Fact Check: Did 'Fake Trump Protesters' Organize Attack on the Capitol?

FBI investigations continue to identify and arrest those involved in the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

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On Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the events that day.

The Claim

Following the riot, many social media users claimed Antifa members posing as pro-Trump protesters were to blame for the violence and criminal activity.

This theory spread across social media, as users claimed that “fake” Trump supporters attended the rally and then led the rioting.

Representative Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) claimed evidence was growing that Antifa operatives were not only present, but “orchestrated” the attack and planned to “infiltrate the Trump rally by dressing like Trump supporters.”

Please, don’t be like #FakeNewsMedia, don’t rush to judgment on assault on Capitol. Wait for investigation. All may not be (and likely is not) what appears. Evidence growing that fascist ANTIFA orchestrated Capitol attack with clever mob control tactics.

Evidence follows:

— Mo Brooks (@RepMoBrooks) January 7, 2021

Greg Kelly told viewers on Newsmax that “these people don’t look like Trump supporters” because “Trump supporters don’t do these things.”

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Several clips now make clear that the FAKE TRUMP SUPPORTERS an Antifa MOB, was let in through the gates, directed, assisted in their break-in of the Capitol building, and encouraged inside..indicates likelihood that high-ranking Capitol Police were involved in Antifa planning.

— President-Elect Danny B. Goodog (@dannygoodog) January 7, 2021

The Facts

Law enforcement officials were quick to deny that there was evidence of Antifa involvement during the riots.

“We have no indication of that at this time,” Washington Field Office Assistant Director Steven D’Antuono said when asked about the potential involvement of Antifa during a briefing days after the attack.

According to The Hill, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin separately said that investigators had not seen evidence of Antifa presence.

During Tuesday’s questioning, Wray called the attacks on the Capitol acts of domestic terrorism and said there was no evidence that fake Trump supporters organized the siege.

“Based on your investigation so far, do you have any evidence that the Capitol attack was organized by ‘fake Trump protesters?'” Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asked Wray.

“We have not seen evidence of that at this stage certainly,” Wray responded.

“Certainly, while we’re equal opportunity and looking for violent extremism of any ideology, we have not to date seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to Antifa in connection with the 6th,” Wray continued. “That doesn’t mean we’re not looking, and we’ll continue to look. But at the moment we have not seen that.”

Wray also stated that the FBI found “quite a number of what we would call militia violent extremists,” including those who identify with the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, in the attacks.

“One of the things that is happening as part of this is that as we build out the cases on the individuals when we arrest them for the violence, we’re getting a richer and richer understanding of the different people’s motivations,” he said.

“But certainly as I said, militia violent extremism and some instances of racially motivated violent extremism, specifically advocating for the superiority of the white race.”

COONS: Has there been any evidence the riot was organized by people simply posing as Trump supporters?
WRAY: “We have not seen any evidence of that.”

COONS: Is there any evidence it was carried out by Antifa or BLM?
WRAY: “We have not seen any evidence to that effect.”

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 2, 2021

More than 300 people have been charged in connection with the attack at the Capitol.

A South Carolina man is facing charges after allegedly telling family members he assaulted and stole gear from a Capitol police officer during the attack. According to text messages cited in an FBI affidavit, William Robert Norwood III told his family on January 5 that he was “dressing in all black” so that he would look like Antifa and “get away with anything.”

“I got away with things that others were shot or arrested for,” Norwood wrote, according to the affidavit. “I fought 4 cops, they did nothing. When I put my red hat on, they pepper balled me.”

Newsweek reported that claims about Antifa plans to dress up as Trump supporters to blend into the crowd in D.C. were false.

The arrest of self-described activist and independent journalist John Sullivan bolstered initial claims of Antifa involvement in the riots, as Sullivan was pictured wearing a Trump hat to blend into the crowd as he entered the Capitol. There is no evidence that Sullivan is affiliated with Antifa, Black Lives Matter organizers or had any role in planning the attack.

Not “fake Trump protesters”

Not “antifa”

FBI Director Wray confirms there is no evidence for some Republicans’ false conspiracy theories about who attacked our democracy on January 6.

cc: @SenRonJohnson pic.twitter.com/rHZnfdCs29

— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) March 2, 2021

The Ruling


FBI Director Wray confirmed during his testimony Tuesday that there is no evidence that Antifa or “fake Trump supporters” organized the attack on the Capitol on January 6.

He said the investigations are ongoing and law enforcement continues to look into all those involved in the events that day.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing titled Threats to the Homeland, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on September 24, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Tom Williams-Pool/Getty

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