Far-right internet celebrity "Baked Alaska" faces federal charges in Capitol riot
From CNN's David Shortell and Sara Sidner
Authorities in Houston Friday arrested a popular far-right internet celebrity accused of livestreaming his storming of the US Capitol on January 6, the Justice Department said.
Anthime Joseph Gionet, who goes by the username “Baked Alaska” on social media, was filming as he traipsed through the halls of the building and into private offices, at one point putting his feet up on a table, at another point turning his phone around to show his own face, according to an FBI affidavit.
Gionet is charged with unlawfully entering the building and disorderly conduct while inside. It wasn't clear whether he had retained legal representation on Saturday, and his case has not yet been publicly listed in online court filings.
At one point, the affidavit says, Gionet told a law enforcement officer while inside the Capitol that he was a member of the media. He is later heard on the video accusing a law enforcement officer of shoving him. That claim was not backed up on the video, according to the affidavit.
2:21 p.m. ET, January 16, 2021
Kamala Harris will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
From CNN's Jasmine Wright
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in Wednesday by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, according to a Harris aide.
She’ll take her oath of office using two Bibles, one that previously belonged to Regina Shelton and another which belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Harris has credited Shelton with being like a second mother to her, as she often visited Shelton’s house daily after school along with her sister Maya. And for Marshall, Harris has often said he was one of the inspirations for her legal career.
Harris used Shelton’s Bible to be sworn as California’s attorney general, the aide added.
ABC News was first to report on the Harris and Sotomayor news.
7:38 p.m. ET, January 16, 2021
Virginia man arrested at downtown DC checkpoint found with loaded handgun and ammunition
From CNN's Peter Morris and David Shortell
US Capitol Police arrested a Virginia man as he attempted to pass through a police checkpoint in a locked-down zone of downtown Washington, DC, Friday with “unauthorized” inaugural credentials, an unregistered handgun and over 500 rounds of ammunition, according to court documents.
Shortly after 6:30 p.m., Wesley Allen Beeler, 31, stopped at the checkpoint just north of the Capitol building, according to a police affidavit made public Saturday, and presented the credential that was “not authorized to enter the restricted area.”
Beeler was released from custody Saturday after a brief court appearance in Washington, DC, Superior Court. A law enforcement official said that investigators do not consider him a threat to public safety.
When police asked Beeler if he was carrying any weapons, Beeler told them he had a Glock semi-automatic pistol in the center armrest, according to the court document, which noted that the gun was loaded.
Police later recovered the pistol, as well as 509 rounds of ammunition, shotgun shells and a magazine for the handgun, according to an incident report provided by the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department. Beeler was arrested for possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of unregistered ammunition, among other offenses, the report said.
CNN had originally reported that the credential Beeler presented was “fake,” citing the law enforcement official, but the affidavit released Saturday described it as “unauthorized.”
Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said Beeler had presented “a non-government issued credential.”
In an interview, Beeler's mother, Charlotte Beeler, said that her son worked in armed security and had been on a job in the Capitol area for the past few days.
He was ordered to stay out of DC except for in-person court appointments and meetings with his lawyer. Government prosecutors had not opposed his release under the conditions.
Beeler appeared via video conference in the hearing wearing a dark jacket and a face mask. He spoke only briefly, once telling a judge "yes, ma'am," when asked if he understood the conditions of his release.
He is scheduled to return to court in June.
UPDATE AND CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to add in new information from the court proceedings. It also clarifies that the ID was "unauthorized."
12:44 p.m. ET, January 16, 2021
Michigan "preparing for the worst" as security measures tighten around capital, Lansing mayor says
“We're hoping for the best. We’re hoping for a peaceful protest. We believe in First Amendment rights, but we’re preparing for the worst,” Lansing Mayor Andy Schor told CNN.
A fence has been erected around the capitol and lawmakers will not be inside the building starting Monday through Thursday. The state's Capitol Commission banned the open carry of firearms inside the building starting Monday.
These are all “precautionary measures,” Schor said.
