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Trump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot

The Hill logo The Hill 3/5/2021 Jordan Williams
a group of people flying kites in a building: The Capitol riot © Getty Images The Capitol riot

The FBI arrested Federico Klein, one of former President Trump's appointees at the State Department, on Thursday in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Samatha Shero, a spokesperson for the FBI's Washington field office, confirmed the arrest to The Hill on Thursday evening but referred additional questions to the U.S. attorney's office for D.C.

Klein's arrest is the first known instance of one of Trump's political appointees facing criminal charges in connection with the riot. It comes as some on the right seek to shift the blame away from the former president for the insurrection.

Trump was impeached for inciting the riot, but the Senate ultimately voted 57-43 to acquit him.

More than 300 people have been charged in connection with the riot that forced Congress to halt certification of President Biden's Electoral College victory and resulted in the deaths of five people.

News of Klein's arrest was first reported by Politico. According to the news outlet, he was taken into custody in Virginia.

A State Department spokesperson told The Hill in an email that Klein served as an appointee from 2017 until his resignation as of Jan. 21.

He served as a staff assistant with the transition team and as a special assistant in the bureau of Western Hemisphere affairs.

According to a financial disclosure published by ProPublica, Klein was appointed to the State Department on Jan 22, 2017, as a special assistant. Prior to his appointment, he worked on Trump's 2016 campaign and reported making $15,000 in income.

Klein is facing six charges over his role in the riot, including assault, resisting or impeding certain weapons and violent and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds, according to court records that were unsealed on Friday.

In an affidavit, the FBI described Klein as a "white male with brown hair and distinctive teeth, who was wearing a red "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) hat, a distinctive green jacket, dark dress pants, and a blue dress shirt. KLEIN would later change into a red United States Marine Corps (USMC) hat."

The FBI said he was seen on video footage "resisting officers, attempting to take items from officers, and assaulting officers with a riot shield."

In one instance, as he was allegedly among a crowd trying to breach the Lower West Terrace Capitol building entrance, Klein was seen shoving a riot shield toward officers that were trying to keep the mob from entering the building. He allegedly put the shield in between the doors, preventing officers from closing it.

Klein was also allegedly seen shoving the shield into an officer's body in an effort to breach the police line. A sergeant sprayed a chemical irritant that forced Klein away.

After the bureau posted his photo on Jan. 20, multiple people identified him to the agency.

Klein's mother, Cecilia Klein, told Politico in a telephone interview that she discussed the Jan. 6 events with her son and confirmed that he was in Washington, D.C., that day.

She told Politico that she came away with the impression that her son hadn't entered the Capitol but couldn't recall whether he specifically denied it.

"As far as I know, he was on the Mall. That's what he told me," Cecilia Klein told Politico.

Updated Friday at 5:08 p.m.

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