American Insurrection

Over the last three years, FRONTLINE has collaborated with ProPublica to investigate the rise of extremism in America. In the aftermath of the assault on the U.S. Capitol, FRONTLINE and ProPublica team up again to examine how far-right groups were emboldened and encouraged by former President Trump and how individuals were radicalized and brought into the political landscape.

AIRED: April 13, 2021 | 1:24:13

>> Who'’s our president?!

Trump'’s our president!

Fight for Trump!

>> NARRATOR: They stormed the


>> They were hostile, they were

venomous, that their country

somehow was being taken away

from them.

>> NARRATOR: And plotted to

kidnap a governor.

>> A terror plot to kidnap

Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

>> And so, you think the guys

were planning to arrest her?

>> It was going to be a

citizen'’s arrest.

>> NARRATOR: Correspondent A.C.

Thompson investigates the long

road to where we are today.

>> It was a point in my life

where like if I met you,

I would need to know

what race you were.

You're dark enough,

I would need to know.

>> NARRATOR: How these violent

groups have become part of the

political landscape.

>> You'’ve had a pandemic, people

who have lost jobs, people who

questioned the legitimacy of


This was blood in the water, and

became a feeding frenzy.

We definitely are the modern


We're the ones crazy enough to

actually do something.

>> The Pentagon has ordered a

military wide stand down to root

out extremism within its


>> President Biden directs

law enforcement to study the

urging threat.

>> Domestic Violent Extremism is

one of the number one

threats to this country.

>> NARRATOR: With the Biden

administration promising to

crack down on domestic


>> I can just tell you that this

administration sees this

as a top priority.

We're going to do everything

we can to address it.


in collaboration with ProPublica

and US Berkeley Investigative

Reporting Program -

American Insurrection.

>> You really do need that

presidential level leadership

saying, "“This is a threat.

We are gonna use all of our

tools to go after this threat."”

>> A.C. THOMPSON: January 7,


Washington's streets are quiet,


Soldiers stand watch around the

perimeter of the U.S. Capitol.

Inside, the halls are deserted.

New members of Congress should

be settling into their offices.

But instead, furniture is

stacked in doorways.

It's hard to believe that just

yesterday, these halls were

flooded with pro-Trump rioters

and that today, four people are


This is how the Trump presidency


It's shocking.

Yet there had also been warning


I wonder, what form will these

violent energies take now?

To find an answer, I feel like I

have to go back to the


If the Trump presidency ended

with an insurrection at the

Capitol, for me, it began here,

in Charlottesville, Virginia,

waiting on a darkened campus

for the torches to arrive.

>> (chanting): You will not

replace us!

You will not replace us!

>> THOMPSON: I'd been reporting

on the rise in hate crimes and

America's resurgent white

supremacist movement.

And that led me here.

>> You will not replace us!

You will not replace us!

>> THOMPSON: The rally was

called "Unite the Right."”

White supremacists out in the

open, unafraid, and soon


(indistinct chatter)

The next morning, I followed a

group of clergy to the rally.

The white supremacists were


And counter-protesters were

arriving to challenge them.

>> No hate, no fear!

White supremacists not

welcome here!

>> THOMPSON: The white

supremacists came prepared to

fight, bringing guns and knives

and bats and shields.

They attacked people who tried

to block their path, leaving

them bloodied on the pavement

The violence kept escalating

while the police looked on.

Just want to let you know

there's been all kinds of crazy

violence over here.

Pepper spray, people beating

each other with sticks.

We're trying to figure out if

the police are going to

intervene to stop that or if

it's just going to keep going


>> Well, we've all got different

assignments to try to maintain

some sort of order here.

So that's what we're focusing on

right now.

>> THOMPSON: Alongside the

neo-Nazis and white nationalists

were militias and members of a

group we would all come to know,

the Proud Boys.

Its current leader was there

that day.


I had never seen white

supremacists gather in such

large numbers.


But looking back now,

Charlottesville feels like a

prelude of what was to come.





A neo-Nazi, James Alex Fields,

slammed his car into the crowd,

injuring dozens and killing

32-year-old Heather Heyer.

>> I always wondered, "Was she


(sighs) Did she see him coming?"

Dear God, I would love to have

my daughter back.

>> THOMPSON: For you, what does

justice for Heather look like?

>> I don't know.

Nothing's gonna bring Heather


Those of us who miss her, miss



>> THOMPSON: James Alex Fields

is the person who's been

prosecuted for Heather's murder.

In your mind, is he the only

person who should be held


>> No, for people from 35

states to come in to fight,

that's absolutely absurd.

>> You had some very bad people

in that group, but you also had

people that were... very fine

people, on both sides.

>> THOMPSON: At the time, Trump

had only been president for

seven months but his response

set the tone for the next three


And many on the far right took

his words as a sign of support.

>> Wait a minute, I'm not


I'm not finished, fake news.

That was a horrible day.

I watched those very closely--

much more closely than you

people watched it.

And you have-- you had a group

on one side that was bad.

And you had a group on the other

side that was also very violent.

And nobody wants to say that,

but I'll say it right now.

(rain pattering)

>> THOMPSON: James Fields was

eventually sentenced to life in


But in the immediate aftermath

of Charlottesville, only a

handful of others were arrested.

I kept asking law enforcement

what was going on.

I got your message saying that

basically we should look at

the Facebook and Twitter posts

you put out, but we have

questions that go beyond that.

Had everyone else just blended

back into society?

Like I said, I'm just trying to

figure out how many, how many

folks have been prosecuted,

and how many cases might still

be in the pipeline.

So, we began trying to locate

the people ourselves.

>> There were a couple of guys

in these few shots that we

weren't able to identify.

I wonder who he is.

'Cause he looks like he's part

of RAM.

>> THOMPSON: Oh yeah, he's

definitely a RAM person.

Over the next year, we tracked

down some of the most violent

individuals in Charlottesville.

Look, he's got his right hand

taped up.

>> Yeah

>> THOMPSON: And then the,

definitely the guy in

Charlottesville has at least

one hand taped up.

>> Right hand.

>> THOMPSON: I wonder if his

left hand is as well.

My colleagues and I matched our

footage with images from

far-right rallies across the

country, we gained access to

encrypted chat logs, and

developed sources inside

extremist networks.

Our reporting led us to groups

that had been in

Charlottesville, including

the Rise Above Movement, or

RAM-- a white power fight club.

Hey, Mike how you doing?

They had also been linked to

multiple attacks in California.

I wanted to talk to you about

what you were doing in

Charlottesville last year.

>> Uh, sorry I don't know

anything about that, man.

>> THOMPSON: But you were there,

you're on camera, you're on


>> No, I, I think you got the

wrong guy.

>> THOMPSON: Hey, do Northrup

and UCLA know you're involved

with the Rise Above Movement?

>> Gotta go, man.

>> THOMPSON: Michael Miselis was

a RAM member we'd seen punching

a protestor in the face in


But Miselis was more than just a

street fighter-- he had a

government security clearance,

and worked for the defense

contractor Northrup Grumman.

As we looked further, we found

other white supremacists and

neo-Nazis with ties to the

military, some of them on

active duty.

It was a problem that would

continue to grow in the coming

years, despite calls to root it


>> The president has to be very

clear about the unacceptability

of these-- any extremists,

including these white

supremacist extremists

acquiring the best military

training in the world.

>> THOMPSON: Keith Ellison, then

a congressman from Minnesota,

had seen our reporting and wrote

to the Pentagon demanding it

take action.

>> Since we wrote that letter,

we have been in verbal contact

with the military that they're

responding to our letter, we

expect to have it soon, but we

have not yet seen it.

>> THOMPSON: We've identified

seven members of one neo-Nazi

group who are current or former


What do you make of that?

>> Well, I think that they have

decided this is a strategic

initiative for them.

They, they want their people to

go into the military.

There's a real legitimate fear

here, and I think that we've got

to be vigilant about it.


eventually told Ellison it had

investigated the people we'd

IDed, and had fired or

disciplined 18 service members.

>> I think one thing we can do

is to shine a light on this,

because when we get some light

on it, then somebody somewhere

is going to say, okay, this

needs to become a priority.

And so that's what we're going

to do.

>> THOMPSON: A year after

Charlottesville, the spotlight

was on.

>> We are here today to announce

the arrest of four members of

the militant white supremacist

group known as the Rise Above


>> THOMPSON: The FBI arrested

more people who'd been at Unite

the Right, including Michael

Miselis, who lost his job at

Northrop Grumman and spent

about a year in prison.

