oath than the ‘defending the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic’ part. If they’re told by their leadership that their actions are defending against Bidenism and a stolen election, they will believe that.

      The officers have no excuse.

      • AlaskaReader says:

        That tracks like an attempt to provide cover, an apology or excuse for the enlisted.

        There is no excuse for seditionists, be they officers or those enlisted. They all took the same oath.

      • timbo says:

        They all have little excuse. Criminal behavior is criminal behavior. This occurred during the Congress performing an official function. And as for “Bidenism”, wtf is that even?

        • Rugger9 says:

          As for the enlisted, I’ll agree it’s not an excuse, but it’s merely an explanation for why they’re more inclined to be gung ho based on my own military experiences.

  4. A Better Mitch says:

    So, for those of us frothing at the mouth hoping to see Stone, Jones, Kremer, et al indicted, I’m not sure whether to put more stock in the description of meeting Powell in Sturgis as mere “happenstance” or FBI’s use of that photo “purportedly” for ID purposes. The headline certainly leads me to believe we’re getting there. I know,” be patient”, but as oracle and incredibly astute observer, you have responsibilities. (only part facetious comment, mostly thank you so much… I read the WAPO article yesterday and figured you’d have much more to say…getting most of my education right here.

  5. Eureka says:

    … But this Renaissance x 1970s revivalist photo of Zach Rehl right next to Brandon Fellows in Merkley’s office via Felipe Marquez’s sentencing memo: https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1466524032824754179 [left/first photo in this tweet]

    Is Rehl* (standing, face not shown, L hand on hat brim) on the comms, and is Fellows (seated, head tilted towards him) eavesdropping?

    Been appreciating this art for days. It’s like the the wypipo version of Ernie Barnes’ “Sugar Shack”.


    *also a former (paper-pusher, apparently) Marine, but later west entry

      • Eureka says:

        Did Foles ever go in? All I caught was the stream of tweets today of folks demanding to know why you wouldn’t put Foles in. /nagy

        Sunny in Negadelphia: https://twitter.com/RMcElhenney/status/1467606697673908230


        Adding: AND the Lions won! The cheers were SO LOUD. 4th & 2 & G at the last seconds.

        Now for another harrowing end as WFT just jumped ahead on a FG; :35 for the Chuckielesses to get something done.

        Rayduhs robbed on a no-call DPI…

          • Eureka says:

            And this (December) is Foles’ season, too, he’s got to be chomping at the bit (esp. after a pre-/early-season press conf. when he, as QB3, was promoting his ability to be a starter).

    • emptywheel says:

      Correct on both counts.

      I’ve been thinking of the this pic as MAGA’s Last Supper.

      Apparently the interesting meet up in Merkeley’s office was before that.

      • Eureka says:

        The gal smoking (lighting up) makes it. (As does the fact that the vanishing point is askance/wants to curve — the wrongness is just right.)

        I’m dying to know the “before” details.

      • Eureka says:

        OH — and I listened to your nice, crisp NPR interview during the sportsball timeouts. Helps for a smooth segment that Ayesha Rascoe is a good interviewer, too. But the funny thing was I’d seen Zephyr Teachout very early am on with Mehdi Hasan and was thinking gosh, we’ve got to get this woman elected. [That the decades of NY-based corruption they reviewed — and which she had flagged — didn’t but scratch the surface…] And then she appears (in your replies)!

        House expects to hear from Roger Stone, Alex Jones and Michael Flynn about Jan. 6
        December 5, 20218:09 AM ET
        https://www.npr.org/2021/12/05/1061600362/house-expects-to-hear-from-roger-stone-alex-jones-and-michael-flynn-about-jan-6

          • Eureka says:

            Yeah it might be easier to e.g. pry Stefanik out of NY-21 (speaking of general electoral problematics in NY and the relative difficulty level here). But Teachout means so well, and that’s got to count for something for AG. She has a broadly appealing case to make (esp.) if she can get past the primary (machinery).

              • Eureka says:

                (smiling; that’s accurate) I am a sucker for an underdog, aren’t we all? (Apparently not at the voting booth!)

              • Leoghann says:

                I think her main problem is that she’s too guileless for politics. She needs a manager who can get her strong points and her vision out, and guide her response to attacks. Because her opponents always portray her as weak.

  6. Bruce Olsen says:

    Since this post is about coincidences, I wonder how it was that a crowd of, ummm, concerned citizens happened to descend upon the home of doxxed Georgia poll worker Ruby Freeman on January 6, 2021.

    Why wait over a month from her doxxing?

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