For the longest time, Trump supporters have claimed that there were nefarious actors at the rally on January 6 to incite a riot.
Recent accusations levied by the Department of Justice prove them right, at least to an extent.
John Sullivan, a Utah native, traveled to D.C. to document the January 6 rally held by Donald Trump. Part of the footage that he captured was the shooting of Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force Veteran, who was shot and killed while trying to enter the House Speaker's lobby.
Capitol Police Officer Lt. Michael Byrd fired the shot.
The DOJ, however, has painted him as a left-wing activist who was trying to incite Donald Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.
Sullivan, however, is alleged to have done far more than point-and-shoot footage.
Video from that day shows Sullivan egging people on during the riot. In one instance, he is captured on video stating:
"We gotta get this sh** burned."
Sullivan showed up that day wearing a ballistic vest as well as a gas mask and joined the crowd that entered the Capitol that day.
At another point in the video, Sullivan tells people in the crowd:
"Hey guys, I have a knife. I have a knife. Let me up."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barclay blasted Sullivan for his actions that day, stating:
"It does not matter whether Sullivan was holding a camera to record his crimes. He incited the mob at every step. He knew why he was there that day. He wanted to tear it all down."
Prosecutors also presented evidence of communications by Sullivan where he was bragging about his actions that day. In one Discord communication, Sullivan stated:
"I brought my megaphone to instigate s---."
In another call, he said that he wanted to "make those Trump supporters f--- s--- up."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebekah Lederer told the jurors:
"Everything that came out of his mouth was a ploy.
"He came to engage in chaos."
Sullivan's defense team is claiming that regardless of what he said, his only intent that day was "to film."
We have seen this before, where nefarious actors are inserted to get a mob to react.
We need only go back to the George Floyd riots, where people were being bussed into cities to encourage protesters to turn violent. The difference here is that someone is actually being held accountable.
The actions that day sickened most of us because we knew it would be a stain on conservatives for many years to come simply because rioting is generally not in a conservative's playbook.
I have always maintained that the bad actors that day needed to be held accountable, which included the people who were more or less plants to encourage the rally to turn into a riot.
Sullivan is the first of what should be many who get exposed as the energy behind the rioting who were there solely for that purpose and not to support Trump.