Did the mob on Capitol Hill provide cover for yet another Russian intelligence operation — or was this a crime of idiotic opportunity? In court papers filed last night, the Department of Justice requested a warrant for Riley June Williams, one of the people in the mob and who appears in a video to be directing traffic for a specific purpose. That purpose, her “former romantic partner” told law enforcement, was to get Nancy Pelosi’s laptop and sell it to the Russians.
If this is the only foreign intel penetration from the January 6th sacking of Capitol Hill, we’d be lucky:
The FBI says in an arrest warrant filed late Sunday that a woman who was part of the mob that penetrated the U.S. Capitol earlier this month may have stolen a laptop computer or hard drive from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office with the intent of funneling the device to Russia’s foreign intelligence agency.
The bureau is seeking Riley June Williams, a Pennsylvania woman, on charges related to the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol, including entering a restricted building, disrupting the orderly conduct of government and engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct.
However, the complaint/arrest warrant says the FBI is investigating a claim that Williams stole a laptop or hard drive from the speaker’s office. According to one witness, described as a former romantic partner of Williams, the accused “intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service.”
The warrant application for Williams highlights this ITV News video documentary, starting at the 20:40 mark. The DoJ alleges that this shows Williams directing the mob to break into Pelosi’s office, with a specific purpose in mind:
9. In the days following the January 6, 2021, events, a witness (“W1”) made several phone calls into the FBI’s telephone tip line related to the U.S. Capitol attacks. I have reviewed documentation of several of those calls. In them, the caller stated that he/she was the former romantic partner of RILEY JUNE WILLIAMS (“WILLIAMS”), that he/she saw WILLIAMS depicted in video footage taken on January 6, 2021, from inside the U.S. Capitol Building. W1 stated that WILLIAMS can be seen directing crowds inside the U.S. Capitol Building up a staircase. The caller specified the uniform resource locator (“url”) for a YouTube video that he/she was describing as url: https://youtube.com/watch?v=jJiSmVktty4&feature=youtu.be. W1 also claimed to have spoken to friends of WILLIAMS, who showed W1 a video of WILLIAMS taking a laptop computer or hard drive from Speaker Pelosi’s office. W1 stated that WILLIAMS intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service. According to W1, the transfer of the computer device to Russia fell through for unknown reasons and WILLIAMS still has the computer device or destroyed it. This matter remains under investigation.
10. I have reviewed a publicly available video that was posted on YouTube located at the url https://youtube.com/watch?v=jJiSmVktty4&feature=youtu.be. It is a 32-minute long video, with audio, and consists of a video report called “Storming the Capitol: The Inside Story,” from ITV News, a British television network. I believe that this video report was both posted on YouTube and published in other media formats. At or about 20 minutes and 40 seconds into the video, there appears at the bottom of a staircase the subject, believed to be WILLIAMS, a Caucasian female wearing a green t-shirt and brown trench coat and carrying a black-and-white striped zebra-print bag over her shoulders. She has brown shoulder length hair and wears eyeglasses. She is wearing a black face mask below her chin, around her neck. She can be heard in the video repeatedly yelling, “Upstairs, upstairs, upstairs,” and can be seen physically directing other intruders to proceed up a staircase.
It’s not the only effort to dig up classified information by the mob. Other videos show people digging through Senate briefing binders looking for dirt to use against them, one involving Ted Cruz’ notebook. That was grimly amusing, as the people pawing through the papers clearly had trouble comprehending the material. One exclaims that it’s some sort of smoking gun before contradicting himself moments later, while another reacts that he always suspected Cruz was a traitor. They finally conclude that Cruz is all right after all, but it’s clearly an act of opportunity rather than some sort of well-considered plan.
Is the same true with Williams? She does seem determined to get the mob to move toward Pelosi’s offices, but that might be just because it’s Pelosi. Then there’s the matter of the blown transfer; how will the DoJ prove espionage — a potential death penalty charge — without an overt attempt to transfer the material to Russian agents? The word of a scorned lover might be enough for an arrest warrant, but it’s not going to hold up well in court. Williams might have just decided to get some cash from her pillaging and taken a page out of the script of Burn After Reading to get it, but good luck proving it with the information in this warrant.
Not that they need to make an espionage case to toss Williams behind bars for a good long time. So far they’re not charging Williams with insurrection, but they are charging her with a couple of felonies and a misdemeanor that would ensure sufficient prison time to set an example for others. The videos themselves are all the evidence they’ll need to make those charges stick … when they can find her.
By the way, Pelosi’s chief of staff confirmed a couple of days later that the laptop wasn’t used for classified communications, but instead only had “presentations” on it. It’s more like Burn After Reading than one might think.