Founder of pro-Trump 'Walk Away' campaign charged in connection with Capitol insurrection

The founder of a pro-Trump social media campaign that encouraged longtime Democrats to leave their party has been charged in connection with the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

A federal charging document dated Jan. 20 charged Brandon Straka, originator of the “Walk Away” campaign, with disorderly conduct, knowingly entering and remaining on restricted grounds and impeding police during civil disorder.

Straka, according to the charging document, tweeted a 58-minute video of himself on Jan. 7 saying he had made his way through the crowd that breached the Capitol the day before and saw “nothing being broken” and “nobody committing any acts of violence.”

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“My review of Straka’s Twitter account on January 11, did not find video or any other posts from January 6, 2021 relating directly to Straka’s actions at the U.S. Capitol,” the document states. “However, the FBI received tips from the public with screenshots of Straka’s Twitter activity from January 6, 2021.”

The screenshots in question include Straka describing himself as “quite close to entering [the Capitol] myself during the breach” and another where he tweets, “I missed the part where it was agreed this would be a revolution of ice cream cones & hair-braiding parties to take our government back from lying, cheating globally interested swamp parasites. My bad.”

The document states that the FBI received a tip from a relative of Straka’s that they had seen a since-deleted video of him saying he was “on the cusp” of entering the building and repeats, “We’re going in.”

The witness later sent the agent who wrote the document a link to an eight-minute video depicting Straka pushing forward with the crowd and “appear[ing] to get within several feet of the entrance to the U.S. Capitol.”

He says of a police officer holding a shield, “Take it away from him.” The crowd eventually successfully takes the shield from the officer, who is pulled deeper into the crowd attempting to reclaim it before he successfully takes it back.

In addition to his association with the Walk Away campaign, Straka was removed from an American Airlines flight in June for refusing to wear a mask, an incident filmed by New York Times reporter Astead Herndon.

The Hill has reached out Straka for comment.