It felt like our reporting had

helped to expose some of the

most dangerous figures in the

white supremacist scene.

I began receiving death threats

even as the groups splintered,

changed their names, and were

hit with lawsuits.

But one group did continue to

take to the streets--

participating in rallies in

Portland, Oregon-- the Proud


>> (chanting): USA! USA! USA!

>> THOMPSON: They had Black

and Latino members, and wanted

to distance themselves from the

white supremacist movement.

They seemed mostly interested in

drinking, fighting, and

supporting Trump.

>> (chanting): USA! USA!

>> THOMPSON: So what's your

deal, man, why-- why are you


>> I'm here to stand up for


>> THOMPSON: They faced off

against members of Antifa.

>> They've got one ideology over

there, and these guys have a

freedom-loving ideology.

>> THOMPSON: What do you think

the ideology is over there?

>> It's communism.

>> THOMPSON: They claimed they

were defending the U.S. from

some sort of communist

takeover and they wore shirts

celebrating Pinochet, the

Chilean fascist dictator.

Tell me about your T-shirt.

What's with-- what are you

saying here?

>> It says what it says.

>> THOMPSON: What do you mean by


You're down for fascism is that,

is that what you're saying?

Some wore patches that said

RWDS-- right wing death squad.

Fights broke out sporadically.

But that march in Portland would

be the last I'd see of the Proud

Boys for a while.

I was drawn away to other


>> (over radio): We're under

fire, we're under fire, he's got

an automatic weapon, he's firing

out of the front of...

>> THOMPSON: There was the

attack on the Tree of Life

synagogue in October 2018 that

left 11 Jewish worshippers dead.

>> 7-1, suspect's talking


>> THOMPSON: And in August 2019

a gunman who'd ranted about a

Hispanic invasion opened fire

in an El Paso Walmart, killing

23 people.

Horrific hate crimes, carried

out not by extremist groups, but

by individuals.

But then, in January 2020,

something different caught my


(distant cheers)

A rally in Richmond, Virginia.

22,000 people turned out to

protest the state's new gun


Many of them were mainstream

conservatives, but among the

crowd were also militia members,

white supremacists, and Proud


I wondered if the energies from

Charlottesville were gathering


>> (chanting): Drain the swamp!

>> THOMPSON: The rally had been

organized on Facebook and I

found someone who monitors right

wing groups on social media.

>> I'm a computer scientist, my

background's in data mining and

data science, so that means

using, you know, facts and

figures, names, dates, photos,

dollar amounts, just all that

good stuff, and then we look

for patterns in that data.

>> THOMPSON: Megan Squire

tracked the decline of far-right

groups after Charlottesville.

>> Charlottesville was

incredibly disruptive to these


It started everything from

infighting amongst themselves,

all the arrests that happened

afterwards, and then the

lawsuits were just absolutely

devastating for these groups.

>> THOMPSON: But not every group

suffered from the backlash.

Some, like the Proud Boys,

survived and grew.

>> There were some that, that

escaped unscathed.

They evaded, um, really

responsibility and scrutiny

after Unite the Right and then

you know came up to rear their

ugly heads much later.

>> THOMPSON: Examining 8,000

Facebook accounts affiliated

with the Proud Boys, Squire

found that many Proud Boys also

belonged to white supremacist or

fascist groups.

In Squire's research, one

individual stands out-- Brien

James, the leader of the Indiana

chapter of the Proud Boys.

Brien's in this group and this

is, like, the most hardcore

white supremacist that you're

gonna find out there.

>> Yeah.

>> THOMPSON: We've got the

National Socialist movement

represented here.

We've got, um...

pro-Hitler groups.

We've got all kinds of real

crazy stuff.

>> This is a anti-Muslim group.

Here's an anti-immigrant group.

>> THOMPSON: Brien James was a

key node in Squire's map of the

Proud Boys.

He's been involved with some

of the most extreme movements

of the last three decades--

the Klan, an anti-government

militia, and a neo-Nazi gang

called the Outlaw Hammerskins.

In 2003 he became the leader of

his own gang called the

Vinlanders Social Club.

I pull court records in Indiana.

I don't find any cases for

James, but members of his gang

have been convicted in a string

of beatings and homicides.

I'm surprised and a little

nervous when he agrees to meet

me, and talk openly about his

past as a skinhead leader.

>> I was kind of a dictator

there and I had a much smaller

network of people, but there was

no state in the United States I

could travel to where I didn't

have a place to stay, there was

no shortage of... you know,

women involved in it, you know,

we had... it was guys who would

kill for you in a second.

So there-- you know, I never got

caught or... I was arrested and

charged with some pretty bad

things in my life, but I got a

lawyer and beat all the cases.

>> THOMPSON: James claims he

left the white power movement

behind years ago.

>> There was a point in my life

where like, if I met you, I

would need to know what race you

are, you're dark enough, I

would need to know.

You know, I would obviously--

he's not white, and that would

have an impact on how I viewed


>> THOMPSON: I've met people

who've left the white

supremacist movement before.

Most of them go out of their way

to express remorse for the

people they've harmed, the

things that they've done.

I don't hear a lot of that from


>> I haven't flipped over to the

left, I haven't gotten-- it's

not like I've changed, it's just

that doesn't matter.

It certainly doesn't matter as

much as other things.

Ideology is the primary

motivating factor to me and

whether or not the country is

going to turn out okay or not.

>> THOMPSON: But James was there

in Charlottesville at Unite the

Right, marching alongside Nazis

and white nationalists.

I ask him why, as a man who had

supposedly abandoned the white

power movement, he was so

willing to work with avowed


>> I think most people look back

on Charlottesville as a mistake,

and I do, I mean, we certainly

didn't need those guys, we

certainly didn't gain anything

from working with those guys,

especially after I had left.

I thought we were doing

something positive, and

obviously that day turned out to

be a horrible disaster and the

impact of people who was there,

was pretty severe after it was

over, so I thought all right.

>> THOMPSON: People went to

prison, people left the


>> People lost their jobs,

people were de-platformed off

of the public forum, people

were financially de-platformed.

>> THOMPSON: James doesn't

mention the killing of Heather

Heyer or the people murdered by

his former gang.

But he does spend a lot of time

talking about his new ideology,

which he calls civic

nationalism, a label adopted by

many Proud Boys.

>> THOMPSON: And as a civic

nationalist, what are your


What are your bedrock beliefs?

>> Individual liberty and

adhering to the Constitution as

much as possible, um...

I don't like this climate where

we take away accountability,

where we try to force equality

of outcomes, instead of equal


I don't like cancel culture and

political correctness to a large


People see the left is taking

over and moving society in a

certain direction.

So, we're just the ones that are

the tip of the spear out

standing up for that physically.

>> THOMPSON: James tells me that

by focusing on political enemies

instead of racial ones, he'd

gained more support.

>> I mean, I've been doing what

I'm doing here for 30 years, and

there's normally five, ten guys

in the city, maybe 20 in the


I have 200 right now.


>> Yeah.

>> THOMPSON: He'd also found a

powerful new ally in Trump.

>> Well, you've got a guy who's

a nationalist in the most

powerful seat in the world.

I mean, we've got a guy who's,

you know, at least 75, 80, 90%

on our side, and he's the

president, there's no reason

at that point to be... an


>> THOMPSON: You've been

involved in right-wing movements

for decades now, what was the

time period that you found

yourself having the most hope

for real change?

>> Now.


>> Yeah.

>> THOMPSON: After my

conversation with Brien James, I

check in with a longtime source

of mine, Pete Simi.

Simi helped me understand RAM

and the other groups in

Charlottesville, and he's

continued to track the white

supremacist movement.

I just interviewed a guy named

Brien James.

Have you ever come across this


>> Oh sure, yeah, he was,

especially during his time as

the Vinlander, he was a big

name on the radar and, you

know, really associated with a

lot of violence.

The Vinlander, the Vinlanders in

general were known to be a very

volatile, violent group that,

you know, they had a guy whose

nickname was "The Butcher," and

so, I mean this is...

>> THOMPSON: This is the guy

with "murder" tattooed on his


>> Yeah, right, right.

So, I mean, there was a number

of very violent incidents they

were involved in.

>> THOMPSON: Simi says that

while the Proud Boys may have

worked hard to push into the

mainstream, many still subscribe

to extremist beliefs.

>> So, this is, you know, a

t-shirt in reference to the mass

slaughter of Jewish people

during the Holocaust, that

stands for "six million wasn't


Their view is not to deny the

Holocaust, but to say the

Holocaust didn't go far enough.

