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Image: Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside the US Capitol's Rotunda on Jan. 6, 2021
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside the US Capitol's Rotunda on Jan. 6, 2021.Olivier Douliery / AFP - Getty Images file

For the first time, Trump appointee arrested in connection with Jan. 6 riot

The Justice Department has charged more than 300 people with taking part in the Jan. 6 riot, but now, a Trump appointee is among those arrested.


Nearly two months after the deadly insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol, the prosecutorial phase is well underway. NBC News reported last week, for example, that the Justice Department has charged more than 300 people with taking part in the Jan. 6 riot.

"The investigation into those responsible is moving at a speed and scale that's unprecedented, and rightly so. Those responsible must be held to account, and they will be," acting Deputy Attorney General John Carlin said.

This week, however, one of the suspects being held to account was different from the other 300. Politico reported overnight:

The FBI on Thursday arrested Federico Klein, a former State Department aide, on charges related to the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, marking the first known instance of an appointee of President Donald Trump facing criminal prosecution in connection with the attempt to block Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's victory.... Klein worked on Trump's 2016 campaign and was then hired at the State Department. As of last summer, he was listed in a federal directory as serving as a special assistant in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and was designated as a "Schedule C" political appointee.

To be sure, many of the individuals who've been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 attack have explicitly said they were inspired by Donald Trump and his anti-election lies to commit acts of violence. But Federico Klein is the first official appointed directly by Trump to face these kinds of allegations.

While the FBI would not discuss the details of the case, NBC News reported that Klein was seen on video assaulting police officers during the attack on the Capitol: "The FBI says in court documents that Klein can be seen resisting officers, attempting to take items from them, and assaulting them with a riot shield. The documents allege he 'violently shoved the shield into an officer's body in an attempt to breach the police line.'"

The same report added that Klein "possessed top-secret security clearance" through his position at the State Department.

Meanwhile, as Rachel noted on last night's show, there are ongoing questions about whether members of Congress were in communication with pro-Trump rioters two months ago. CNN ran this report yesterday, which has not been independently confirmed by MSNBC or NBC News.

Federal investigators are examining records of communications between members of Congress and the pro-Trump mob that attacked the US Capitol, as the investigation moves closer to exploring whether lawmakers wittingly or unwittingly helped the insurrectionists, according to a US official briefed on the matter. The data gathered so far includes indications of contact with lawmakers in the days around January 6, as well as communications between alleged rioters discussing their associations with members of Congress, the official said.

The CNN report added that if federal investigators were to find probable cause that lawmakers or their aides possibly assisted the insurrectionists, "they could seek warrants to obtain the content of the communications." At this point, however, there's "no indication they've taken such a step."

Watch this space.