US federal agents have arrested two more suspects in the riot at the Capitol whose images had gone viral, one of whom was depicted carrying off the House speaker’s lectern and another who wore horns and a fur pelt, while a top Democratic politician called on mobile carriers to preserve social media content related to the incident.
Dozens of people have been charged following the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday, with the FBI asking the public for help identifying participants, given the proliferation of images of the riot on the internet. Five people have died following the incident, including a Capitol Hill police officer.
Jacob Anthony Chansley, who featured prominently on social media wearing horns, a fur pelt, and face paint and brandishing a spear adorned with the US flag, turned himself in to authorities, the US department of justice (DOJ) said.
Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, called the Washington office of the FBI on Thursday and voluntarily spoke to law enforcement, the DOJ said.
"Chansley said that he came as part of a group effort with other 'patriots' from Arizona, at the request of the president that all 'patriots' come to DC on January 6th, 2021," the DOJ said in a release.
Federal agents have also arrested Adam Christian Johnson, who had also gone viral through an image in which he smiled and waved as he carried off House speaker Nancy Pelosi's lectern. Johnson, of Parrish, Florida, also streamed live video on Facebook of himself as he walked the halls of the Capitol, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The video has been removed from online platforms and all his social media pages have been taken down.
On Saturday US senator Mark Warner, a Democrat who is the incoming chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, urged mobile carriers to keep content and associated metadata connected to the riot, which erupted as politicians gathered to certify the victory of president-elect Joe Biden in November's presidential election.
Before his arrest, NBC reported, Mr Chansley gloated about how the crowd infiltrated the Capitol, forcing politicians to flee.
“The fact that we had a bunch of traitors in office hunkered down, put on gas masks and retreat to their underground bunker, I consider that a win,” he said to NBC News.
Mr Chansley faces several federal charges, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Media reports said he had often been seen at rallies supporting president Donald Trump.
The Miami Herald reported that on Mr Johnson’s social media pages he had boasted of being in Washington, DC, ahead of the riot.
It was unclear where Mr Chansley was being held on Saturday, or whether he or Mr Johnson had legal representation.
Mr Johnson, who has a first appearance in federal court on Monday, is being charged out of Washington, DC.
There were at least 13 people facing criminal charges in the US district court for the District of Columbia in connection to the riot, and at least another 40 people were facing lesser charges in the District of Columbia superior court.
Many of them were arraigned on Thursday and released, with an order from the judge not to return to Washington unless for court appearances or meetings with their attorneys.
They included Richard Barnett, the man from Gravette, Arkansas, who was photographed sitting at Ms Pelosi's desk.
Among those arrested on Friday for participating in the riot was West Virginia House of Delegates member Derrick Evans, who announced his resignation on Saturday.
The FBI and Washington's police department are jointly investigating the death of police officer Brian Sicknick, who was injured while defending the US Capitol on Wednesday. Flags at the Capitol were lowered to half-staff on Friday in honour of Sicknick. – Reuters