>> THOMPSON: And so, he's flying

Proud Boys' colors, and these

clearly neo-Nazi ideas here.

You know, we get fixated on all

these different groups out

there, and in, from my

perspective, I think it's more

helpful to think about this as a

broad worldview.

>> THOMPSON: The Proud Boys are

led by Enrique Tarrio, he's

this guy who is a Cuban

American, man of color.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> THOMPSON: What's going on

with that do you think?

>> If you look at, for instance,

the history of the racist

skinhead movement in the United

States, any number of different

racist skinhead crews across the

country, they wouldn't be

exclusively white necessarily.

You have, you know, the capacity

for people of-of various

different backgrounds to embrace

fascism as an ideology, as a

worldview, and, and I think

in many respects that's what

we're dealing with here is

a broad fascist movement.

(waves splashing)

>> I will fight to protect you.

I am your president of law and


>> THOMPSON: In the summer of

2020, I watched as President

Trump rallied that movement, in

response to the protests after

the killing of George Floyd.

>> Our nation has been gripped

by professional anarchists,

violent mobs, arsonists,

looters, criminals, rioters,

Antifa, and others.

>> THOMPSON: The Proud Boys

heard President Trump's rhetoric

as a call to action.

They joined other right-wing

vigilantes in attacking the


(panicked shouting)

The unrest had become a focal

point of Trump's re-election


>> If Biden gets in, they will

have won, they will have taken

over your cities.

These are not acts of peaceful

protests, but really domestic


>> THOMPSON: One incident in

particular would be blamed on

Antifa and become a target of

the president's rage-- a

drive-by shooting in May at the

Oakland Federal building.

>> A federal officer in

California was shot and killed.

The destruction of innocent

life, and the spilling of

innocent blood is an offense to


>> If you don't think that we

have been under attack from

domestic terrorists, let me show

you a picture of one victim.

This is Patrick Underwood.

>> THOMPSON: The shooting was

nothing like the street violence

I'd been seeing, and I started

looking into it.

I went to see Officer

Underwood's sister.

>> Literally, as I think about

him, I think about him lying on

the concrete...

shot and alone.

And the concrete is cold.

I... it's, it's, it's been

horrific for us.

And at the same time it feels

like we're constantly, you know,

reliving it over and over again.

So there's, uh, it's hard to say

that we've had closure because

we haven't.

>> THOMPSON: Mm-hmm.

>> And, uh, and actually, I

don't know if we ever will.

That's the tough part.

At first there was outrage and

anger and then I'm, and then I

went to sadness in hoping that

we were going to find the people

that murdered my brother in cold


>> THOMPSON: How did you get the


>> I received a phone call at

approximately, maybe 4:00, 3:00

or 4:00 in the morning.

His fiancée Stacy said, "Angela,

Pat's been shot.

Pat's been shot."

And, um, after that, I'm not

quite sure what happened.

'Cause I don't know...

I, I can't remember if the

screaming was, was from me or if

it was from her.

And it was just a bit hazy, a

bit foggy, because you go

completely to a state of denial.

"Are you sure?

It can't be, what do you mean?"

You go through all of those

things trying to find some type

of logic in an illogical


>> THOMPSON: I see photos

from the night of the attack.

Security cameras tracked a white

van moving through the darkened

streets of Oakland.

The door slid open and a gunman

opened fire on a guard post in

front of the federal building.

But the man arrested by law

enforcement didn't end up being


His name was Steven Carrillo, a

32-year-old Air Force

staff sergeant.

He represented a new, more

deadly wave of far-right


>> In the surveillance footage,

what you can see is the side of

the van door just starts slowly

opening up and by the middle of

the intersection, the shots

begin to fire-- he's on the

side of the van.

>> THOMPSON: Okay.

>> Facing this way, shooting at

the guard post.

>> THOMPSON: Kathryn Hurd is

part of a team at the UC

Berkeley Investigative Reporting


We've been working with them on

this story.

Wow, still bullet holes here.

>> Yeah, so as you can see,

there's still remains on the...

>> THOMPSON: Looks like there's


>> Yeah, there's actually one

right here as well, but if you

actually look on the wall back

there, there are more bullet


>> THOMPSON: What was the kind

of weapon that he was using?

What do we know about that?

>> So he was using an AR-15

rifle, it's fully automatic, uh,

and as you can see from the

bullet remains that are both on

this guard post and slightly

behind it on the wall, that

thing got off at least ten


>> THOMPSON: And it was a ghost

gun, right?

>> It was a ghost gun, it was

unmarked, it...

>> THOMPSON: So no serial


>> No serial number, which

suggests that it was privately


>> THOMPSON: Meaning he put it

together or somebody put it

together for him?

>> Somebody put it together for

him, or from the FBI complaints,

but it sounds like is that he

was building his own weapons.

>> THOMPSON: You've got a

generic white Ford van, no

license plate, a gun that

doesn't have serial numbers on

it with a real common caliber

bullet, nine millimeter, and

basically it is a mystery at

that point with not a lot of


>> Exactly-- I mean, people

just don't have anything to go

off of, they took off into the

night down the street and no

one was able to catch them.

>> THOMPSON: The gunmen

disappeared and the trail went

cold for a week.

Then here, in the woods of

Santa Cruz county, some 80 miles

away, a worker made a

startling discovery.

>> He was setting some game

cameras up in the forest, and

came across this van.

And he looked in it, and

reported that it had some

bomb-making equipment.

There was no license plate on

the van, but, but there was a

VIN number.

And it came back to the Carrillo


>> THOMPSON: Sheriff Jim Hart

says his deputies along with

highway patrol went to

Carrillo's house, up this

winding mountain road.

>> These are very, uh, remote

isolated areas, the

topographies were very steep.

Sergeant Gutzwiller and Alex

Spencer get to the house.

When they did, they're down on

the roadway below the house,

when the shot was fired.

Carrillo was putting a lot of

rounds down stream, and he was

maybe 40 feet away, from a

position of cover.

Our people couldn't even see

where he was at.

Then Alex Spencer stood up

and spun to engage, up the

hillside, and Alex got shot.

And then, a few seconds after

that, a pipe bomb exploded near

him, and he was hit with some

shrapnel from that as well.

They then engaged him in a gun


Officer Estey was shot in the


They were able to put a round

into Carrillo's abdomen, and

then Carrillo fled down a


I think he was intent on

shooting police that day, so I,

I think he was gonna come to the

command post.

>> THOMPSON: After killing

Officer Damon Gutzwiller, police

say that Carrillo escaped in a

stolen car.

He later left it at a roadblock

and continued on foot.

>> All of a sudden I hear some

cries for help.

>> Help, help!

>> THOMPSON: Clara Ricabal

arrived on the scene by chance

and began filming with her


>> He had blood on his leg and

so, I mean, I knew that was the

guy that they were looking for.

>> THOMPSON: She saw a local

resident, a man she calls "the

hero" wrestle Carrillo to the


>> It's the guy!

>> How do you know?

(indistinct talking)

Pipe bomb, there's a (no audio)

gun, pistol right there, holy...

>> You want me to hold your dog?

>> No stay back, there's a gun

right there by your feet.

>> Oh!

>> THOMPSON: The hero grabbed

him, took him to the ground.

>> Mm-hmm, and the gun flew.

>> THOMPSON: The rifle flies off

at that point.

>> Uh-huh, and then he reaches

in, I think, his chest area and

he grabs a pipe bomb.

And then the hero knocks that

out like Chuck Norris...

(chuckles) and it flies and then

when he grabbed the pistol, I

believe it was in his boot, and,

then when he held it to his

head, that's when--

>> THOMPSON: So Carrillo had

the gun to the hero's head.

>> Mm-hmm.


>> Please, you guys!

>> Hey, we are holding him on

the ground right here.

>> There's a gun, please!

He's gonna get up, there's only

two people holding him down!

He's on the ground...

And the machine gun or the

rifle, whatever, is right over


>> Two guns and a pipe bomb.

(indistinct talking)

>> Oh my God, I'm choking.

You can see the pipe bomb over

here, it had landed on a step.

And I guess the pistol was over


>> THOMPSON: When it was all

over, Steven Carrillo had

allegedly killed two officers

and seriously injured

two others.

But why?

>> (on phone): The police are

the guard dogs, you know, ready

to attack whenever the owner

says "Hey, you know, sic 'em,


>> The first interview with

Steven Carrillo was 20 minutes

long, and, that second one

lasted for an hour-and-a-half.

