When questioned by Senator Josh Hawley about if he considers Antifa and Black Lives Matter attacks on the courthouse in Portland to be “domestic terrorism,” Joe Biden’s Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland said he might not, because those attacks happened at night.
Garland said that his personal definition of domestic terrorism is the use of violence or threats of violence to interrupt the democratic process, therefore, attacks on buildings at night probably don’t count.
A federal magistrate judge has turned down prosecutors’ effort to block a man accused of participating in the Capitol riot from using Twitter and Facebook, but ordered him to end his involvement with a business he founded that the Justice Department says promotes and glorifies violent protests.
The defendant, John Sullivan of Utah, has maintained that he attends raucous demonstrations as a journalist, sharing videos through his Insurgence USA website and social media platforms. Sullivan’s defense attorney even filed invoices with the court showing that CNN and NBC each paid Sullivan’s firm $35,000 last month for rights to video he filmed of chaotic scenes outside and inside the Capitol, including the deadly shooting of protester Ashli Babbitt by a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
However, prosecutors contend that Sullivan is not a mere bystander or chronicler of protests. Instead, they say, he actively encourages violence, telling viewers how to make Molotov cocktails and evade identification by police. He was arrested last month on charges stemming from the Jan. 6 riot, including interfering with police during a civil disorder. Sullivan was later hit with an additional charge: obstruction of Congress.
At a hearing on Tuesday afternoon on Sullivan’s release conditions, Washington-based Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather split the difference between prosecutors seeking to eliminate Sullivan’s presence on the United States’ most popular social media platforms and a defense lawyer who decried what he said was an assault on his client’s constitutional rights.
“I am rejecting the broader prohibition on Twitter and Facebook and encrypted social media platforms,” Meriweather said, also ordering that Sullivan be taken off of 24-hour location monitoring via GPS.
For weeks the FBI, Democrats, and the fake news media have insisted there was no Antifa or far-left activist infiltration of the January 6th protests where activists stormed the US Capitol.
We already know this is false. The individuals who entered the US Capitol and caused damage on January 6th were not all Trump supporters.
Known members of Antifa were inside the Capitol and there was even an Antifa event called for that day at 11 AM nearby at the Washington Monument organized by John Sullivan that was closer to the US Capitol than the Ellipse where President Trump spoke to half a million supporters.
The most dramatic footage to emerge from the far-right storming of the US Capitol on January 6 depicted the lethal shooting of Ashli Babbit, a pro-Trump activist and military veteran, by a Capitol Police officer. The man responsible for capturing that video was John Sullivan, a self-styled activist who has operated under aliases “Activist X,” “Activist John,” and “Jayden X.” Since an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who described him as a “left-wing activist,” Sullivan has become Exhibit A in the right-wing’s conspiratorial case claiming Antifa was responsible for the violence in the Capitol.
Through interviews with Sullivan, his brother, a video-journalist documenting his exploits, and Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists who have encountered him, a more unsettling portrait has emerged that stands at stark odds with the pro-Trump narrative. While Sullivan has attempted to brand himself as a BLM leader, he has been effectively locked out from activist communities across the country, where he is almost universally regarded as a dangerous provocateur.
A close review of the raw footage he shot inside the Capitol and published on his personal YouTube channel shows him enthusiastically identifying with the right-wing rioters and their objectives, volunteering to use a knife to assist them, and instigating them to commit acts of violence on all the way up to the moment of Babbit’s shooting. He has insisted to me that he has no political ideology, while associates describe him as a nihilist committed to spawning chaos above all else.
In his appearance on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Sullivan was allowed to paper over this disturbing reality by portraying himself as an independent journalist who was merely documenting the pro-Trump mob. In the Washington Post, he was described as a “liberal activist,” while the centrist fact-checking organization Politifact referred to him as a “left-wing activist.” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes played Sullivan’s video at length during a January 8 broadcast, stating that it was “licensed from a self-described civil rights activist.”
Right-wing media has feasted on these characterizations to paint Sullivan as a leading Black Lives Matter figure, driving the narrative that the violence inside the US Capitol was the result of leftist infiltration, and not the well-coordinated pro-Trump operation it clearly was. Fox News has dedicated an entire article to Sullivan’s presence at the Capitol, describing him as an “anti-Trump activist” with close ties to Antifa and BLM.
Wednesday’s mob assault on Capitol Hill was shocking and brazen: Hundreds of MAGA-hat-wearing rioters broke into the seat of American democracy. They stormed the halls, looting property and assaulting law enforcers, all in service of an absurd political demand: reversing the outcome of an election.
Now where had I witnessed such scenes before? The answer: in blue-governed cities in my native Pacific Northwest throughout last summer and into the fall and winter.
The right-wing political violence was met with universal rebuke from politicians of both parties and the media. But many of those who are loudest in condemning the Capitol Hill riot went radio-silent when rioters destroyed and looted in the name of Black Lives Matter.
Anderson says he got banned from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in quick succession on Sunday night with little to no explanation after being vocal online about the attack he suffered at the hands of an Antifa activist, who knocked out his teeth.
He says it began with a notice on Sunday that his Facebook had been banned for 30 days. A screenshot of the notice provided to Human Events cites posts advertising the event that “didn’t follow [Facebook’s] community standards” against “dangerous individuals and organizations.”
But “an hour later,” Anderson says his Facebook was shut down completely.
Anderson showed Human Events evidence of at least one instance where a tweet of his, including a video of the assault, was shared to a Facebook account and flagged by Facebook as “False information” that had been “checked by independent fact-checkers.”
“I’m like you’re saying it’s false information that a man hit me in the face and my teeth came out my mouth like are you serious right now?” Anderson said.
“Instagram literally just banned me because the shadow ban wasn’t working anymore after Antifa knocked my teeth out yesterday and everyone was coming to follow me and look at my posts,” Anderson wrote on Twitter Sunday night “Instagram & Facebook are against our right to Free Speech and peaceful protest.”
His Twitter account was suspended shortly afterward.