The United States Capitol Police had information at least two days before the events of Jan. 6, 2021, indicating that attendance at President Donald Trump’s rally at the Ellipse on that day could swell to 3 million people, according to a federal trial exhibit and court testimony from a senior USCP commander.
An email sent by USCP Capt. Jessica Baboulis at 1:13 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2021, said that organizers of the Trump rally expected 3 million people to show up at the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6.
“Activity on the 6th. Women for America. March for Trump (POTUS attend at 11) 20k (organizer says 3 million to attend),” the email read.
Baboulis’s email was entered into evidence on Feb. 22 as a defense exhibit in the third Oath Keepers criminal trial in U.S. District Court in Washington DC.
Six Oath Keepers defendants are on trial for charges including conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding—aiding and abetting, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and other charges stemming from Jan. 6. The trial began on Feb. 2 and went to the jury for deliberations on March 14.
Baboulis earlier testified for the prosecution about conditions at the Capitol on Jan. 6, when she served as acting inspector in charge of the USCP Library Division.
During cross-examination by defense attorney Juli Haller, Baboulis said the document in question was “actually not an email,” but rather “notes to myself.”
“And so it’s fair to say that you knew that—or the U.S. Capitol Police anticipated that there would be 3 million people attending the POTUS event, right?” Haller asked.
Baboulis replied, “It says that the organizers say 3 million,” according to the trial transcript.
After reviewing the document, Baboulis told Haller, “I think what this notes is notes that I had taken probably from a phone call regarding events transpiring across DC for that day.”
Such a large crowd estimate is not mentioned in any of the Jan. 6 law enforcement intelligence documents made public to date.
Event intelligence leading up to Jan. 6 said the day’s events were expected to be similar to election-fraud protests held in Washington on Nov. 14 and Dec. 12, 2020.
The USCP Civil Disturbance Unit Operational Plan issued on Jan. 3, 2021, read in part: “The protests/rallies are expected to be similar to the previous Million MAGA March rallies in November and December 2020, which drew tens of thousands of participants.”
“At this time there are no specific known threats related to the Joint Session of Congress – Electoral College vote certification,” the document said.
It’s not clear who else at USCP knew of the 3 million crowd projection and with whom, if anyone, the information was shared. Prosecutor Alexandra Hughes asked U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta to order a portion of the email addresses in Baboulis’s email redacted. He granted the request.
The Epoch Times asked Baboulis for comment on the email but did not receive a response by press time.
The newspaper asked former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund for comment on Baboulis’s email and the 3 million crowd estimate but did not receive a reply by press time.
After describing the possibility of 3 million people at the Ellipse, Baboulis wrote, “At 1300 [1 p.m.] they will come to the Capitol unorganized.”
The now-defunct January 6 Select Committee concluded that the huge crowds that came to the Capitol engaged in an organized “insurrection,” fueled by Trump’s speech.
The first breaches of police lines at the Capitol occurred some 25 minutes before the president finished speaking at the Ellipse.
Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials often describe the violence that erupted at the Capitol as an organized attack to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Trump to President-elect Joe Biden.
‘We Are Part of the Problem’
“The palace guards. We are part of the problem,” Baboulis wrote in the email, sent either to herself or to a blind-copy distribution list.
In the document, Baboulis described the “March for Trump” event at the Ellipse and noted that six protest events were granted USCP permits for the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6.
Those included the Stop the Steal/One Nation Under God rally in Area 8, near the Senate east front, organized by Stop the Steal founder Ali Alexander. The permit was valid from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 6. The event never took place. Keynote speaker Roger Stone opted to stay at his hotel, and violence broke out at the Capitol before any speakers could get to Area 8.
Alexander told The Epoch Times that Capitol Police never told his event planners at Resource Group of any restrictions on ingress or egress across the grounds on Jan. 6. Speeches at the event had been scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., two hours before Trump took the stage at the Ellipse.
“One thing that no one has covered is that the U.S. Capitol police we were talking to each day through my contracted event planner never told about any restricted area or fencing,” Alexander said in a text message. “Never mentioned verbally or written to us.”
The event permit—issued on Jan. 5 and signed by Chief Sund—does not mention fencing, that any parts of the Capitol property would be “restricted grounds,” or that protesters on the grounds would be subject to criminal charges.
“We were set up,” Alexander said.
The One Nation Under God protest permit was emailed at 3:02 p.m. on Jan. 5 to Resource Group by Police Officer Shakia Michael of the USCP Special Events Section, according to a copy of the email Alexander provided to The Epoch Times.
The permit says various event restrictions on equipment, stage size, signage, the height of displays, and advertising were put in place “to assure the safety and convenience of all people in the exercise of their right to visit the Nation’s Capitol, to call at the offices of Representatives and Senators, to observe public proceedings of Congress, to petition the Congress for redress of grievances.”
The Stop the Steal/One Nation Under God event permit was approved by Assistant Chief Yogananda Pittman and Assistant Chief Chad Thomas on Jan. 4, 2021. It had been approved by the USCP Protective Services Bureau on Dec. 31, 2020. The permit application was filed on Dec. 21, 2020.
The permit was granted despite a Jan. 3 USCP intelligence assessment that said Stop the Steal has the “propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members and others who actively promote violence,” according to the USCP’s official “Timeline of Events for January 6, 2021 Attack.”
Asked if Stop the Steal had such a propensity, Alexander told The Epoch Times, “No, not at a higher rate than the DNC [Democrat National Committee] or the RNC [Republican National Committee]. In fact, far less.”
The USCP Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division rated the threat likelihood for Alexander’s event as “highly improbable,” according to the Demonstration Permit Assessment attached to the One Nation Under God permit.
Defense attorneys in many of the more than 1,000 criminal cases brought against protesters have tried to raise the issue of the permit-approved events in open court, but not with much success.
A former attorney for Oath Keepers member Kelly Meggs said USCP approval of the permits gave permission for the public to traverse the grounds.
“Thus, not only were there no notices to legally effect a restriction, but the U.S. Capitol Police affirmatively invited demonstrators onto the U.S. Capitol Grounds to attend any or all of six (6) different demonstrations,” Jonathan Moseley wrote in a March 14 email.
“Because human beings generally cannot fly through the air, these permits issued by USCP authorize people to walk across the Capitol grounds to and from the permitted demonstration locations, and even among them,” Moseley wrote.
Muddy Intel Picture
The revelation of the 3 million crowd projection is the latest development in an already muddy picture of law enforcement intelligence leading up to Jan. 6.
Three days after Jan. 6, Eric Hoar of the USCP intelligence division sent an email titled “Intelligence Failures” to top Capitol Police commanders.
Hoar said USCP received detailed information in the weeks prior to Jan. 6 “from the FBI, Homeland Security Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, and DC Metropolitan Police that right-wing extremists were plotting to storm the Capitol and attack lawmakers.”
There is no mention of such information in the Jan. 3 USCP Civil Disturbance Unit Operational Plan. “Arrests are not anticipated for this event,” the plan said.
A situational information report issued by the FBI’s Norfolk Division late on Jan. 5 said a “collaborative source” indicated the possibility for violence in connection with the Jan. 6 protests. The alleged threatened violence was tied to “unlawful lockdowns,” the bulletin said. There was no mention of the 2020 presidential election.
It quoted an “online thread” that said: “Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent…stop calling this a march, or rally or a protest. Go there, ready for war. We get our president, or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”