>> THOMPSON: So you've spoken

to him for almost two hours.

>> Yeah.

>> THOMPSON: Gisela Perez de

Acha is one of our reporting

partners at UC Berkeley.

Carrillo spoke to her from jail,

where he is awaiting trial.

She is the only journalist to

have interviewed him.

>> (on phone): The police is,

it's the government's strong

arm, basically.

>> THOMPSON: Before he was

captured, Carrillo wrote

messages in his own blood,

including a single word that

would be the key to all the

chaos: boog.

>> (on phone): What the

Boogaloo is, is a revolution,

revolutionary thought...

>> THOMPSON: Carrillo told

Perez de Acha that he was part

of the militant movement called

the Boogaloo Bois.

>> (on phone): The Boogaloo


It's about people that love

freedom, liberty, and they're

unhappy with the level of

control that the government

takes over our lives.

Being free to do what you want

as long as you don't hurt anyone


>> Aren't you accused of hurting


>> Oh, that's, you know, that's

what I'm accused of.

But, uh, yeah so, back to the

example... that's what I wanted

to get to, you know, the freedom

of choice, the freedom of


>> THOMPSON: Carrillo has

pleaded not guilty and he

wouldn't answer questions about

the shootings.

Did you find it hard to get him

to actually...

>> It was so hard, it was so

hard-- he would just deny and

skirt every question.

How did you come to this?

How did you... because you said

you didn't read a lot before.

>> (on phone): Basically, uh,

through... friends, friends,

you know, the Air Force.

Once I joined the Air Force,

you know, I traveled around the

world, I met people from all

over the world.

And just talking to people

changed my whole views.

>> THOMPSON: So do you think

that he's saying that he found

these radical ideas in the


>> Yeah, I think, mainly from

my conversations with him, I

think he's definite--

definitely radicalized at the

Air Force.

>> (on phone): I love my


There's not a day that goes by

that, you know, I don't miss

putting on the uniform, the Air

Force uniform, and going to

work and doing my part.

>> THOMPSON: Once again, just as

after Charlottesville, I was

seeing an extremist inside the


And based on the Berkeley team's

reporting, Carrillo was far

from alone.

>> We matched their photo on

their Facebook with the Air

Force website.

>> THOMPSON: The team identified

at least 15 active duty airmen

openly promoting Boogaloo

content on Facebook.

Like Carrillo, eight of them

served in the Air Force

Security Branch.

>> It was kind of

substantiating this relationship

we had already been digging into

between the military and

military experience, and this

so-called Boogaloo movement.

We started to put the pieces

together and say, "Okay these

are people with legitimate

military experience who are

going out, and you know,

creating violence and noise in,

on behalf of this movement."

>> THOMPSON: So was Steven

Carrillo part of a local or

regional chapter or cell or

militia-- what was the deal?

>> Yeah, we know that he was a

part of a local militia group

called the Grizzly Scouts.

>> THOMPSON: So did Steven ever

train with these guys?

Did he meet up with them?

>> He did, they had two


The first was on April 25.

And when you think about it,

that's only six weeks before the

alleged Oakland shooting.

>> THOMPSON: Right.

>> And the second time was in

May 9.

>> THOMPSON: So right before

the shooting.

>> Right before that, yeah.

>> THOMPSON: And what was your

sense of their ideology?

>> The movement's decentralized,

anyone can call themselves a

Boogaloo Boy, just because

there's a group of Boogaloo

Bois who say, you know, we're

colorblind, you know, look at,

you know, these people who

affiliate with our group who

are not white, doesn't mean

that there aren't white

supremacists who affiliate with

the Boogaloo movement.

They're very much so fluid

in a sense.

>> Ultimately the "Boogaloo"

means a violent insurrection.

Like ultimately, whatever the

spectrum you're in as a Boogaloo

Boy, you are wishing and

actively pushing for a violent


>> I think in Steven Carrillo's

case, what's really interesting

is if you saw some of the posts

he was putting on Facebook

prior to that event, he was, you

know, like, "Let's use these

protests to our advantage, let's

go out and sort of use this

moment to capitalize on it."

>> THOMPSON: The Air Force

wouldn't comment on Carrillo

or the other members of the

service we identified as

connected to the Boogaloo Bois.

They said the FBI was leading

the investigation.

I kept reporting on the

movement, trying to figure out

its reach and capabilities.

Outwardly, they're quirky--

Hawaiian shirts, igloo patches,

and ironic memes.

Their ideology is all over the

map: I find a Boogaloo telegram

channel filled with neo-Nazi

propaganda, and another one

filled with statements

denouncing systemic racism.

But there is one unifying idea:

the desire for a violent


In our reporting, we found at

least nine men linked to the

group who'd been arrested on

weapons and explosives charges.

One allegedly planned to execute

a police officer and livestream

it on Facebook.

Another one, a man named Ivan

Hunter, was charged with

shooting up a police precinct in


He pleaded not guilty, but

court records show an online

chat between Hunter and

Steven Carrillo: "Go for police

buildings," Hunter says.

Carrillo responds just hours

after the killing of

the federal officer in Oakland,

"I did better lol."

>> What's up, everyone?

This is another episode of

Flintlock Faction.

I am your host Jay Flintlock...

>> THOMPSON: This episode

uploaded four weeks before

Officer Underwood was

gunned down in Oakland,

gleefully advocates

drive by shootings.

>> ...his presence, Guerrilla

Instructor-- what's up, dude?

>> (laughs) Uh, nothing much

man, just glad to be here...

>> THOMPSON: Host Jay Flintlock,

who claims to be a current

National Guardsman, chats with

his guest, who says he's a

former soldier.

They discuss carrying out an


>> Lot of regular infantry guys,

cav scouts, uh, you know, MPs,

we've never done insurgency-type

things, but we need to develop

those tactics.

I think we're gonna see a lot

more sabotage and assassination.

>> This is all hypothetical.

For now.

>> Oh, purely hypothetical, in


>> We-- we love cops, um, we

love them so much.

>> THOMPSON: This episode,

uploaded three weeks before

Officer Underwood was gunned

down in Oakland, gleefully

advocates drive-by shootings.

>> You know, I saw, I saw on

on your page, uh, "How to

Perform a Drive-By Shooting,"

and I was like, man that's some

real gangsta (no auido) right

there. (laughs)

>> I believe honestly that

drive bys will be our greatest

tool because its very easy to

teach, it's, hey, you know,

let's get three guys in an SUV,

roll up on this target, shoot

it up, kill two dudes and run


>> Right.

>> THOMPSON: I don't know

if Steven Carrillo ever

heard Flintlock Faction.

But the similarities between the

podcast and the shootings in

Oakland are haunting.

But John Bennett-- a recently

retired agent who oversaw

the investigation--

agrees to meet with me.

He tells me he's become

increasingly concerned about the

Boogaloo Bois.

>> They were a very obscure

group, um, that all of a sudden,

you know, came on, came on the,

uh, on the radar.

You know, while I understood

skinheads and Neo-Nazis and

MS-13 and, and ISIS and all, all

the, you know, groups that are

violent around the world,


And, and, the whole, the whole

term just seemed, um, you know,


So you'll see a lot of them

carry, you'll see a lot of them

in their Hawaiian shirts because

that is, you know, part of their


But generally, there is a lot of


They wanna go out and they're

gonna go camping and they're

gonna do, um, you know, they're

gonna go paint balling, so they

can get their tactics down, and

it's really a bunch of kids

playing army, you know, that's

the easiest thing I can relate

it to.

>> THOMPSON: Right.

>> Except some of them have

taken it, "No kidding, we're

gonna go ahead and put live

rounds in our guns, and we're

gonna, we're gonna do something

that's, that's gonna be terrible

and impact people's lives."

They wanna be the instigators,

the, the frontline of, of the

civil war that's gonna happen

in, in this country, and they're

convinced, "We're gonna be

ready and we're gonna be the

ones that are gonna survive."

>> THOMPSON: I need to see the

movement for myself.

I go to Virginia, where a

Boogaloo cell is marching

against a local gun ordinance.

Fifty protesters show up.

They have body armor, assault

rifles and outlawed high

capacity magazines.

They carry igloo flags and wear

Hawaiian shirts and ironic


The group is led by Mike Dunn.

>> THOMPSON: So how you feeling

about today?

>> Liberty shall not be


>> THOMPSON: Has this been a

success in your mind?

>> Liberty shall not be


>> THOMPSON: Dunn postures like

a seasoned squad leader.

