Jan. 6 defendants fan the flames after Trump's Mar-a-Lago raid: 'This is war, this is absolute war'
- The FBI raid on Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago compound has set off a firestorm of Republican fury.
- Among those invigorated are some of Trump's most dedicated fans: Capitol riot defendants.
Multiple Capitol riot defendants took to the internet with incendiary messages in the aftermath of the Monday FBI raid at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago compound — even as some of those offenders await sentencing for their role in the January 6 attack.
The FBI earlier this week conducted a search at the former president's South Florida resort as part of its investigation into his handling of classified and sensitive documents, according to several reports. A lawyer for Trump told media outlets on Tuesday that agents took about 12 boxes of records during the search.
The unprecedented move by the Justice Department set off a firestorm of Republican fury as the former president and several GOP lawmakers flung accusations of misconduct and partisan politicking at the agency.
"For a large section of Trump's base, this probably energized them to some extent," Chris Haynes, a politics professor at the University of New Haven told Insider.
Among those seemingly invigorated by Monday's raid are some of Trump's most fervent supporters — those devotees who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in an effort to stop the certification of President Joe Biden's win.
But even though federal prosecutors have frequently cited rioters' own pre-siege social media posts in charging documents against them, some Jan. 6 defendants couldn't resist weighing in on the most recent Trumpian drama.
"This is war, this is absolute war."
The YouTuber known as Baked Alaska waded into the controversy this week during a livestream. Baked Alaska, whose real name is Anthime Gionet, pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanor charge related to his role in the insurrection, during which he livestreamed himself for nearly 30 minutes as he urged other rioters to enter the Capitol, prosecutors have said.
"We need to win the midterms or literally die," Gionet said during a Tuesday livestream where he discussed the Mar-a-Lago raid.
Gionet, who is set to be sentenced in January 2023, faces a possible maximum sentence of six months in prison.
Throughout the livestream, Gionet was careful to couch his language, repeating several times that he wasn't condoning violence or encouraging law-breaking. But the influencer couldn't completely avoid inflammatory language throughout the hours-long stream.
"This is war, this is absolute war," he said. "It's insane what they're doing to Donald Trump. If they can do it to him, they can do it to anyone. You've seen them do it to me."
Gionet encouraged his listeners to pray for the former president and vote for Republicans in the upcoming midterms.
"Imagine [Trump] wins and we take power and never give it up, ever, ever," he said.
Gionet's musings previously put his plea deal in danger after he told a judge he believed he was innocent ahead of entering a guilty plea. He ultimately pleaded guilty instead of opting for a trial.
"I hope [Trump]…destroys the FBI," Gionet said on Tuesday. "In a legal way. I'm not talking about violence."
Attorneys for Gionet did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
"Are we not in a cold civil war at this point?"
Other Capitol riot defendants have also likened Monday's raid to the start of a war.
A username linked to Slaeker, "bananaguard62," added the comment under a post urging Trump supporters to "lock and load" and head to Mar-a-Lago in the hours following the raid, the outlet reported.
Slaeker has yet to be sentenced for his role in the siege after he pleaded guilty to one count of entering and remaining in a restricted building.
"I am awaiting sentencing for trespassing into the Capitol," he wrote on the forum. "I am only being careful with my words."
Slaeker did not have an active attorney listed.
Brandon Straka, a January 6 defendant who was already sentenced to three months of home detention in January after pleading guilty to a disorderly conduct charge, has garnered a massive online following as a pro-Trump influencer known for staging political stunts.
Straka on Monday posted an ominous message on his social media platforms following the raid.
"The FBI raiding Trump will only be the beginning," he wrote. "I've been trying as hard as I can to get the right to listen. God help us all."
But it's not just Capitol riot defendants who are stoking the fire. And the internet users not currently entangled in federal legal issues are often prone to putting it even more bluntly.
One user on Trump's preferred Truth Social warned that further action against the former president would be "the lighting of a civil war fuse," and predicted that "lead will fly," in messaging that reads eerily similar to much of the language that populated far-right forums and social media platforms ahead of the January 6 attack.
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