No, Richard Barnett took an empty envelope, but more on that later.
For now, the following excerpt from the charging documents has caught my eye and fancy both. It describes the scene of the federal crimes Barnett has been charged with --
Video surveillance from a camera positioned outside of the Speaker’s main office door captures individuals entering and exiting the office. At approximately 2:30 p.m., several unidentified individuals appear to try the door to the office however the door is locked.
At approximately 2:33 p.m. an unidentified individual pushes in the door to the office.
Got that? At around 2:30 p.m., several people tried the door to the Speaker's main office and it was locked, according to the complaint. At 2:33 p.m., someone just pushes the door open. As written, it does not sound as this someone entered the main office.
What happened in those three minutes? It's possible that the first several people unsuccessfully "to try the door" were too timid or otherwise unable to open what may have been a stiff or heavy unlocked door. But it's also possible somebody unlocked the door in that brief interval.
If so, the trap was set and waiting for a mouse. If not, a trap was waiting anyway.
Seventeen minutes pass.
At 2:50 p.m. BARNETT is captured on surveillance video carrying an American flag and a cellular phone while entering the doors which lead to the Speaker’s conference room adjoining the main office space.
As he is entering it, he is following behind the unidentified individual in the brown jacket. At 2:56 p.m. BARNETT is captured leaving the main office doors of the Speaker’s office space with only a phone in his hand.
Note there is no indication of what time Barnett entered "the Speaker's main office door"; nor is there further identification of Mr. X in the brown jacket. According to the charging document, we pick up on Barnett's progress later, with his entry through "the doors which lead to the Speaker's conference room adjoining the main office space." This was at 2:50 p.m. At 2:56 p.m. he is videotaped exiting "the main office doors."
Within those six minutes or so, Richard Barnett, 60, became a domestic terrorist, or so the new regime tells us. He should be punished and removed from society, or so the new regime tells us. He and other like him are a menace to the new regime.
I believe our Founding Fathers would view the Richard Barnetts who came to the Capitol on January 6 with their flags and raw idealism as citizen-patriots. I further believe that that truly greatest American generation would be just as heartsick and outraged to have witnessed our Congress, our courts, and our Vice President -- all three branches of the government -- shutting down due process in those states where the Nov. 3 election results were still being actively contested. I also believe the new regime would view our Founding Fathers as domestic terrorists. So did George III.
What did Richard Barnett do in those six minutes inside the Speaker's suite to become wanted by the FBI? Did he detonate a dirty bomb? Take hostages? Mow down innocents?
No, he did something far worse. He showed a lack of respect for all of the accessories to this crime, "the Big Steal," by posing for a wire service photographer with his feet up on the desk of an assistant to Speaker Pelosi; he wrote Pelosi herself a crude note, Killroy-was-here-style; and he took an empty envelope with her name on it, because, he says, he bled on the it, and for which he claims he left a quarter in payment on the desk.
Here's how Barnett first described what happened when the New York Times caught up with him outside.
“I wrote her a nasty note, put my feet up on her desk,” said Mr. Barnett, who goes by the nickname Bigo. He was brandishing an envelope with the speaker’s letterhead that he had taken from Ms. Pelosi’s office. He insisted he had not stolen it — “I put a quarter on her desk.”
Mr. Barnett continued: When the police came in with pepper spray, “I said, ‘I paid for this, it’s mine,’ and I left.” His face was puffy from being hit with pepper spray, but he was laughing as he entertained fellow pro-Trump extremists with his tale.
His account was backed up by a picture later posted on social media that showed Mr. Barnett sitting at a desk in Ms. Pelosi’s office with his feet up, just as he had described. (The desk belonged to an aide, not the speaker.)
Mr. Barnett insisted that he had just been knocking on the door when he was pushed in by the crowd. It was a story he knew no one would buy. “I’ll probably be telling them this is what happened all the way to the D.C. jail,” Mr. Barnett said.
Um, wait a minute. If Barnett's account is true -- if he really had "just been knocking on the door when he was pushed in" -- the surveillance camera outside the door to the Speaker's main office recorded that. As noted above, Barnett's moment of entry through the main office door is omitted from the charging document. Is that because the facts would show him to be less maurauding-horde than victim of crowd-circumstance? If he is telling the truth, who pushed him inside?
I hope Barnett's lawyer is able to get to the bottom of this.
This will be difficult because in these days of purges and show trials designed to deflect from and cover up the biggest crime in our nation's history -- the theft of the 2020 election and installation of an illegitimate regime -- Justice is a weapon and not at all blind.
On the night of January 15, "hyper-partisan" Chief U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell blocked a ruling made earlier that same day by a magistrate judge in Arkansas permitting Barnett to remain at home under strict rules of detention and $5,000 unsecured bond until his trial on three federal charges including theft (remember the empty envelope), entering the Capitol with a dangerous weapon (a stun gun his wife claims she urged him to carry in self-defense), and disorderly conduct (feet up, etc.). Howell further ordered Barnett's transfer by U.S. Marshalls from Arkansas to a prison in DC. Barnett's attorney, Anthony J. Siano, was not informed of Howell's rulings until they were already being executed.
On January 28, Howell ruled that Barnett would be held in prison without bond until trial. I have not seen a transcript of this proceeding, but by all accounts, Judge Howell was ruling in a state of rage. She was "practically spitting out the words in anger as she announced her decision from the bench," according to Buzzfeed. "She appeared to be brimming with anger," according to Politco. Other reports describe the Obama-appointee as "seething" from the bench as she "scorched" and "scorned" the defendant in this pre-trial hearing.
Barnett has no chance of a fair trial before such a judge. Howell should recuse herself and join the prosecution.
Reading media coverage, it becomes clear that chief among Richard Barnett's offenses in the eyes of the conjoined prosecution and bench is the man's attitude. He and other Americans like him, post-Trump, do not know their place. They really seem to believe they are sovereign citizens operating under the Bill of Rights, and, on January 6, that they were exercising "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
But then these Soviet-style mass arrests began. The FBI dragnet is not merely targeting violent actors. The FBI is arresting and throwing the book at everyone and anyone who even entered the Capitol on January 6, however peacably, however briefly, however in keeping with our 1A rights to protest, and especially to protest the grave crimes against the Republic at that time being committed by the government itself.
But even holding all the levers of power, government enforcers remain consumed by rage against the People. I didn't come across what the prosecutor had to say about Barnett's "theft" of an envelope, or his wanderings through inner sanctums, but I did see that she attacked the man for having made a "mockery" of Pelosi and her office, and also for having seemed to "very much enjoy his moment of fame." Judge Howell actually went on to rebuke the former fireman from Gravette, Arkansas for his "entitled behavior ":
“His entitled behavior that he exhibited in videos and photographs when inside the Capitol shows a total disregard for the law and for officials’ directives, a total disregard for the U.S. Constitution,” said Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Beryl Howell in a blistering rebuke of the assault on Congress. “This violence disrupted a constitutional function of Congress.”
No, Judge: Election theft is not a constitutional function of Congress.
As for the "violence" she speaks of -- in the case before her court, sitting with boots up on tax-payer-bought furniture and walking out the door with an envelope -- what it "disrupted" was a congressional perversion of the Constitution. But only for six minutes.
Barnett faces more than 11 years in prison.