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The FBI has not yet arrested hundreds who joined the Capitol crowd on Jan. 6. Just ask this MAGA comedian.

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WASHINGTON — As the Jan. 6 commission prepares for a public hearing next week, the Justice Department is only a fraction of the way through one of the largest investigations in U.S. history. The FBI has made about 850 arrests and hundreds more to go.

One person closely following the news of the Jan. 6 arrests is a right-wing comedian recently identified with the FBI by the online sleuths who have played a critical role in identifying people in hundreds of cases of terrorist attacks. Capitol. The FBI does not comment on ongoing investigations and an official declined to do so in this case.

Kevin Downey Jr. was one of the most prominent participants to enter the United States Capitol on January 6; he appeared on “America’s Got Talent” on NBC in 2013 and was one of the men made by the original Fab Five in 2004 on Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. He also released at least one DVD special, “I’m Not Gay, but Don’t Stop,” in 2008. More recently, Downey has taken a turn as a pro-Trump commentator, to write for the right-wing website PJ Media and describes himself on Twitter as Kevin “Ultra MAGA” Downey Jr.

Downey is a public figure who has written extensively about the aftermath of the January 6 attack. Three online sleuths confirmed to NBC News that Downey’s name has been filed with the FBI, and the online network known as “Sedition Hunters,” which has published images of January 6 participants, lists a photo of Downey as “identified.” .

“Hopefully it’s the FBI, not Downey, who has the last laugh,” an online sleuth told NBC News.

Online investigators say they identified Downey using surveillance footage released in connection with another Jan. 6 case. After he got a facial recognition hit, confirming his identity was relatively easy, they said: Downey was traveling with a companion (his fiancée, according to his social media posts), and he also tweeted both before and after the attack from Jan. 6, including one that told a Fox News personality to send Downey a direct message if he wanted to “talk to someone who came into the Capitol.”

NBC News also found photos that Downey posted on Facebook of himself and his fiancée on Jan. 6 that match the outfit the person identified by investigators is wearing on government surveillance footage at the Capitol. Those surveillance images were released in connection with the trial of Dustin Thompson, a January 6 convicted defendant who alleged that Trump “allowed” the attack on the U.S. Capitol and that he was “following presidential orders.”

NBC News also found a YouTube interview in which Downey and his fiancée talked about their experiences in the Capitol, although they did not explicitly state that they entered the building.

Reached by NBC News for comment on Friday night and informed that NBC News would be publishing this story, Downey hung up the phone.

“Oh,” he said before hanging up. He did not respond to additional text messages and voicemails requesting comment, nor did PJ Media.

Kevin Downey Jr., circled in red, in the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Online sleuths identified this man, circled in red, in the Capitol on January 6, 2021 as comedian Kevin Downey Jr.US Capitol Police

Downey left an extensive online trail about his activities on January 6, 2021. On January 5, he replied to a tweet from Trump, in which he wrote that he was on his way to Trump’s rally.

“If you want to speak to someone who has entered the Capitol, send me a DM,” he said tweeted at Sean Hannity on January 6.

(His companion, who is also a comedian, wrote that she “peacefully marched to the Capitol,” and that Trump did not incite violence, and sent another tweet said she had “inside info on yesterday’s Capitol breech.”)

Downey, in a YouTube interview posted weeks after the uprising, said that while he loved Trump, his January 6 speech was “a bit dull.” In the interview, Downey described going to the Capitol and hearing tear gas cannons go off and recalling “some knuckles” climbing the walls of the building.

He also described when the crowd stormed into the building and he saw people coming out of the Capitol, covered in pepper spray.

“Then everyone pushed up and people poured in the doors. They went in and came out covered with tear gas or pepper spray,” he said. “There was a line in and a line out.”

Downey said he “saw a mother-daughter go in” and “took a selfie”. While he didn’t say he entered the Capitol himself, the YouTube video could be helpful to prosecutors who want to illustrate that Downey knew he was not authorized to enter the Capitol.

His fiancé, who joined him for part of the interview, defended her actions on January 6.

“I knew exactly what I was doing when I waved that flag and walked all the way to the Capitol,” said his fiancée. “I fought for our country.”

She did not respond to a request for comment.

Since the uprising, in between gigs at comedy clubs, Downey has written for PJ Media about January 6 and what he sees as FBI overshoot.

“The current FBI has enough time to track down all Capitol-related clues; chasing every mother-daughter team that spent four minutes in the Capitol; and go after every grandma, dozens of Long Island patriots, every off-duty cop, and every other American who took a selfie in the Capitol, “Downey wrote.

He celebrated the acquittal by a judge of Matthew Martin, a defense contractor who admitted to entering the Capitol Building through a smashed-window door while the alarm was sounding.

The total number of individuals who have entered the Capitol is more than 2,500, and the FBI is still seeking the identities of 350 individuals who committed violent acts, according to its website. The extensive investigation has overwhelmed the Justice Department, which has asked Congress for more resources to track down the people involved in Jan. 6. Online investigators say they have identified hundreds more who have not been charged.

Among them is John Emanuel Banuelos, whom they identified to the FBI in February 2021. Months later, when he was arrested by local police for fatally stabbing a 19-year-old, Banuelos admitted to police that he flashed a gun outside the Capitol on January 6, although he did not enter the building. Prosecutors dropped charges against Banuelos after he claimed self-defense; he has not been charged in connection with January 6.

As for Downey, he seems to be sticking with conspiracy theories around January 6. He recently retweeted conspiracy theories about Ray Epps, who was on the Capitol grounds and can be seen on video trying to separate more aggressive rioters from the police, but never entered and was not charged. Unlike January 6, Stephen Ayres, who testified before the January 6 commission, accused Downey doesn’t seem to have changed his mind about the election.

“If election fraud is proven, will the Capitol ‘rioters’ be pardoned?” he early last year.


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