The claim: A video shows antifa inside the Capitol building with floor plans and dressed as Trump supporters on Jan. 6, proving the attack was a setup
More than a year after hundreds of rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, false claims that antifa, a group of loosely affiliated, far-left-leaning activists, was involved in the Jan. 6 attack have resurfaced on social media.
A Facebook video shared July 15 shows a group of Jan. 6 rioters inside the Capitol discussing the building’s layout. “Where are the floor plans?” one man in the video asks, and another man shouts, “There is a door to the right. Let’s go.”
Other scenes in the video include a woman in a red sweater holding up a phone and another woman shouting instructions through a bullhorn on how rioters could enter other parts of the building.
“Antifa was ALREADY inside the Capitol with floor plans dressed as TRUMP supporters. I honestly hope you are all starting to get this now,” reads text bordering the clip. “This was 100% a setup.”
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The post generated over 17,000 views and 1,000 shares in less than a week.
But the claim is baseless.
Security experts told USA TODAY antifa was not involved in the Jan. 6 attack, and USA TODAY and other news outlets have repeatedly debunked the claim that antifa agitators played a role in the riot. The footage provides no evidence to support the claim. It shows pro-Trump rioters as the attack was underway; some of the rioters identified in the video are well-known Trump supporters.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment.
Video shows pro-Trump mob, not Antifa
Keven Ruby, a senior research associate at the University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Threats, told USA TODAY in an emailed statement that as of July, his team has gathered data on “over 900 individuals charged by the FBI, DC Police, or US Capitol Police for their role in the insurrection.”
But his team has found “no evidence of Antifa-involvement” in the Jan. 6 attack through their research.
“We cannot identify the people in the video and have no idea who they are,” Ruby said. “However, we see no evidence of Antifa in the video or any reason to think the individuals in the video are affiliated with Antifa.”
The FBI also said on Jan. 8, 2021, two days after the attack, that there was no indication “that individuals associated with antifa disguised themselves as pro-Trump supporters in order to provoke the mob at the U.S. Capitol,” according to CNBC.
Fact check: Arrests were made inside Capitol building on Jan. 6, and after
The claim that the mob was already inside the building and the attack was a setup is also false.
Ryan Reilly, an NBC News justice reporter, shared an hour and 10-minute long video on YouTube that shows a mass of protesters as they marched down the street and then became more violent, ultimately storming and climbing into the Capitol building.
According to Reilly, the video was obtained from federal prosecutors, and it contains footage that appears to be the same as that in the Facebook post, as PolitiFact reported.
For example, a man in the video and in the Facebook post shouts, “We just need a plan. We need enough people. We need to push forward.”
The woman in the red sweater shown in the Facebook post is also in Reilly’s video. A federal criminal complaint identifies her as Mariposa Castro, and news reports have referred to her as “a devoted Trump supporter.” A federal statement of offense says that she attended a Trump rally on Jan. 6 and later climbed into the Capitol through a broken window.
According to PolitiFact, the woman holding the bullhorn in the Facebook clip was Rachel Powell. The New Yorker reported that Powell “embraced Trump” during his term in the White House, and other news outlets have reported that she directed rioters to go inside the building.
Fact check roundup: Debunking false narratives about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot
USA TODAY was unable to independently identify all the rioters in the post.
This isn’t the first time false claims that antifa was involved in the Jan. 6 attack have surfaced. USA TODAY has debunked baseless assertions that a facial recognition firm claimed antifa infiltrated pro-Trump rioters at the Capitol building, that a known QAnon supporter present in the Capitol that day was actually part of antifa and that a “known antifa member” was paid $70,000 for his video of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a video shows antifa inside the Capitol building with floor plans and dressed as Trump supporters on Jan. 6, proving the attack was a setup. Experts said antifa was not involved in the Jan. 6 attack, and all evidence indicates that a pro-Trump mob was responsible for breaking into the Capitol building. Some of the rioters in the video are well-known Trump supporters. In addition, the footage does not prove that the attack was a setup. It shows events that occurred when the attack was underway.
Our fact-check sources:
- PolitiFact, July 19, No, video of rioters discussing Capitol ‘floor plan’ doesn’t prove Jan. 6 was antifa setup
- Keven Ruby, July 27, Email exchange with USA TODAY
- United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Nov. 24, 2021, USA v. Mariposa Castro: Statement of Offense
- United States District Court for the District of Columbia, March 3, 2021, USA v. Rachel Marie Powell: Grand Jury Indictment
- The United States Attorney’s Office, accessed July 28, Mariposa Castro
- United States District Court for the District of Columbia, February 5, 2021, USA v. Rachel Marie Powell: Criminal Complaint
- CNBC, Jan. 8, 2021, FBI says there is ‘no indication’ that antifa took part in U.S. Capitol riot
- Mediaite, Jan. 13, 2021, Shocking Footage Shows Trump Rioters Discussing Capitol Floor Plan, Plotting Strategy to Move Through the Building
- Ryan Reilly via YouTube, Oct. 25, 2021, January 6 Capitol Attack: Evidence in the Cody Mattice case
- New York Post, Jan. 13, 2021, New video shows Capitol protesters coordinating ‘to take this building’
- USA TODAY, Jan. 6, 2021, Timeline: How the storming of the U.S. Capitol unfolded on Jan. 6
- USA TODAY, Aug. 23, 2017, What is antifa and what does the movement want?
- CBS News Pittsburgh, June 7, Rachel Powell asks judge for ankle monitor to be removed
- The New Yorker, Feb. 1, 2021, A Pennsylvania Mother’s Path to Insurrection
- San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 22, An errant golf shot launched Mariposa Castro’s devotion to Trump. Now the Gilroy mom will be sentenced for storming the Capitol
- USA TODAY, Jan. 7, 2021, Fact check: False claim of facial recognition of antifa members during U.S. Capitol riot
- USA TODAY, July 29, 2021, Fact check: Misleading claim about ‘antifa member’ at Jan. 6 Capitol riot
- USA TODAY, Jan. 7, 2021, Fact check: Face-painted Capitol Building trespasser in horns is a known QAnon supporter
- USA TODAY, Jan. 4, Fact check roundup: Debunking false narratives about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot
- USA TODAY, June 25, 2021, Fact check: Claims of FBI role in Jan. 6 Capitol attack are false
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