But this doesn't look like a

group that's going to lead a

violent insurrection.

I can see the threat they pose

though-- the Boogaloo Bois have

demonstrated the potential to

carry out acts of violence.

Some in law enforcement and the

intelligence community also saw

this threat over the past year.

But I've been told their

concerns were rejected by the

White House.

>> Among the counterterrorism

community, we took it very

seriously, but you really do

need that presidential level

leadership saying, "This is a

threat, we are gonna use all

of our tools to go after this

threat"-- that never happened

under Trump.

>> THOMPSON: Elizabeth Neumann

was one of the top

counterterrorism officials in

the Trump administration.

She says she tried to warn the

White House about the rising

threat of far right extremists,

but the president and his

allies claimed the real threat

was from Black Lives Matter

and Antifa.

>> Does Antifa exist?

It's not an organization, it's

a movement.

You have groups of people that

associate with them.

Do they show up at protests?

Sure. Is it a massive

conspiracy to overthrow the U.S.

government and kill a lot of


No. You know, where that is?

It's on the right, it's in the

white supremacist movement.

It's in the anti-government

militia movement.

It's in the Boogaloo Boy


It's not in the anti-fascist


>> THOMPSON: Neumann says she

watched with alarm as President

Trump didn't just ignore the

threat of domestic extremism, he

incited it.

>> He attacked the governor of

Michigan, he attacked the

governor of Virginia for their

pandemic mitigation measures,

and was using rhetoric like,

"You gotta take your, your state

back, you gotta push back

against your governor."

Now, not all of them are going

to radicalize, not all of them

are going to commit an act of


But that is a huge pool of

people to be vulnerable.

Meanwhile, we have active white

supremacist organizations,

neo-Nazis, um, we have a

Boogaloo Bois movement looking

for ways to attack our country,

ways to commit acts of violence.

>> THOMPSON: Neumann resigned

in frustration from DHS in April


By October, her warnings seemed

to be coming true.

Police and federal agents

arrested 14 militia members,

charging them with plotting to

kidnap Michigan governor

Gretchen Whitmer, try her in

their own court, and potentially

execute her for treason.

>> We've had a big problem

with the young... a woman

governor from... you know who

I'm talking about, from


>> THOMPSON: For months Trump

had been railing against the

governor and her COVID


And even after the plot was

revealed, his attacks continued.

>> You got to get your governor

to open up your state, okay?

>> Lock her up!

Lock her up!

>> Lock 'em all up.

>> THOMPSON: A kidnapping plot

against a sitting governor.

It was a shocking escalation in


Not long after the arrests, I

went to Michigan to investigate.

The FBI identified the militia

behind the plot as the Wolverine


Their social media is full of

Boogaloo iconography and law

enforcement has connected them

to militia members in at least

four states.

Among the people arrested for

the kidnapping plot were Joe

Morrison and his father-in-law,

Pete Musico-- the founders of

the Wolverine Watchmen-- and

Barry Croft, who prosecutors

call "probably the most

committed violent extremist of

the entire group."

According to the FBI, the

plotters convened secret

meetings at this vacuum store in

Grand Rapids.

An FBI informant recorded the


They met in this basement.

In one recording, a member of

the group describes a plan to

seize the governor from her

vacation home and put her on


"Snatch and grab," he tells the


"Grab the governor.

Because at that point, it's


I wanted to know more about the

Wolverine Watchmen, about how

far their network went.


>> THOMPSON: I hear that several

militias will be gathering at a

rally in a suburb of Grand


I decide to show up.

Even so soon after the arrests,

militia members seem undaunted.

They march in the streets,

openly supporting the alleged

plotters and condemning the


>> This governor tries to

control us, trampling all over

our God-given individual


>> THOMPSON: The militia doing

security today is missing

two of its members-- the Null

brothers-- who were charged as

part of the kidnapping plot.

>> Militia members are being

arrested and stripped of the

right to be presumed innocent

until proven guilty in a court

of law.

And I can't speak for all of

them, but I know two of them,

because two of them have stood

right beside me at these very


And I feel a heck of a lot safer

when they're around me.

>> Free the Nulls!

>> Yeah, free the Null brothers.



>> ...still walking around.

>> Whitmer's still walking


What are you talking about?

>> Lock her up!

Lock her up!

Lock her up!

Lock her up!

>> Hey, careful, you guys say

that out loud, they're going try

to arrest you for attempting to

kidnap her too.

>> Lock her up!

Lock her up!

Lock her up!

>> THOMPSON: They weren't

just angry, they considered the

governor's COVID restrictions


And the state's Republicans were

even preparing articles of

impeachment to that effect.

>> People are getting really mad

at what she's done, they have

found out is illegal, and she

should be arrested and nothing's

being done.

>> THOMPSON: And so you think

the Wolverine Watchmen and the

other guys were planning to

arrest her?

You think that's what was going


>> Yeah.


It was going to be a citizen's


>> THOMPSON: You think there's a

lot of people that feel that way

in Michigan?

>> Oh yeah, oh yeah.

People are upset.

They're very, very upset at


Very upset.

(cars honking)

>> THOMPSON: This anger at the

governor had been boiling since

the spring, when militias

rallied at the state capitol.

According to the FBI, it was

here that the kidnapping plot

first began to coalesce.

>> Let us in!

Let us in!

>> Open the door!

>> Let us in!

>> THOMPSON: Egged on by

President Trump, who had tweeted


armed militia members stormed

the capitol building.

>> Tyranny!



>> THOMPSON: With chants of

"tyranny" and "Heil Whitmer,"

they confronted lawmakers.

>> Heil Hitler!

Heil Hitler to Whitmer!

>> Lock her up!

Lock her up!

>> THOMPSON: It seemed like a

precursor to what would happen

at the U.S. Capitol.

Armed protestors made into the

legislators' gallery and

disrupted the session.

Representative Sarah Anthony was

there that day.

>> April 30, when armed gunmen

stormed the capitol building,

is probably the most terrifying

thing that I've ever

experienced in my life.

Filled, this lobby was filled.

All around.

Up these steps.

This is where, you know, we had

hundreds of people.

>> THOMPSON: And most of them

were armed?

>> Oh, absolutely.

Absolutely armed.

When we got word that they were

coming into the building, just

sheer fear went through my body

and I can tell you that other

legislators on both sides of the

aisle were very fearful as well.

I was on the floor and I missed

three calls from my mom.

She was not sure if her daughter

was going to make it home alive.

>> THOMPSON: When we spoke, the

attack in Washington D.C.

was still months away, but

Anthony was already worried

where things might be heading


>> 2020 has been building up,

it's been a slow fire.

It's like a powder keg.

I don't know when that explosion

is going to happen or what form

it's going to take.

(people shouting on video)

>> THOMPSON: In footage from

April 30, you can see six of the

alleged kidnapping plotters.

One is clearly visible with a

Boogaloo-style Hawaiian shirt

and an AR-15.

The Wolverine Watchman founder,

Pete Musico, is in the footage

too, calling the legislators


>> Traitors!

>> THOMPSON: Musico pleaded not

guilty to charges related to the


I find property records in

Jackson for a parcel of land in

Musico's name.

He was being held in the Jackson

County Jail.

His home may be empty, but I

decide to take a look.

(knocks on door)

(knocks on door)

Hey, how you doing?

>> No comment.

Thank you.

>> THOMPSON: Hey, we would love

to get in touch with Pete and


I saw what they been saying


>> That's why I can't comment,

because they put out so much


>> THOMPSON: That's what we want

to figure out what really


I saw what Pete was saying in

court and what his attorney said

and we would love to talk to his


>> No, I'm dealing with it.

Tell her just settle down.

>> I'm real interested in what

really happened.

>> I'm sure a lot of people are.

>> THOMPSON: Crystal Musico is

nervous, but eager to speak

about the FBI raid and the

arrest of her husband.

>> They separated us all and

questioned us each one.

It was always about politics.

>> THOMPSON: About politics and


>> We won't have anything to do

with politics anymore.

There won't be anything.

If you want to vote, vote.

Great, vote.

I hope it does you some good

because it ain't done us nothing

but give us heartache.

>> THOMPSON: Pete was at the

rallies at the capitol, right?

>> Mm-hmm.

>> THOMPSON: Why do you think he

went out there?

>> To protest.

>> Did you go?

Did you go?

>> I did go to one.

I went to one.

>> And did Pete bring arms when

he went to the protest?

>> Yes.

>> Why'd he do that?

>> Because he has that right.

