National Security

Woman accused of directing Capitol rioters with bullhorn arrested

A woman who federal prosecutors say was directing a mob with a bullhorn during the riot at the Capitol last month was arrested on Thursday and charged with multiple federal crimes.

Rachel Marie Powell was arrested in Pennsylvania, according to documents posted on the Department of Justice’s website. Powell is facing five charges, including depredation of government property, entering a restricted area with a dangerous weapon and obstruction of an official proceeding, an offense that carries a possibility of up to 20 years in prison.

According to a CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh, Powell was arrested Thursday night in New Castle, Pa.

The FBI identified Powell as a woman who was seen in viral social media and news footage blaring instructions to rioters who were breaching the Capitol building on January 6. According to an affidavit from an FBI investigator, Powell was identified with the help of an anonymous tip after the bureau posted images of her from the Capitol riot on a wanted poster.

The affidavit shows pictures of a woman wearing a pink hat helping to use a large pipe as a battering ram to break into the Capitol building.

It’s unclear whether Powell has an attorney.

Earlier this week, The New Yorker magazine published an interview with Powell in which she admitted that she was the woman wielding the bullhorn in the widely-seen videos of the riot. She told the outlet that she had not been part of any conspiracy to break into the Capitol.

“I was not part of a plot—organized, whatever,” Powell said. “I have no military background. … I’m a mom with eight kids. That’s it. I work. And I garden. And raise chickens. And sell cheese at a farmers’ market.”

“Listen, if somebody doesn’t help and direct people, then do more people die?” she added when asked about her conduct during the incident. “That’s all I’m going to say about that. I can’t say anymore. I need to talk to an attorney.”

Tags Capitol breach Pittsburgh

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