“Downtown is a vibrant neighborhood and residents and businesses there should feel confident knowing that the Lansing Police Department is working closely with the Michigan State Police, Ingham County Sheriff’s Department and other police agencies to ensure these planned events remain peaceful,” Andy Schor said in a statement Saturday. “I am asking residents and those who live in the Lansing area to stay out of the downtown area and to not engage with demonstrators who come to our city with ill intentions."
In May, protesters — some of whom were armed — entered inside the building to demand an end to the state's state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.
9:09 a.m. ET, January 16, 2021
Biden's inauguration is just days away. Here's how DC is tightening security to prepare.
From CNN's Eric Levenson and Jon Passantino
More than a week after the pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol, the area around Capitol Hill is under strict security. Members of the National Guard were present all around, including inside the Capitol, and new fencing blocked off the perimeter of the area.
DC Police Chief Robert Contee said on Wednesday that more than 20,000 National Guard members could be expected in the District for Biden's inauguration, though he noted the final numbers will be provided by the US Secret Service.
The officials added that there is no concern that there will be any shortage of Guard forces to meet requirements from the 50 States and the District of Columbia.
Contee told reporters he remains concerned amid a "major security threat" ahead of the inauguration and planned demonstrations in the District this weekend.
"I've been concerned before today and will be through this weekend, and beyond," Contee said on Wednesday.
He also praised DC Mayor Muriel Bowser's security posture, including discouraging people from coming to DC for the inauguration.
"There's a major security threat, and we are working to mitigate those threats," he added.
The National Mall will be closed to the general public on Inauguration Day due to security concerns, the National Park Service (NPS) announced Friday.
The temporary public closure began Friday morning and will extend through at least Thursday, January 21. The NPS says protests will be allowed in designated locations and will be limited to those with permits.
CNN's Pete Muntean reports from outside Capitol Hill:
10:01 a.m. ET, January 16, 2021
Biden fills out State Department nominations
From CNN's Jasmine Wright
President-elect Joe Biden has announced a number of nominations for the State Department, including Wendy Sherman nominated to be deputy of the agency.
Other key figures in this rollout are:
Brian P. McKeon nominated to be deputy secretary for Management and Resources
Bonnie Jenkins as the under secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs
Victoria Nuland is nominated to be under secretary for Political Affairs
Uzra Zeya for under secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
Biden has already named longtime aide Anthony Blinken to be nominated as his Secretary of State.
8:08 a.m. ET, January 16, 2021
Authorities are investigating police officers who allegedly participated in the Capitol riot
From CNN's Zachary Cohen
Authorities are investigating a growing number of current law enforcement officers who allegedly participated in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.
"Unfortunately as this case goes on we're seeing indications that law enforcement officers, both former and current, maybe who have been off duty, participating in this riot activity," Michael Sherwin, acting US Attorney for the District of Columbia, said Friday.
Two police officers from Rocky Mount, Virginia, were arrested Thursday on federal charges relating to the riot, Sherwin said.
"We don't care what your profession is, who you are, who you are affiliated with, if you are conducting or engaged in criminal activity, we will charge you and you will be arrested," Sherwin said.
Additionally, Steven D'Antuono of the FBI's Washington Field Office, said Friday that the most "egregious" of the pro-Trump extremists from last week's Capitol attack are the ones who are charged with assaulting law enforcement.
"You attack one of us, you attack all of us," D'Antuono said.
Sanford, a retired firefighter, was arrested on Thursday in Pennsylvania and accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three police officers in the head while they were in part of the crowd on a Capitol terrace. Sanford now faces four federal criminal charges related to the riot, including assaulting, resisting or impeding officers on duty.
Stager, of Arkansas, faces a criminal charge related to allegedly beating a uniformed officer. He allegedly used a flagpole that had an American flag on it to hit the officer as he lay on the ground surrounded by the mob, according to court records in DC District Court.
There are no known arrests related to the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick but the FBI is investigating "several" people, two law enforcement officials told CNN.
Earlier Friday, D'Antuono said his investigators are "making progress" on the investigation into the death of the officer.
The incident with Sanford is unrelated, he added.
D'Antuono said investigators are looking at "anyone and everyone" who may be involved, but did not give specifics on the scope of the investigation.
The New York Times was first to report multiple people were being looked at in the probe.