Last Updated on February 17, 2022
National File has obtained exclusive video – shot over an hour before President Trump’s speech on January 6 – showing Sean McHugh of Auburn, CA with a megaphone urging the crowd to join in “storming the Capitol Building for a peaceful protest directly after Trump’s speech.” The same man was caught on camera joking with another man about Twisted Tea, referencing a meme popular with those on the far left.
This is Part 1 of our 3-part What Really Happened on 1/6 Series.
The video was taken at roughly 10:30 a.m., when a crowd of at least 300,000 people gathered south of the President’s Park South, now more commonly known as The Ellipse. This is a rough estimate based on available footage of a crowd that stretched across the field surrounding the Washington Monument and continued beyond visual range for blocks in every direction.
At the same time, a smaller crowd – a few thousand at most – formed 1.6 miles away outside police barricades guarding the western courtyard of the Capitol Building, where the first violent clashes would take place roughly two hours later.
The audio and video shows a young white male – who appears to be Sean Michael McHugh, or #59 on the FBI’s 1/6 Most Wanted list – wearing a plaid shirt and baseball cap with a megaphone repeatedly urging the crowd to “storm” the Capitol Building, specifying with emphasis that “we will be going inside the Capitol Building.” At one point, someone unfamiliar with local geography asks where the Capitol is, and the young man pointed eastward down Constitution Avenue, saying “That way!”
According to the D.C. Department of Corrections, McHugh is currently being held in their Central Detention Facility as Prisoner #378159. Department of Justice records indicate he is not charged with conspiracy or otherwise accused of inciting a riot. According to the most recent available information, he is currently being represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Maria Jacobs.
McHugh was arrested in May and then indicted on July 7th on 9 counts in connection to 1/6 which include assault on an officer, obstruction, entering a restricted area and disorderly conduct. He was denied bail in June and is being held pending trial. McHugh has plead not guilty to all charges.
It is notable that he kept on referring to the then-President as “Trump” – as opposed to the custom of MAGA activists referring the 45th President as “President Trump.”
None of National Files sources had been able to identify either of the men prior to publication – the more prominent of whom garnered the nickname “Fed Goblin” in these discussions. Neither men appeared to be wearing anything indicating membership in a conservative or pro-Trump group, nor were they known to the organizers of the event.
The operator of the camera did not realize the significance of what the young man was saying, as it was hours before the civil unrest at the Capitol Building began, so the camera did not capture the speaker at all in the first half of the clip and did not focus on him for the other half where he is visible.
Audio of the instigator as the sound becomes clear on the microphone:
The same raw footage also caught the two men laughing with each other and cracking a joke about “Twisted Tea” in urban slang accents. The “Twisted Tea” meme, popular with Antifa at the time, spawned from a viral video of a black man violently defending himself against a drunk who had attacked him after shouting racial slurs.
After the drunk white man attacked him physically, the memetic hero beat him into submission with a can of Twisted Tea. “Twisted Tea” is invoked by the left to connote righteous violence against racists, but also sometimes by the right to celebrate the “Don’t Tread On Me” ethos of self-defense rights.
Video of the instigator urging rally attendees to “storm the Capitol” after Trump’s speech:
National File has not published this footage until now partly out of concern for the citizen journalist who provided hours of unedited footage this was taken from, who faced serious threats to life and freedom for their nonviolent role in the January 6 Stop The Steal Rally.
At the time the video was recorded, local cell towers were overloaded from the wireless traffic and internet access was limited, so it would have been difficult for those in the crowd to use the Internet to check the itinerary for the organizer’s official plan, and potentially making it easier to fool the legions of out-of-towners present into believing that entering the Capitol Building was part of the organizers’ official plan. (READ MORE: What National File Reporter A.J. Cooke Experienced First Hand While Covering The Capitol Protest)
It does appear that there was indeed a significant minority of the Pro-Trump crowd which calved off towards the Capitol before and during President Trump’s speech. A 12:28 p.m. email from a Federal Protective Service officer read, “Protesters moving towards the capitol down Pennsylvania, Constitution and Madison in numbers estimated 10-15,000.”
The video underscores concerns by patriots that – despite over 14,000 hours of footage from 1/6 in federal custody, over 600 arrests and over 100 convictions – it appears that virtually none of the worst and most violent actors of that day are on the federal radar at all. Furthermore, those who are seem to be getting slaps on the wrist in comparison to many nonviolent defendants indicted on felony conspiracy charges by federal prosecutors.
There remains plenty of video and eyewitness evidence of at least one group of violent agents provocateurs present at the Capitol who were not members of any group affiliated with the Trump campaign or the Republican Party.
Despite initial speculation that these malefactors were either Antifa infiltrators trying to discredit the MAGA movement or unaligned far-right militants trying to hijack a popular cause, there is now widespread suspicion that the reason why federal authorities haven’t arrested the worst actors is that they were – in fact – on the federal payroll. (READ MORE: New Video Shows Police Calmly Allowing Hundreds Of Jan. 6 Protesters To Enter The Capitol)
Revolver News has reported damning proof of several individuals fomenting violence on 1/6 who have, nonetheless, been ignored or given slaps on the wrist by federal authorities.
Julie Kelly at American Greatness – who has been reporting more than anyone else about the plight of many nonviolent protesters arrested after 1/6 and held interminably without trial – also noted how informants working for the FBI on the “Michigan Kidnapping Plot” seem to have been the primary instigators of all their criminal activity and bear a striking resemblance to notable individuals in the 1/6 saga.
It’s noteworthy that the “Kidnapping Plot” informant “Big Dan” is on record as having personally joined a breach of the Michigan Capitol and had been a leader in the plotting of a second, more violent breach in the months before 1/6. One week after charges were filed in that case, Steven M. D’Antuono – the leader of the Detroit FBI field office – was promoted to run FBI operations in Washington D.C., raising uncomfortable questions about whether he brought his Capitol-breaching tactics along with him.
National File has also verified using FBI filings that federal law enforcement was present in the crowd on January 6, and the New York Times has confirmed that at least two FBI informants were in a crowd of Proud Boys on January 6.
Please join us again for the next article in our 1/6 series, where we will debunk the media narrative of what sparked the “Capitol Insurrection” by exposing even more instigators and the insane Capitol Police tactics that gave them their opportunity to cause mayhem.
Correction 10/28/2021: Since publishing this article, National File has been informed the individual is Sean McHugh, a California man currently being held on charges related to January 6. McHugh is not charged with organizing the protest.