The so-called QAnon Shaman who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week in Viking garb before sitting in Vice President Mike Pence’s chair on the Senate dais admitted to federal agents he intended to return to D.C. to “protest” President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“I’ll still go, you better believe it,” Jacob Chansley bragged in an interview with FBI agents the day after the violent insurrection. “For sure I’d want to be there, as a protestor, as a protestor, fuckin’ a.”
The admission by Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, is one of several that prosecutors detailed in an 18-page detention memo arguing for the 33-year-old Arizona man to be held before trial.
On Friday evening, U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Fine ordered that Chansley be detained. “I have no confidence that he will follow my court orders,” Fine said, calling Chansley an “active” participant in “a violent insurrection.”
Prosecutors said in their memo that there was strong evidence that the intent of the Capitol rioters, including Chansley, “was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government.” But they walked back the allegation during Chansley’s hearing, only saying that they might be able to prove it at trial.
Chansley, who was photographed shirtless, carrying a spear and a bullhorn and wearing a headdress made of coyote skin and buffalo horns, was arrested Saturday in Arizona and charged with civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, disorderly conduct in a restricted building, and demonstrating in a Capitol building.
He called the FBI on Jan. 7 to admit he was at the riots and that “he came ... with other ‘patriots’ from Arizona, at the request of the President that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C.,” a criminal complaint says.
He was among a small group that stormed the Senate chamber—along with an Air Force vet holding zip ties and an Alabama man armed with a knife who said God told him to enter the building. After getting into the chamber “by the grace of God,” Chansley said he was glad he sat in Pence’s chair because Pence “is a child-trafficking traitor,” the memo states.
Chansley admitted that he left a chilling note on Pence’s desk stating, “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” But he told the FBI he “did not mean his note to Vice President Pence... as a threat.”
Prior to the riot, Chansley had “previously espoused identifying and then ‘hanging’ ‘traitors’ within the United States government,” the memo says.
“His status as a symbol of the insurrection, his actions inside the Capitol building, and his demonstrated disregard of orders while inside with the goal of disrupting official Congressional proceedings, demonstrate the danger his release would pose,” prosecutors argued in the memo.
“At this juncture in our Nation’s history, it is hard to imagine a greater risk to our democracy and community than the armed revolution of which Chansley has made himself the symbol.”
Prosecutors said Chansley should be detained because the “self-proclaimed leader” of QAnon has previous felonies, doesn’t have a stable job, and lied to authorities about his drug use, telling them he only smoked weed “three times weekly in the past” but bragging on a podcast about taking mushrooms and peyote regularly.
“Additionally, a full portrait of Chansley’s apparent mental health issues—which he has publicly-disseminated, and which include strongly-held false mystical beliefs and leadership in a dangerous extremist group, QAnon founded on an imaginary conspiracy theory—were not [disclosed by him],” the memo says, adding that Chansley has previously said he thinks he’s “an alien.”
QAnon believers think that the world is controlled by a cabal of pedophile-cannibals in the Democratic Party, Hollywood, and banking. They await the day that Trump and the military will arrest and execute all political opponents in a much-awaited purge they call “The Storm.”
An attorney for Chansley, however, argued that his client is not a threat because he was merely accepting “President Trump’s invitation to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol.”
“Given the peaceful and compliant fashion in which Mr. Chansley comported himself, it would be appropriate and honorable for the president to pardon Mr. Chansley and other like-minded, peaceful individuals who accepted the president’s invitation with honorable intentions,” Albert Watkins said in a Thursday statement.
During a rally that preceded the insurrection, Trump told protesters that Pence had the ability to overturn the election result and told followers to “fight like hell” against the legitimate election result.
“And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you.… We are going to the Capitol, and we are going to try and give... our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re try—going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country,” Trump told the crowd.
Amid outcry over his inflammatory rhetoric that incited the mob, Trump has doubled down on his remarks, calling them “totally appropriate.”