Social media users have been sharing a photograph of former President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and protester Jake Angeli and claiming that this shows they knew each other before the Jan. 6, 2021 storming of the Capitol and that the attack was staged. These claims are false.
An example can be seen here .
The description of the post reads: “Jake is friends with Rudy. He’s also a highly woke individual. The whole event on the 6th was staged to confiscate the laptops. ANTIFA did plan to create havoc that day. We knew in advance. Two separate groups. Most of the real violence occurred outside. The majority of inside was staged. It worked. Congress ran through the tunnels. FISA warrants for laptops quietly executed.”
The post does not spell out how the alleged relationship shows that the attack was staged. It appears to suggest there was some sort of plan to stage the chaos at the Capital to distract attention while government agents seized laptops from lawmakers to gather unspecified evidence on them. It also accuses left-wing Antifa protesters of being responsible for most of the actual violence. There is no evidence to support any part of this loose chain of conspiracy theories.
ANGELI AND GIULIANI
According to AZ Central, the protester known as Jake Angeli has been a “fixture at Arizona right-wing political rallies over the past year." In an interview with the news outlet in May 2020 visible here , Angeli spoke in favor of President Donald Trump and his policies. A Reuters Fact Check from Jan. 6 debunking false claims that Angeli belonged to Antifa can be seen here .
Fact-checking website Snopes traced the photograph of the two men back to Angeli’s now-deleted Facebook page archive.is/OdtMn (here). The photograph was taken at a meeting held in Phoenix, Arizona with GOP lawmakers and Giuliani on Nov. 30, 2020 (here ).
Angeli’s post does not suggest a prior relationship between him and Giuliani. The description of Angeli’s Facebook post reads: “I’m at the hearing today in PHX AZ...got to shake Rudy’s hand, and meet the warrior woman Chanel Rion from OAN! What an honor it is to be present for this historic meeting and meet such awesome patriots in the process! HOLD THE LINE PATRIOTS! USA WILL PREVAIL, WE WILL STOP THE STEAL! CUZ AS ALWAYS GOD WINS!”
Albert Watkins, Angeli’s attorney, told Reuters via email that Angeli had no pre-existing relationship with Giuliani. Representatives for Giuliani did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
There were reports of missing computers after the raid, but no indication of any official, concerted effort to seize them.
Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, said on Twitter that a laptop was taken from his office (here and here ). Merkley’s spokesperson told the Associated Press here that the laptop was later recovered at the Capitol and dusted for fingerprints.
CNN reported here that Rep. Jim Clayburn had told reporters that his iPad had been taken during the incident, but it was later recovered and found to have been moved to a secure location by a staffer.
A laptop was stolen from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, but it belonged to a conference room and was used for presentations, according to an aide (here).
The FBI said in a court filing on Jan. 17 that Riley June Williams was seen on video taking “a laptop computer or hard drive” from Pelosi’s office. It is investigating whether she tried to sell the device to Russian intelligence (here).
On Jan. 26, the AP reported Williams’ lawyer saying the laptop had yet to be recovered (here).
False. A photograph showing Rudy Giuliani and Jake Angeli is not proof that the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol was staged to confiscate laptops.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.