Some clever sleuthing from ProPublica and Gizmodo turned up a post by Joel Valdez, an aide to Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, actively cheering on the protesters at the U.S. Capitol as they overran the police. A video by Valdez was posted to the now-defunct Parler.
Because Parler did not scrub metadata from media, precise information such as location and time was included on everything on the site, making things relatively easy for law enforcement and others looking at Parler.
And while Gaetz would later try to baselessly blame the riot on Antifa, some have speculated that he was one of the Republicans giving out location information to the rioters, which might explain his aide's enthusiasm.
As police struggled futilely to fend off a wave of rioters outside the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, Joel Valdez, an aide to Congressman Matt Gaetz, made his way to the rooftop of his boss’s office building across the street on Independence Ave. Surveying the mob as it surrounded the complex, he captured a five-second video with his phone and posted it to Parler—the now-defunct social network where some supporters of President Trump are reported to have openly planned an insurrection for weeks.
“From the top of the Capitol office buildings, WE HEAR YOU LOUD AND CLEAR!” Valdez posted, adding the hashtag “#StopTheSteal”.
Metadata from Valdez’s video, which Pro Publica published last week but did not connect to Gaetz’s press assistant, reveals it was taken at roughly 1:14 p.m. ET that day. The rioters had by that time already breached at least three police barricades and forced officers back onto the Capitol steps where they were violently engaged, according to a timeline of events reported by the New York Times.
Gaetz’s chief of staff, Jillian Lane Wyant, disputed that Valdez’s video depicted him cheering on the mob. Valdez could not have known, she said, that the rioters would break inside the Capitol building.
A screengrab of the now deleted post.
New: archived Parler posts show that Congressman Matt Gaetz's press assistant was cheering on Capitol rioters from across the street, even after they broke through multiple police barricades. https://t.co/UK1HzNJsJo pic.twitter.com/ZM2z29ZM7A
— Dell Cameron (@dellcam) February 1, 2021
— Parlertakes🇺🇸 (@parlertakes) January 30, 2021