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18 Jan, 2021 14:27

Who else to blame? Capitol Hill rioter stole Nancy Pelosi’s laptop for THE RUSSIANS, ex-partner claims

Who else to blame? Capitol Hill rioter stole Nancy Pelosi’s laptop for THE RUSSIANS, ex-partner claims

After four years of ‘Russiagate’ spy fiction, it’s time for one last yarn: the “former romantic partner” of a Capitol Hill rioter told the FBI that their ex-lover stole House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop to... sell it to Russia.

Pelosi’s laptop vanished earlier this month, as an unruly crowd of President Donald Trump’s supporters swept through the US Capitol in Washington DC. The laptop hasn’t been located, but one witness told the FBI that their “former romantic partner,” seen on video footage inside the Capitol, had stolen the laptop and attempted to sell it to Russia’s foreign intelligence service.

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The bizarre claim was attached on Sunday to a criminal case against Riley June Williams, a Pennsylvania woman charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct for her role in the protest. 

Her former lover – who identified his ex in video footage from the Capitol – told the FBI that Williams’ friends had shown him an additional video that captured her stealing “a laptop computer or hard drive from Speaker Pelosi’s office.” Williams, her former beau alleges, intended to send it “to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service.” The witness said the “deal” had fallen through, and Williams still had the laptop, or had destroyed it.

The FBI hasn’t been able to verify the witness’s Russian-conspiracy claims, and the story could be more the work of a jilted lover than a concerned citizen. Nonetheless, according to the affidavit, Williams has left her home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and a warrant is out for her arrest.

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With the long shadow of ‘Russiagate’ still hanging over Washington, the FBI is reportedly investigating whether the rioters may have been funded from abroad. At least one neoliberal think tank has – with zero evidence – accused Russia of orchestrating the chaos at the Capitol. Conspiracy theorists such as former British MP Louise Mensch, meanwhile, pinned the entire debacle on “the Russians,” claiming that Williams was receiving instructions directly from her “Russian handlers.”

So far so James Bond.

That Democrats, law enforcement, and now even ex-lovers would blame Russia for the riot is unsurprising, after four years of Moscow being fingered for all of America’s social ills. This trend continued throughout election season. Russians were blamed for pranking Joe Biden’s campaign website, and a tranche of emails implicating Biden in foreign graft schemes were dismissed by multiple media outlets and the president-elect himself as “Russian disinformation.”

In the aftermath of the riot, both sides of the aisle have looked for scapegoats. Some Republicans have pinned the blame on Antifa instigators, while Democrats have blamed President Trump and the MAGA movement at large, alongside their usual boogeymen of “white supremacists” and “neo-Nazis.” That Russia would get roped in was all but inevitable, if only for one last hurrah before Trump departs the White House on Wednesday.

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As the investigations continue, the tip against Williams is just one of more than 140,000 received by the FBI, Washington Bureau Chief Steven D’Antuono told the New York Times last week. D’Antuono added that the majority of these tips have come from friends and family members of the rioters. Teenagers have turned in their conservative parents for attending the protest, with one teen telling the Washington Post her mother’s actions “should have consequences.”

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