An anti-Trump activist who once said he wanted to “rip” the president out of office entered the Capitol Building Wednesday alongside a mob of pro-Trump protesters, but he said he was just there to “document” it.
“There’s this narrative going around right now that Antifa was the people there causing the riots, causing the tension, they were the only people breaking into the Capitol, and I wanted to be able to tell a part of history and show that that was anything but the case,” John Sullivan, the founder of Utah-based Insurgence USA, told Fox News Thursday.
Insurgence USA describes itself as “the revolution.” It began protesting racial injustice in policing last year following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
In August 2020 remarks to a small crowd at a Washington, D.C., intersection, Sullivan pointed to the nearby White House and unleashed a torrent of violent rhetoric. “We … about to burn this s— down,” he said. “We gotta … rip Trump right out of that office right there,” he continued, adding, “We ain’t about … waiting until the next election.” He then led the crowd in a chant of, “It’s time for revolution.”
Video of his remarks, which include graphic language, can be found here.
Sullivan told Fox News he didn’t notice other left-wing activists inside the building. But he added that he couldn’t know for sure without speaking to everyone individually.
“As far as being able to understand who is in the crowd, based on being around protests a lot … I didn’t see any people who were originally at BLM protests,” he said.
Sullivan says he was standing near Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt when she was shot and killed in the Capitol, and video appears to show him on the scene.
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Sullivan told Fox News he regularly attends protests to record what’s going on, including a clash involving Proud Boys on Tuesday near D.C.’s Black Lives Matter Plaza.
“It’s just recording, solely, and not being active in it,” he claimed, although he reportedly was arrested in connection with protests back in Utah over the summer and admitted climbing into the Capitol through a window.
His Insurgence USA group’s website advertised an event called “Kick These Fascists out of DC” on Wednesday around the same time as a pro-Trump rally near the National Mall.
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After the Trump rally, a mob of demonstrators breached the Capitol, ransacked congressional offices, and stormed the Senate floor, prompting a chorus of condemnations from members of both major parties. The breach interrupted a joint session of congress aimed at validating Joe Biden as president-elect. Congress reconvened later in the evening and finished the process.
Sullivan tweeted several videos taken inside the Capitol Wednesday. One contained an up-close view of the fatal shooting of Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, at a barricaded Capitol doorway. Police later said she’d been shot by an officer.
The acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin, announced a slew of charges in connection with the chaos Thursday, including for weapons possession, assault, and theft, and said more would come.
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Sullivan’s Utah arrest was in connection with a protest where a different protester allegedly shot a passing motorist during a confrontation, according to the Deseret News.
Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.