On Thursday, FBI agents arrested ex-Trump administration appointee Federico Klein, who served as an aide at the State Department during the Trump era — and participated in the January Capitol rioting. Klein was, to be clear, a Trump appointee — he was not a career official; his position was a political appointment. After his participation in the rioting, he continued working at the State Department up until his resignation on January 19, the day before Biden’s inauguration. Now, he is facing multiple federal felony charges after federal agents discovered that, among other travesties, Klein physically assaulted police officers at the Capitol with a riot shield that had been stolen from the police side.
Klein’s arrest marks the most direct link yet between the Trump team and the rioting. Klein was a presidential appointee in the Trump administration! The New York Times described his position in the government as “midlevel.” Besides his work in Trump’s presidential administration, Klein also worked on the Trump campaign and held a top-secret security clearance that was presumably connected to his work at the State Department and was renewed in 2019.
Federico Klein, the ex-State Dept aide arrested Thurs, was charged with assaulting an officer. He was videotaped in a tunnel using a riot shield to keep officers from closing doors. He was still a govt employee w.a top secret security clearance on Jan 6.https://t.co/aQrygXhS9c
— Katie Benner (@ktbenner) March 5, 2021
Meanwhile, according to the federal criminal complaint against him, Klein “physically and verbally engaged with the officers holding the line” at the Capitol on January 6, and, as summarized by The Washington Post, Klein “assaulted officers with a riot shield that had been stolen from police, the complaint said, and then used the shield to wedge open a door into the Capitol.”
Federico Klein is the first known member of the Trump administration to face criminal charges in connection with the storming of the Capitol building by a pro-Trump mob. https://t.co/9WlU5UsEVw
— ABC News (@ABC) March 5, 2021
Klein’s participation in the rioting apparently unfolded around a tunnel on Capitol Hill, where, at one point, Klein shouted out a demand for “fresh people” to come to the front of the Trump supporters’ side. Now, Klein’s federal felony charges include knowingly engaging in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds. Was there anyone else — including at the State Department — who wasn’t present at the Capitol but was aware of Klein’s participation in the rioting?
Amidst the violence in which Klein participated, rioting Trump supporters sought the murder of top government officials like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and then-Vice President Mike Pence. To that end, the rioters even put up a literal gallows outside of the Capitol building. What would have happened if the rioters got their hands on Pelosi or Pence? Infamously, on the day of the violence, then-President Trump justified the violence, insisting that the rioting was a supposedly logical outcome of the imaginary election fraud that he claimed was responsible for Biden’s victory. Trump was soon afterwards banned from Twitter, where he made those remarks.
In the time since the violence, Trump has continued to push his lies about the election, which the rioters used as a pretense for their actions in an attempt to forcibly stop the certification of Biden’s win, and other Republicans have helped provide a platform for Trump’s dangerous election lies.