>> THOMPSON: What I see in the

law enforcement bulletins and

what I see in the court charges

are Boogaloo movement, it's

about violently overthrowing the

government, starting a civil war

and killing cops.

And to me that's fairly


>> It is shocking.

It is shocking to hear all that,

but it's also shocking to know

that a cop is legally allowed to

stand on your neck and kill you.

It is shocking that that's

allowed and people are okay with

that because I'm not, but I

ain't doing nothing about it.

>> THOMPSON: And you think this

is in part a response to

concerns about police abuse and

about police...

>> I think it's a response to a

lot of concerns more than just


>> THOMPSON: What else?

>> The way the country is going.

This is all in the Bible.

You can believe it or not, I

don't care.

Your faith is not mine to judge

and mine's not yours to judge.

>> THOMPSON: You think this...

are we at the end of days, do

you think?

>> Yeah.

I do believe so.

I think we're on the third day,

Jesus rose on the third day.

>> THOMPSON: Crystal Musico's

beliefs have deep roots here in


Nearly 30 years ago, this was

the epicenter of the modern

militia movement.

The Michigan Militia was once

considered the nation's largest,

claiming 10,000 members.

Timothy McVeigh reportedly

attended some of its meetings

before he blew up the Oklahoma

City federal building in 1995.

(dialing out)

>> Can you hear me?

>> THOMPSON: Michigan Attorney

General Dana Nessel knows the

history well.

She says the new generation of

militias is different.

>> I think the difference is

that these folks felt supported

by those in government and

perhaps at the highest levels of


You had the president of the

United States calling her out

by name, calling her a dictator,

saying that individuals should

liberate Michigan.

The president of the United

States, after these armed gunmen

had more or less taken over our

capitol building, you know, his

words were that these are very

fine people and the governor

ought to sit down and negotiate

with them.

Can you imagine?

That sounds like a hostage

crisis more than anything.

>> THOMPSON: Have you gotten


I mean, have people threatened

your life?

>> (laughs)

I'm sorry to laugh.

But it's like you should be

asking me, "How many days a week

are you not getting death


And that's not just me, it's our

secretary of state, it's our


I think that we would be lying

if we said that we never got

worried, we never got scared for

ourselves or for our family


>> THOMPSON: Though the DOJ is

handling some of the kidnapping

cases, Nessel is prosecuting

Pete Musico and seven of the

other alleged plotters.

Do you think these arrests

neutralize the threat?

>> As of today, right now, do I

think that it's still a

significant concern in Michigan?

I do.

>> THOMPSON: Nessel says the

threat from militias is real and

has been evolving for years.

A new wave of militias emerged

during the Iraq War, groups

like the Oath Keepers and the

Three Percenters.

But they've never been accused

of anything like the terror

attributed to the Boogaloo and

Wolverine Watchmen.

I'm told about a location where

the Watchmen allegedly trained

and prepared for the kidnapping


The camp is deserted.

Its training course-- with spray

painted human targets-- is

littered with spent shells.

According to federal

prosecutors, the Watchmen blew

up a homemade bomb here.

Neighbors tell me they heard the

blast a half mile away.

The bomb was allegedly built by

the man prosecutors describe as

one of the plot's masterminds--

Barry Croft.

Croft is being held in a

Michigan jail.

In FBI recordings, he claimed he

had been granted permission from

God to commit murder.

I try to contact him through his

lawyer, but get nowhere.

And then, I get an email.

Croft wants to talk.

(phone ringing)

>> Good morning, sir.

How are you?

Even though my attorney told me

not to speak to you, I felt it

necessary to clear my name.

Somebody has gotta say something

contrary to what the federal

propagated mainstream media's

putting out there and that's why

I came to you.

>> THOMPSON: Is there anything

you can say about the Wolverine


>> You know, I'm very unfamiliar

with their, uh, "militia."

I wasn't a member.

I was only tied in by satellite


>> THOMPSON: Croft has pleaded

not guilty, and won't talk about

anything specifically related to

the kidnapping plot.

But he lays out arguments

against the federal government

as if he were before a court.

>> Okay.

This comes straight out of the

Black's Law Dictionary.

It's the word junta, J-U-N-T-A.

Definition number one, a

military government that has

come into power by force.

People need to realize that they

are being ruled by an

illegitimate authority that is

in effect.

>> THOMPSON: To clarify on that,

basically you feel like we're

all under military rule in this


>> Yes, sir.

>> THOMPSON: In addition to his

ties to the Watchmen, the FBI

says he's a leader of the Three

Percenters, a national network

of militia groups.

>> If you look under the

militia statute, every

able-bodied American male, 17 to

45, is considered in the

unorganized militia.

The militia is absolutely

necessary to the security of a

free state.

>> THOMPSON: I saw an interview

with you, and you were wearing a

Hawaiian shirt with your tricorn


>> (laughs) Yeah.

>> THOMPSON: What do you think

of the Boogaloo movement?

>> I got a kick out of those

kids because even though, you

know, you might find some

Boogaloo Bois that are over

here, some are over there, at

least they're paying attention.

They're young, they're


>> THOMPSON: And they're


>> Um, yeah.

They're militant.

Unfortunately, when you try

talking and talking and talking

and you don't get anywhere,

militant is the obvious, natural


That's it.

You leave them no choice.

And I-I got a kick out of those


They... you know, the one out of

Virginia, Mike Dunn.

You know, you-you look at him

and he's an inspiration.

>> THOMPSON: Did you ever meet

Mike Dunn?

Did you ever talk to him online?

>> I talked to him on the phone

once or twice before they, uh,

before they came and wrapped me


>> THOMPSON: Mike Dunn.

Before his arrest, Barry Croft

had been in contact with the

Boogaloo leader I'd seen at the

rally in Richmond.

Dunn is just 20 years old.

He'd joined the Marines out of

high school but was medically

discharged with a heart


He now leads one of the most

visible Boogaloo chapters in the


Dunn lives in rural Virginia.

>> We definitely are the modern


We're the ones crazy enough to

actually do something.

I think that a lot of people,

especially on the right,

Republicans, realized that it

was no longer a America of


I think a lot of people woke up

to that in these past four


>> THOMPSON: So the Trump

presidency is eroding people's

faith in the government further.

>> I wouldn't say that he's

necessarily helped erode it

further, I think he's just

helped spotlight it further.

I believe a lot of people

were already skeptical, and then

I think there are some that saw

the president of the United

States being skeptical and said,

"Maybe we should too."

>> THOMPSON: Is this a movement

that's hierarchical?

Are there commanders?

Are there leaders?

How does it work?

>> There are Boogaloo cells

within the movement.

You have a fire team, or four

people, five people, six people,


And those teams have a leader

that they answer to generally.

As far as a leader for the

movement itself, no, there's not

a leader.

>> THOMPSON: You're sketching

out a decentralized network

where you have different nodes

on that network that may have a

leader, may have a commander and

a structure, but overall there's

no overarching general who's

calling the shots?

>> No, there's not.

>> What do you think of these

guys from Michigan who are

allegedly targeting the


>> I feel they, uh... they did

what should happen across the

United States in a lot of


They were going to take a stand

against what they perceive to be


>> THOMPSON: Did you interact

with those guys, the Michigan


>> Yeah, I'd interacted with a


>> THOMPSON: Online or in


>> Online.

>> THOMPSON: What about Steve

Carrillo, the guy from


>> Steve Carrillo, yeah.

>> THOMPSON: You talked to him?

>> Yeah, a lot of people in the

movement knew who Steve was.

>> THOMPSON: So you messaged

with him?

>> I'm not going to comment.

>> THOMPSON: But you saw him


>> I knew who he was.

>> THOMPSON: You knew who he


>> Yeah.

>> THOMPSON: What did you think

when he got arrested?

>> I'm sure he had a reason for

targeting who he targeted, and

so be it.

>> THOMPSON: I don't buy a lot

of Dunn's claims.

But listening to him is


It's clear that many in the

movement are connected.

And they seem to be growing more

radical with each new arrest.

There's been a bunch of


>> Yes, there has been.

>> THOMPSON: the last


>> A lot.

>> THOMPSON: You worried about

those guys?

>> I think that a lot of them

will take care of themselves

while they're in, and when they

get out we'll welcome them with

open arms.

Or we have a revolution and we

free them.

When things pop off, we're going

to be liberating them first.

>> THOMPSON: Are you worried

that more people are going to

get wrapped up?

>> Yeah, more than likely.

I just hope they go out

shooting, killing the ones who

come to enforce unconstitutional

law, so be it.

