Dawn Bancroft and Diana Santos-Smith were identified by law enforcement after the FBI said it received a tip on Jan. 12 with a video purportedly capturing the two women as they left the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 amid a large mob of people, according to a criminal complaint.
"We broke into the Capitol. . . . We got inside, we did our part," Bancroft said in the video she sent to her children, according to the FBI. "We were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the friggin' brain, but we didn't find her."
The women - who the FBI said initially lied to authorities - face three federal charges, including knowingly entering a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and impeding in government business by engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.
Information about their initial appearances in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania was not immediately available. The women could not be reached Friday evening.
News of their arrest and alleged threats come amid heightened security for U.S. lawmakers. Capitol Police asked members of Congress to report travel plans, while the agency beefed up protection for traveling lawmakers in major airports in the region, as well as Washington's Union Station, The Post reported Friday. Pelosi said on Thursday that part of the threat is an "enemy" within the chamber, referencing colleagues who "want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence on other members of Congress."
Rep. Cori Bush, a freshman Democrat from Missouri, said Friday she requested to move her Capitol office away from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, claiming the Georgia Republican "berated" her in the hallway without a mask.
Bancroft and Santos-Smith, both donning red Make America Great Again hats, were among countless Trump supporters who entered the Capitol in a violent, chaotic scene meant to halt election certification proceedings, according to prosecutors. At least 160 people have been charged in federal court with crimes related to the riot.
Around Inauguration Day, Santos-Smith first told the FBI she attended Trump's rally but did not enter the Capitol building, according to the complaint. When FBI agents showed her the video in which Bancroft remarks about Pelosi, Santos-Smith admitted she lied and said she was in the Capitol to protest but had not planned it, the FBI said.
Santos-Smith told the FBI that, before entering the building, she heard people in the crowd saying "they're letting us in" to the Capitol. She then admitted to climbing over a wall, going under or through scaffolding and entering the building through a broken window, according to the FBI.
Both Bancroft and Santos-Smith told authorities that they were in the building for no more than a minute and denied entering offices. They said they deleted the videos they took from inside the Capitol, according to authorities, and Bancroft, who sent the footage to her children, instructed them to also delete what she shared.
Santos-Smith told the FBI she tried to get rid of the videos she took to prevent law enforcement from discovering it.
Videos and photos captured by those in the Capitol, as well as their own cellular data, have been used against them in criminal cases stemming from the attack.
Published : January 30, 2021
By : The Washington Post, Meryl Kornfield