CNN, NBC paid far-left Capitol rioter who posed as Trump supporter $70k for video footage taken during attack


WASHINGTON, DC – The left-wing activist known as “activist John,” who was charged in the United States Capitol riot, was paid thousands of dollars each by major media outlets for the footage he captured during the attack, according to court papers filed Tuesday.

The court papers, filed as prosecutors attempted to block the activist’s access to social media, show that CNN and NBC each paid John Sullivan $35,000 for footage he obtained while posing as a pro-Trump supporter during the uprising.

The footage included the moment a Capitol officer shot and killed protester Ashli Babbitt, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Washington.

Sullivan maintained that he was covering the riot as a journalist for his website Insurgence USA, but prosecutors countered that he was actively participating in and encouraging the attack. Prosecutors detailed in the filing that Sullivan helped one insurgent scale a wall leading to the Capitol entrance during the attack.

As Sullivan videotaped inside the Capitol, he was recorded saying:

“We gotta (sic) get this shit burned. It’s our house, motherfuckers. We are getting this shit.”

Sullivan then followed the crowd of insurgents into an area near the Speaker’s Lobby where protesters were trying to force past officers and a door. This is the location where he captured video of the fatal shooting of Babbitt as she attempted to climb through a broken door window.

Sullivan sold the footage to several news outlets, including CNN. A CNN spokesman issued a statement:

“On January 6th, CNN was contacted by a reputable agent regarding an eye-witness video from the Capitol Hill riots.

The company entered into a one-week agreement for use of 44-seconds of key content, which was attributed to the witness on air. When his role in the event was later called into question, the company informed staff to cease all use of the video.”

NBC did not immediately respond to media inquiries about the video purchase.

Sullivan, a past Olympic speed skater who competed in the 1028 Olympic trials and once appeared in a 2016 Uber commercial, founded Insurgence USA as a protest group calling for “racial justice and police reform.”

Sullivan was arrested on federal charges of knowingly entering a restricted area, violent entry, disorderly conduct, and interfering with law enforcement. Prior to his arrest, he was interviewed by Rolling Stone. During the interview, Sullivan said:

“I was worried about people recognizing me and thinking that I was Antifa or, like, BLM or whatever. The entire time they’re yelling, ‘F— Antifa! F—, BLM.’ I’m not saying I’m Antifa, by any means. But I definitely believe black lives matter.”

In addition to CNN and NBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation paid Sullivan $2,375 for his video.

The court filing also included a copy of an unsigned agreement with Left/Right LLC, a New York-based production company, for $5,000 to use footage of the siege at the Capitol in a program tentatively titled, “The Circus: The Greatest Political Show on Earth.”

Defense Attorney Steven Kiersh is using the video purchase agreements to support Sullivan’s claim of being a journalist and innocent bystander. Kiersh wrote:

“Defendant is legitimately self-employed as a documentarian and it is oppressive to require that he not be allowed to continue his primary area of employment for an extended period of time.”

Prosecutors argue he was a “brazen, vocal” participant in the riot. U.S. Attorney Candice Wong wrote:

“The defendant, according to his own video footage, apparently exhorted others to ‘burn this (expletive) down,’ ‘break that (expletive),’ and — amid the smashing of the speaker’s lobby doors — ‘Go! Go! Get this (expletive)!’ He celebrated the breach of the Capitol as ‘revolutionary history.’ He boasted of how ‘it’s only a little jail time … I do this all the time.’”

Sullivan had been banned from using social media during an arraignment in Salt Lake City, Utah after his arrest, but at Tuesday’s hearing, Washington Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather lifted the social media restriction.

Judge Meriweather did restrict Sullivan from working for Insurgence USA, and said he could not use social media that calls for violence or makes threats. His internet access will be monitored by probation officials while he remains on house arrest awaiting trial.

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Biden orders full assessment of ‘domestic violent extremism’ in wake of Capitol riots, does not mention BLM or Antifa

January 22, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – President Joe Biden has ordered a full assessment of the risks posed by domestic terrorism in the shadow of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The “domestic violent extremism (DVE)” assessment was announced during a Friday press briefing.

New White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said:

 “The January 6th assault on the Capitol and the tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we have long known: The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat.

The Biden Administration will confront this threat with the necessary resources and resolve.”

The assessment will be conducted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, led by newly confirmed Avril Haines, working with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, Psaki said at the briefing.

The administration’s focus on DVE is a clear acknowledgment that officials view the domestic unrest plaguing the United States in the past year, culminating in an attack on the United States Capitol on January 6 as a growing and concerning threat.

The review and plan put forth by the administration involves the Director of National Intelligence, which was created following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to prevent international terrorism. This pivots the attention of the government agency from external to internal terrorism threats.

Psaki said the “key point” being made by the administration is that they want facts to develop policy:

“We want fact-based analysis upon which we can shape policy. So, this is really the first step in the process. We will rely on our appropriate law enforcement and intelligence officials to provide that analysis.”

In addition to the threat assessment, the administration plans to develop its capability within the National Security Council (NSC) to confront the threat of domestic terrorism, including a review of the government’s information-sharing capabilities. Psaki said:

“The NSC will undertake a policy review effort to determine how the government can share information better about this threat, support efforts to prevent radicalization, disrupt violent extremist networks, and more.”

Psaki said she wanted to assure Americans that the administration’s actions would protect citizens’ rights while increasing government capabilities to monitor and counter domestic threats.

“We are committed to developing policies and strategies based on facts, on objective analysis, and on our respect for constitutionally protected free speech and political activities.”

“We need to understand better its current extent and where there may be gaps to address so we can determine the best path forward.”

The third step in Biden’s plan involves coordinating relative parts of the federal government to enhance and accelerate efforts to address DVE.

Addressing reporters following the briefing, Psaki said the President wanted to conduct the review and develop the DVE policy as a priority:

“It is a priority (of the administration to insure that we are assessing what is happening in government and if we could do it better. Clearly, more needs to be done. That is why the President is tasking the national security team to do exactly this review on his second full day in office.”

The announcement of the review and plan by the Biden administration did not make mention of violent protests and riots in cities across the nation over the summer by left-wing groups including Black Lives Matter and Antifa.

The attack on the Capitol on January 6 resulted in five deaths, including a Capitol police officer. The attack has led to the second impeachment of President Donald Trump and renewed a debate over whether there should be laws created specifically for domestic terrorism.

Thus far, terrorism policy and laws have focused mainly on international terrorism. Discuss and debate about the need for new laws to deal with domestic extremism have been sparked previously by school shootings and homegrown attacks like the one at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 people. 



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