We're past the point of peace.

I think about a revolution

against the government.

I do believe it's inevitable.

With tensions high Washington

D.C. boards up as if the

election were a hurricane

headed for the city.

A Trump victory could further

embolden the far right movements

that see him as a champion.

A defeat could further

radicalize them.

Throughout the year, the

President had been whipping up

fears that the election would be

stolen, and as the night wears

on with no concession speech, no

declared winner, the moment

seems full of danger.

The next morning, with the

nation on edge, I sit down with

Mary McCord, a former counter

terrorism official at the

Justice Department.

>> Obviously as of last night,

and even this morning, there's a

fair bit of uncertainty in terms

of the ballot counting.

We're in a tenuous situation

in waiting to see how the

right-wing organizations will


If Biden is declared the winner,

then I certainly have some

concerns that those on the right

who think maybe this is the

result of fraud or a rigged

election, particularly if the

president is saying so, will

take more aggressive action

along the lines of what we saw

earlier this year in opposition

to, for example, governors'

stay-at-home orders.

>> THOMPSON: McCord continues

to track extremist groups and

was instrumental in suing the

militias who'd shown up in


>> Under this presidency, the

far right, unlawful militias

have felt much more license

to publicly engage.

It's given them a real


And they've said this from the


I trace a lot of things to

Charlottesville's Unite the

Right rally, when the

president's talked about very

fine people on both sides, I

mean, that was immediate.

Right-wing groups, including

militia groups, just, you know,

grabbed ahold of that language

and it helps them recruit, it

helps them fundraise, it helps

them expand.

>> THOMPSON: So you come a few

years into the future, and now

we're seeing that all the time

in the present day.

>> So much more so than I had

ever seen before, I mean, you

know, if we think back, you

know, about militias, like, we

remember things like Ruby Ridge

and Waco, Texas, and even

more recently, the Bundy ranch

standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada.

Or the Malheur Wildlife Refuge


Still, those looked very

different, right, than what

we're seeing now with, like,

going into, like, downtown

areas, you know whether it's

small towns in Idaho, Sandpoint

or Coeur d'Alene, or Port...

or big cities like Portland,


They feel that they have the

president's approval and they're

using that and that's partly

why we're seeing them more and

more and more on the streets.

Not, you know, not just in one

or two areas of the country, but

across the country.

He's trying to stoke their

activity by continuing to say

that the election was stolen

and that the only reason he

didn't win is because it was


Those are the kinds of things

that will feed in to the

narrative that these groups have

coalesced around already.

(indistinct chatter)

>> THOMPSON: On November 14, one

week after the election was

called for Joe Biden, Trump's

supporters take to the streets

in Washington.

Stirred up by the president's

refusal to concede, they demand

that the results be overturned.

>> Trump 2020!

>> THOMPSON: Hundreds of Proud

Boys gather, by far the largest

contingent I've ever seen


(crowd singing)

Brien James is here, both as

a Proud Boy, and leading his

own group called the American


>> ♪ Wouldn't do us any harm!

(singing indistinctly)

♪ Wouldn't do us any harm

♪ And we'll all hang on behind

>> Who's our president?

>> Trump's our president!

>> Hoo-roo!

>> Hoo-roo!

>> I refuse to apologize!

>> For creating the modern


>> For creating the modern


>> I am a Proud Boy!

>> I am a Proud Boy!

>> Hoo-rah!

>> THOMPSON: New Proud Boys are

initiated and they march through

the streets.

>> (chanting): USA! USA!


>> THOMPSON: I see former Nazi

skinheads with the Proud Boys.

They mix with mainstream

Trump supporters.

It was the kind of crowd that

would turn out again and again

to support Trump's attempt to

overturn the election.

>> (chanting): All lives matter!

All lives matter!

>> THOMPSON: As night falls,

drunken Proud Boys merge with

MAGA marchers and roam through

the city looking for fights.

Trump supporters confront


>> Enemy of the people!

>> THOMPSON: Vandalize Black

Lives Matter signs...



>> THOMPSON: And fight with

activists who try to stop them.

(panicked shouting)

>> Get out of here!

>> THOMPSON: A month later,

Trump supporters take to the

streets of Washington again,

and once again, the protests

turn violent.


And then, he calls his

supporters to the Capitol on

January 6.

>> We're going to walk down and

I'll be there with you.

We're going walk down to the



You'll never take back our

country with weakness.

You have to show strength, and

you have to be strong.


We have come to demand that

Congress do the right thing,

and we fight.

We fight like hell, and if you

don't fight like hell, you're

not going to have a country


>> THOMPSON: As the clock runs

out on his presidency, he urges

them towards the Capitol


The Proud Boys are here, but

they aren't wearing their

trademark yellow and black.

(indistinct shouting)

The Boogaloo Bois are here too,

also out of uniform.

They both blend into the

pro-Trump crowd.

Inside, Congress is trying to

certify the election.

Outside, the crowd is bearing

down on them.

>> Who's house?

>> Our house!

>> Who's house?

>> Our house!

>> THOMPSON: But the police on

the steps are outnumbered and


(people clamoring, chanting)

(people shouting)

(clanging, shouting)

(siren blares, people shouting)

>> (screams)


>> THOMPSON: Around 140 police

officers are injured.

One officer, Brian Sicknick,

will later die.

(people shouting)

(banging, glass shattering)

A Proud Boy from New York state

smashes through a window.

(indistinct shouting)

The Capitol has been breached.

>> You're killing me, man-- hey!


>> THOMPSON: A Proud Boy broke

the window, but what about the

crowd behind him?

A mob, urged on by the

president, willing to embrace

an insurrectionary violence

that was once confined only to

the most extreme elements of

the far right.

>> It's amazing!

>> THOMPSON: Bewildered,

some wander through the halls.

Others move toward the Senate


(people shouting, fighting)

Police struggle to hold them off

while congress members

flee through back exits.

The mob surges through the

hallways, searching for them,

coming within feet of their


>> (chanting): Break it down!

Break it down!

Break it down!

>> THOMPSON: Rioters try to

break into a hallway that

lawmakers are escaping through.

(gun shot)


>> Shot fired!

>> THOMPSON: A protestor is shot

and killed.

(muffled shouting)

Three other rioters die in the


(ringing, muffled audio)

It would be hours before the

Capitol was cleared.

(ringing fading)

The morning after the attack,

Congress's hallways are


I meet with Representative André


>> I was alerted by a Capitol

police officer that I needed to

stay in my office.

Now as a former police officer,

my instinct is to get more

information and participate, but

these group of officers urge me

to stay in my office.

>> THOMPSON: Carson served in a

anti-terrorism unit when he was

a police officer in Indiana.

In Congress, he is a member of

the House Intelligence


>> I can remember when I first

served on the intelligence

committee, there were leaders in

the FBI under the Obama

administration who very

arrogantly and self righteously

talked about how they were gonna

defend our country against these

terrorist attacks, so-called

Muslim attacks.

But when it comes to white

supremacists, the FBI is too


It has to change.

It has to change.

Much more work needs to be done.

(phone rings)

>> THOMPSON: Hey Mike, are you


>> How's it going?

Yeah, man, how are you?

>> THOMPSON: All right, man.

It's a gray day in D.C.

>> It's a gray time for our

nation as well.

>> THOMPSON: I reach Mike Dunn

later-- he hadn't been at the

Capitol, but I want to find out

what he's thinking.

So in your mind, what changed

for the Boogaloo movement on


>> We realized that we're a lot

closer to a revolution.

Our recruiting and interest

went completely through the

roof as well.

They're beginning to understand

that the only answer is


>> THOMPSON: Proud Boys didn't

wear yellow and black, the Boogs

are not wearing Hawaiian shirts.

Do you think we're in, like, a

kind of new phase in the


>> I think that people are

learning and adapting.

I think we're definitely looking

at armed insurrection.

Many of us in this movement,

myself and a lot of other young

people like me have come to

grips with the fact that death

is a reality, it's coming.

We just want ours to count.

>> THOMPSON: Washington goes on


The National Guard patrols

the streets.

Law enforcement agencies across

the country spring into action.

After Charlottesville, it took

months for the FBI to build a

handful of cases.

But within weeks of January 6,

there have been more than 130


I search the list of names.

Many of the individuals charged

are affiliated with groups I've

been tracking.

But even more of them have no

apparent ties to extremist

groups at all.

What did it all mean?

>> I think January 6, I think it

really surprised everybody.

