‘Stop the Steal’ speaker and WalkAway founder charged in Capitol riot

Brandon Straka

A notable right-wing activist who spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 5 has been charged by federal authorities for participating in the Capitol riot on Jan 6, which turned deadly.

Brandon Straka, 43, was arrested Monday in Nebraska and charged with impeding a law enforcement officer, entering a restricted building and engaging in disorderly conduct with intent to disturb a hearing before Congress, in connection with the Capitol riot earlier this month.

According to the affidavit, which was made public, federal investigators said they received a tip with a YouTube video of Straka on the Capitol steps yelling to others in the crowd to “Take the shield!” from a Capitol Police officer and shouting,

“Go, Go!” near the entrance of the Capitol.

“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 affidavit said. “However, the FBI received tips from the public with screenshots of Straka’s Twitter activity from January 6, 2021.”

A relative of Straka’s, who said they saw a video of Straka on the “cusp” of entering the Capitol, reported him to the FBI. The relative said that Straka can be heard saying, “We’re going in. We’re going in,” in a video later posted on YouTube titled, “Straka attacking the Capitol on Jan 6th.”

On Jan. 6, Straka tweeted that he was “quite close to entering [the Capitol] myself during the breach” and, “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.”

“Also—be embarrassed & hide if you need to- but I was there. It was not Antifa at the Capitol. It was freedom-loving Patriots who were DESPERATE to fight for the final hope of our Republic because literally, nobody cares about them. Everyone else can denounce them. I will not,” Straka also wrote on Twitter.

In a video posted on Jan. 7, Straka said, “Yesterday, a lot of us got up very, very early. We went to this event in which Donald Trump spoke. The plan was always to go to the Capitol. We were going to march from that event…to the Capitol, and there was going to be another rally. I was one of the speakers slated to speak at the Capitol.”

He continues, “Wow, so they’re going to basically storm and try to get into the chamber so that they can demand that we get the investigation that we want.”

“Shortly after that, a man came out” who said, “They’ve cleared Congress. Everybody’s left. There’s no one else inside. Everybody turn around. No one else come inside,’” Straka said.

Straka, a self-described “former liberal,” founded the #WalkAway movement during the 2018 midterm elections. #WalkAway urged liberal voters to leave the Democratic Party. Earlier this month, Straka said Facebook had removed the campaign’s page, which had over half a million followers.

Straka also made national headlines in June after he was after he was banned from American Airlines for refusing to wear a mask on a flight to Dallas amid the coronavirus pandemic.

You can follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy