Cowboys for Trump founder arrested following Capitol riot
The founder of the group Cowboys for Trump, a New Mexico county commissioner, was arrested on Sunday over his alleged role in the Capitol riot earlier this month.
Couy Griffin confirmed in an interview with FBI agents that he was present at the riot, according to a federal affidavit. Griffin said in a video posted to the Cowboys for Trump Facebook page that he “climbed up on the top of the Capitol building and … had a first row seat,” the affidavit says.
In the same now-deleted video, he allegedly said that “You want to say that that was a mob? You want to say that was violence? No sir. No ma’am. No we could have a 2nd Amendment rally on those same steps that we had that rally yesterday. You know, and if we do, then it’s gonna be a sad day, because there’s gonna be blood running out of that building. But at the end of the day, you mark my word, we will plant our flag on the desk of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and Donald J. Trump if it boils down to it.”
Prosecutors said Griffin told FBI agents on Jan. 11 that he traveled to the nation’s capital with Matt Struck, who “runs media” for the Cowboys for Trump organization. Griffin said he expected the demonstration at the U.S. Capitol to be peaceful and that he was “caught up” as a mob entered the Capitol building.
Griffin reportedly said that neither he nor Struck actually entered the Capitol building, instead remaining on the building’s steps. He added that he exited the grounds of the U.S. Capitol “peacefully” and that “police never asked him to leave the area.”
Federal officials said that Griffin’s placement, as documented in several videos shared on Facebook, were “well within the restricted area” of the Capitol building, according to the affidavit.
The Cowboys for Trump founder was charged on Sunday with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority. He was arrested in Washington, D.C.
Griffin also told federal officials that he planned to travel to Washington, D.C., again for a rally on Jan. 20. He told FBI special agents that “he hopes a change in leadership can be accomplished ‘without a single shot being fired,’ but noted that there was ‘no option that’s off the table for the sake of freedom,’ ” according to the affidavit.
Griffin also addressed his actions at the riot during an Otero County, New Mexico council meeting on Jan. 14, according to the FBI. He said that he led a group in prayer “outside the Capitol, but up where the president is inaugurated at.”
At the council meeting, Griffin said he intended to bring weapons to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20 to protest President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, including a rifle and a revolver.
The New Mexico man previously made headlines after President Trump shared a video in May featuring Griffin at a rally saying that he has “come to a place where I’ve come to the conclusion that the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”
“I say the reason why the only good Democrat’s a dead Democrat — I’m saying it politically speaking and I’m saying it because we need to have majorities in the House and the Senate,” he added later. “It’s the only way that we’re gonna put the breaks on an out-of-control governor.”
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