Here are groups that profess to

be, you know, law and order

in this country, and then here

are cops that are in the group

that are beating on other cops.

You know, that is unheard of.

>> THOMPSON: I asked the former

FBI agent John Bennet about what

he thought the takeaways were

from January 6.

When you were seeing the early

news reports from January 6,

did you think, "Hey, this is a

well-organized conspiracy?"

>> I-I didn't think this was

well-organized at all.

I think this was opportunistic.

They were banging on doors and

opening doors that led to

hallways and stairwells.

They had no idea what the layout

was and they were shocked that

they got in there.

You've had a pandemic, people

who have lost jobs, people

who questioned the legitimacy

of elections.

I think this was chum in the

water and blood in the water,

and it became a feeding frenzy.

>> THOMPSON: Do you feel like

now what you're seeing is

radical fringe ideologies

migrating into the mainstream

and sort of moving out of those

small fringe groups into

broader circulation?

>> The skinheads and, and, and

all of that neo-Nazi side of

things, no-- that is something

people really don't want to be

associated with, but what the

scary thing is, a lot of people

in these, these groups that

we're seeing now are your

neighbors, are your... you know,

the truck drivers and the

doctors that believe in this.

>> THOMPSON: You spent years

investigating domestic terror


When you think about the future

of political violence in this

country, are you worried about

another January 6, where it's

sort of a mass eruption, or are

you more worried about an

individual act of terrorism by

an individual or a small cell?

>> It's those individuals and

those, those people who are

plotting without a lot of

people around them that are

very challenging for, for any

law enforcement to investigate.

You know, referring back to the

January 6 events, there,

there was an individual who

placed pipe bombs who has not

been identified yet.

That's the type of person that,

you know, we're really

concerned about.

>> THOMPSON: Intelligence and

law enforcement sources keep

warning me about two sides of

the extremist threat-- an

expanding pool of radicalized

individuals, and small groups of

extremists recruiting them into


Looking over our footage from

the 6th with my colleague Ford

Fisher, one group keeps


Close to the front, at the

tipping points where the day

turned-- the Proud Boys.

>> So at the, at the previous

two million MAGA marches, there

were probably about a thousand

Proud Boys.

>> THOMPSON: Yeah, there were a


>> At each of them, um...

>> THOMPSON: And they're all

wearing black and yellow.

>> Wearing pretty much

identical, black and yellow.

On January 6, it's quite

different, they had

specifically said that they

were going to come wearing all


>> THOMPSON: Even without their

uniforms, I recognize Ethan

Nordean-- a Proud Boy I'd seen

in Portland years ago.

He's pleaded not guilty to

charges related to January 6.

The Proud Boy seen breaking the

window-- identified by the FBI

as Dominic Pezzola-- has also

pleaded not guilty for his role

in the attack.

I used to see Proud Boys march

with Thin Blue Line flags, but

now they're charged with

participating in a riot that had

killed a police officer.

So we go to these rallies and

the Proud Boys say, "We love the

police, we back the blue,

blue lives matter."

But that changed, that changed

on January 6 and suddenly they

are at war with the police.

>> I think sort of a transition

from supporting the government

to, uh, to believing that the

incoming government is


>> (chanting): Our streets!

>> THOMPSON: The Proud Boys

appeared to be the largest

organized group at the Capitol,

but another pattern jumps out

of the footage-- men and women

in military-style combat gear.

43 of the rioters charged for

the 6th are military veterans

or current members of the

armed forces.

Extremists within the military:

it's the problem I'd long been


The government had always

downplayed the scale of it.

>> President-elect Joe Biden

today denounced the rioters who

stormed the Capitol and blamed

President Trump for...

>> THOMPSON: The new

administration claims to be

taking the threat more


>> Domestic violent extremism

is one of the number one

threats to this...

>> THOMPSON: With vows to make

it a top priority.

>> To study the urgent threat...

>> THOMPSON: But I've heard

language like this in the past.

>> People arrested were active

military personnel or


>> THOMPSON: I wonder if this

time will be different.

And some of the

signs are encouraging.

>> ...a military-wide stand down

to root out extremism within

its ranks after the January 6

assault on the Capitol.

>> THOMPSON: The man heading the

DOD's effort on extremism in the

ranks agrees to talk to me.

>> We know that this is a

problem, it is absolutely a

problem, it's a disturbing

problem, and it's one that

we're going to address.

>> THOMPSON: The Pentagon had

always framed this to me as

an isolated issue.

But January 6 seems to have

changed that.

>> You're a reporter, you've

looked at the data.

We know that veterans in

America make up a small

percentage of the overall

population, definitely much less

than 10%.

But when you look at the, the

number of the those individuals

charged, we see that there was

an out-sized representation of

that veteran population in that


So we need to understand what

happened, and we need to, to do

deep dives into the data to

get a greater understanding of

why this took place, why this


>> THOMPSON: In the past when I

would ask the military branches,

the Pentagon about this

question, people didn't want to

answer it honestly.

>> Well, I, I don't want to

speak to what's happened in the

past, I can just tell you that

Secretary Austin, that President

Biden, this administration is...

sees this as a top priority.

We're going to do everything we

can to address it.

>> THOMPSON: It seems like

there's a shift, a few years

ago, I was seeing guys who were

affiliated with the neo-Nazi

movements, the white supremacist

movements; more recently, what

I seem to be seeing are guys

that identify with

anti-government groups, with

militia groups.

Have you seen that shift as

well in your work?

>> Well, I'll tell you, as

society shifts, uh, and

evolves, so do... so too do

the nature of the threats.

So we are trying to get a good

handle on what we are actually

facing so we can make the right

type of recommendations and

process in order to address it.

>> THOMPSON: Two weeks after

January 6, with authorities

bearing down on extremist

groups, Boogaloo Bois stage

rallies around the country.

In Michigan they return to the

state capitol.

And I recognize Boogaloo Bois

who took part in the siege here

back in April.

In Virginia, Mike Dunn marches


>> All we do repeatedly is get

tread on!

Well, today we're not getting

tread on!

It's is not about Trump!

It's is not about MAGA!

It's not about Democrats, it's

not about Republicans.

It's about me and my boys right

here, standing together and

saying we're done, we're not

gonna comply.

The only answer to solving our

issue is armed revolt.

>> THOMPSON: But despite his

bravado, this might be the last

time he leads Boogaloo Bois in


After this rally, he changes

his phone number and vanishes

from social media.

In our last conversation, he

tells me the struggle is

entering a new phase and he

needs to disappear.

Law enforcement is continuing to

make arrests.

They charge four more people in

connection to the

Boogaloo-related murder case

against Steven Carrillo.

According to the FBI, the group

had been discussing tactics for

killing police.

The Proud Boys are here too.

But their numbers are small.

(indistinct chatter)

After the Capitol siege, and

the Proud Boys getting arrested

for that, for breaching the


>> What Proud Boys?

>> THOMPSON: There were dozens

of Proud Boys there who

were helping to orchestrate

the breach.

Do you want an insurrection to

overturn the election...

>> We want a patriotic party

that puts America first.

>> THOMPSON: You guys were never

looking for trouble in D.C., or


>> We don't look for no

problems at all.

>> THOMPSON: Yeah, but

everywhere I go there's fights

with the Proud Boys and other


I've been in D.C. with you guys

and you were looking for fights,

you were looking...

>> No, we weren't, I've been to

every single D.C...

>> THOMPSON: You don't think


>> I've been to two out of the

three, we've been there on the


>> THOMPSON: And so, the Black

Lives Matter signs that got

torn down?

>> That has nothing to do with


>> THOMPSON: Except it was

Proud Boys that were part of

that group.

I had reached the end of a

trail that began in

Charlottesville, where I had

seen up close the peril posed by

a resurgent white supremacist


In the months leading up to

January 6, what I saw was

different-- armed militias

pledging to execute police and

elected officials;

ultra-nationalists brawling in

the streets with their perceived

enemies; would-be

revolutionaries in Hawaiian

shirts, and millions of people

convinced the 2020 election was

a fraud-- some of them angry

enough to attack the

United States Capitol.

After years of covering these

movements, it's clear; they've

they've been part of the

American scene for decades,

constantly evolving, and the

threat is not going away.

>> Go to for

more reporting with our partners

including our past films

and for a timeline of

extremist events leading up to

January 6th.

"Jews will not replace us..."

Connect with FRONTLINE on

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

And watch anytime of the PBS App


>> For more on this and other

Frontline programs visit our

website at

Frontline's American

Insurrection is available on

Amazon Prime Video.


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