capitol attack aftermath
February 23, 2021

On Tuesday, the former leaders of the Capitol Police and other authorities entrusted with protecting the Capitol building testified about the Jan. 6 attack, telling conflicting stories about what happened that day. One thing that clearly didn't happen was what Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) shared during his chance to question the law enforcement leaders: An account of the day published in the conservative publication The Federalist alleging those who broke into the Capitol were seemingly professional provocateurs and not the "working-class" people seen protesting outside early in the day.

That suggestion flew in the face of testimony from former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who said Tuesday that the attack was "pre-planned," and insurgents were "well equipped, coordinated, and prepared to carry out a violent insurrection at the United States Capitol." And when the hearing ended, Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) made it clear that Johnson's allegations weren't correct.

At around the same time Johnson was sharing the conspiracy theory, federal prosecutors unsealed a case against a Capitol attacker who, in the weeks after the attack, had made it clear left-wing provocateurs weren't behind the siege, HuffPost reports. Jose Padilla, prosecutors said, used online forums to detail his experiences at the insurrection, making it clear that "the guy breaking the windows weren't antifa," but rather "patriots." Kathryn Krawczyk

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