Capitol rioter apologises on CNN – and blames Trump for his actions

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Accused Capitol rioter Anthony Antonio appears on CNN to apologise for participating and to blame his actions on Donald Trump (screengrab)
Accused Capitol rioter Anthony Antonio appears on CNN to apologise for participating and to blame his actions on Donald Trump (screengrab)

One of the alleged Capitol rioters went on CNN to apologise for his actions – and to blame Donald Trump for calling on him and others to attack the Capitol.

Anthony Antonio appeared on CNN on Friday to offer a mea culpa for his participation in the botched insurrection that left five people dead.

He said that he went to Washington, DC on the day of the riot because Mr Trump had indicated he wanted the event to be "big" and "wild."

"The President of the United States – who at the time he was still the President of the United States – calls all of us to DC," Mr Antonio said. "'Let's go check it out. Let's go see why he's calling us to DC.'"

Mr Antonio also took the opportunity to apologise to a Capitol police officer that he assaulted during the riot and to shift blame from himself and onto the former president.

"He called people to Washington DC that day. He said 'march down to the Capitol.' I personally would not have marched down Pennsylvania Avenue and walked to the Capitol, on the grass of the Capitol ..." he said. "I told you where I was supposed to go. I was supposed to go to Freedom Plaza, that was my plan ... if [Mr Trump] didn't say 'go down to the Capitol' I wouldn't have gone down to the Capitol."

Since the day of the insurrection, 465 people have been arrested for attacking the Capitol, and that number is likely to increase as the Department of Justice uncovers more evidence.

At least 50 of the rioters served or have served in the military.

The Department of Justice said the Capitol investigation is likely the most complex that it has ever undertaken. Not only are there hundreds of indictments to bring against individual rioters, but investigators are also trying to build a conspiracy case against the Proud Boys and the Three Percenter and Oath Keeper gangs for their coordinated attacks against Capitol police.

Many of the Capitol rioters have attempted to escape or reduce their charges by blaming Mr Trump for inciting the event.

Perhaps most notable of rioters using this defence is Jacob Chansley, better known as the buffalo headdress wearing "QAnon Shaman".

Mr Chansley's defence lawyer, Albert Watkins, sparked criticism and condemnation when he suggested that his client and other accused rioters "had brain damage" and were "f****** short-bus people".

He also claimed that the accused rioters were not "bad people" but said they had been brainwashed by Mr Trump's propaganda, which he likened to that of Hitler.

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