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How pro-Trump forces pushed a lie about Antifa during the Capitol riot

Ms Ingraham, who told Fox News viewers of “anti-fa sympathizers” during the riot, later sharing on Twitter that the Washington Times article she cited had been debunked; it did not broadcast a correction on the air. Mr Herman, Limbaugh’s guest host who speculated on the antifa, wrote in an email Saturday that “it was clear that a large group of Trump supporters entered the Capitol and assaulted people.” But he continued to claim, mistakenly, that anti-fa activists plotted to pose as Trump supporters.

Of the 290 people indicted in the attack, at least 27 are known to have ties to far-right extremist groups like the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys. Others have ties to neo-confederate and white supremacist entities, or are clear supporters of the conspiratorial QAnon movement. The vast majority expressed a fervent belief that Mr. Trump was the rightful winner of the election.

On January 8, the FBI said there was no evidence that antifa supporters, known to aggressively counter protest white supremacist protests, participated in the Capitol mob. And on January 13, Representative Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the Republican minority in the House of Representatives, spoke at Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial and said: “Some say the riots were caused by antifa. There is absolutely no proof of this, and the Conservatives should be the first to say so.

But the next day, the arrest of a protester named John Sullivan sparked another wave in right-wing media about the antifa and the riot.

Mr. Sullivan referred to himself as an “activist” from Utah and CNN mistakenly portrayed him as a “leftist activist” when he appeared on the channel on January 6 (he had sold footage to CNN and other media that showed the shooting of Ashli ​​Babbitt, a rioter who died inside the Capitol.) The Gateway Pundit conspiracy site and Mr. Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, seized on Mr Sullivan’s arrest to again blame the antifa in posts that have garnered tens of thousands of likes and shared on Facebook and Twitter.

In reality, Mr Sullivan was an attention seeker whose politics were fungible and apparently changed depending on the protest he was attending at the time, according to activists in Seattle, Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon, who had Posted warnings about him months before the Capitol riot.