No, the “leader of antifa” did not storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, regardless of what Trump’s impeachment lawyer claimed before the Senate.
Trump’s defense team: “According to publicly available reporting, it is apparent that extremists of various different stripes and political persuasions preplanned and premeditated an attack on the capitol. One of the first people arrested was the leader of antifa.” pic.twitter.com/jGySTtchaO
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) February 12, 2021
“According to publicly available reporting, it is apparent that extremists of various different stripes and political persuasions preplanned and premeditated an attack on the capitol,” said van der Veen. “One of the first people arrested was the leader of antifa.”
According to the , there is no evidence of antifa involvement in the Jan. 6 attack. There’s no evidence, in fact, of any left-wing group playing a role in the violence at the Capitol that day. Furthermore, there is no “leader” of antifa, which is short for “antifacist,” as there is no founding body or official organization.
Righ-wing outlets and conspiracy theorists have been spreading these falsehoods about antifa involvement since the day the Capitol was stormed. In his defense of Trump, van der Veen even added to the unfounded claims about antifa’s involvement at the Capitol by saying the “leader of antifa” was arrested.
It’s unclear who exactly Trump’s lawyer was referring to at the Senate trial. However, it’s likely he was talking about John Sullivan, a man whom right-wing pundits have focused on since he was arrested after storming the Capitol.
Sullivan was previously involved with Black Lives Matter events in Utah over the summer. However, official BLM organizations have and distanced themselves from Sullivan, months before the violence on Jan. 6. Activists have described him as a “provocateur” and “grifter.” One BLM organizer called Sullivan a “clout chaser.” He has no affiliation with antifa or any Black Lives Matter groups.
As for what Trump’s lawyer said about “extremists of various different stripes and political persuasions” being involved in the events that took place in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6…that is true in one sense.
Believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and an assortment of other right-wing stripes and persuasions did all descend on the Capitol that day, all united by their far-right ideologies and their goal of overturning the election results in favor of President Trump.