Republican Matt Gaetz pushes theory Antifa 'masquerading as Trump supporters' were in mob that stormed Capitol

REPUBLICAN congressman Matt Gaetz has begun pushing a conspiracy theory that members of Antifa were among the mob that stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday.

Hundreds of Trump supporters broke through lines of police and entered the Capitol in an attempt to stop lawmakers certifying the results of November's election.

The violence has moved a number of Republican lawmakers to distance themselves from Trump, but Gaetz has instead claimed it was not just Trump and his followers who were responsible.

Speaking in the House after the Capitol had been cleared, he said: "[There is] some pretty compelling evidence from a facial recognition company showing that some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters, but were masquerading as Trump supporters, and in fact were members of the violent terrorist group Antifa."

Antifa is a movement in the US which advocates both violent and non-violent means to forward left-wing and anti-racism causes.

Gaetz's comments were a reference to a report in the Washington Times, known for its support of President Trump.

The report said a retired military officer had claimed photos of two people associated with Antifa had been matched with those of two men seen inside the Senate yesterday, though provided no evidence.

The New York Post has published similar claims today, citing law enforcement sources.

The claims have also been repeated by a number of other figures supportive of the president, including Fox News host Laura Ingraham and former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

The unrest at the Capital came just hours after Trump spoke at a rally nearby and encouraged his supporters to try to stop the certification process.

"We're going to walk down to the Capitol," he said.

"And we're gonna cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women.

"And we're probably not going to be cheering, so much for some of them, because you'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong."

It came after weeks in which Trump had refused to accept his election loss to Joe Biden and continued to make unfounded claims of voter fraud.

Pictures from the Capitol yesterday showed rioters wearing MAGA merchandise and waving TRUMP and Confederate flags.

They could also be heard in footage chanting, "Stop the steal".

The president later released a video message in which he repeated claims of voter fraud and told people at the Capitol, "We love you", before adding: "We have to have peace. We have to have law and order.

"Go home in peace."

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