House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is urging his fellow Republicans to stop spreading misinformation about the Capitol riots. After several GOP lawmakers falsely claimed the Wednesday violence at the Capitol was caused by Antifa, McCarthy, during a call Monday, denied those allegations.
According to a source familiar with the call who spoke to The Hill, "McCarthy told all members on the call that he has been receiving FBI briefings." He said these briefings have made "clear that Antifa was not behind" the storming of the Capitol, which left five people dead. McCarthy reportedly told members of his GOP conference "that it was in fact right-wing extremists and QAnon adherents" and urged "members to stop spreading false information to the contrary."
McCarthy's remarks come after a number of Republicans, in the days since the Jan. 6 riots, have placed blame on Antifa. Speaking on the House floor after the mob was cleared, Rep. Matt Gaetz said, "I don't know if the reports are true, but The Washington Times has just reported some pretty compelling evidence from a facial recognition company that some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters — they were masquerading as Trump supporters and, in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group Antifa," NBC News reported. The claim was been supported by other GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Mo Brooks, who said on Twitter, "evidence growing that fascist ANTIFA orchestrated Capitol attack with clever mob control tactics."
President Donald Trump has even reportedly attempted to shift blame away from himself, as charged in the Monday House Democrat-introduced impeachment article, and to Antifa. Axios reported he told McCarthy during a Monday phone call “Antifa people” stormed the capitol. CBS News reported that Trump also took partial responsibility for the riots during the call.
Despite these claims, there has been no evidence to support them. On Friday, FBI Washington Field Office assistant director Steven D'Antuono said during a briefing, "we have no indication…at this time" of any potential involvement of Antifa. Last week, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin also said investigators had not seen evidence of Antifa's presence.
The QAnon conspiracy theory dates back to 2017 and centers on a supposed "deep state" acting against Trump, who is trying to take down a Satanic cult of pedophiles. As McCarthy noted, a number of “QAnon adherents” have been identified as being involved in the Capitol riot, including "QAnon Shaman" Jacob Anthony Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, who has since been taken into police custody and charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.