The first active duty service member has been charged in connection to the January 6 Capitol breach on Thursday, out of the more than one thousand people estimated to have entered the Capitol building that day.
The service member is Marine Corps Maj. Christopher Warnagiris, 40, according to the Justice Department.
According to the DOJ, his charges stem from Warnagiris allegedly “violently” entering the Capitol, “pushing through a line of police officers guarding the East Rotunda doors,” and once inside, preventing an officer from shutting the doors and helping others get inside.
He is charged with: 1) Assaulting, Resisting, or Impeding Certain Officers or Employee; Obstruction of Law Enforcement During Civil Disorder; Obstruction of Justice/Congress; Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority; and Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct on Capitol Grounds.
DOJ said approximately 440 individuals have been arrested on charges related to the breach, including over 125 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.
D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said at a May 12 hearing on the Capitol building breach that “certainly over 1,000 people” got into the building on January 6.
Officials believe Warnagiris is the only active duty service member facing charges. Four reservists are facing charges in addition to 41 veterans.
“According to the Department of Justice, this is the first active duty service member, plus four Reservists, and 41 veterans charged in conjunction with Jan 6 attack on the Capitol,” said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Martin Meiners.
Despite there being only five out of about 450 charged in relation to the breach so far, the Biden Pentagon has embarked on a massive effort to “root out” extremists from the military.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a 60-day stand down for commanders to discuss extremism with troops and established the Countering Extremism Working Group to continue the effort.
As Breitbart News has previously reported, the Pentagon considers those who participated in the Capitol breach to be “extremists.”
When Breitbart News asked on March 2 about the reasons behind Austin’s extremism push, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby responded, “Clearly, the events of January 6th and the presence of some veterans in that crowd has certainly got everybody’s attention here.”
Some Democrats have sought to characterize those participating in the Capitol breach as white supremacists. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, said at a hearing:
The insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on January 6th did not wear white robes and hoods; they might as well have. They are the latest incarnation of violent white supremacist movements that has terrorized fellow Americans on the basis of their race, religion, and national origin for more than 150 years.
Some Republicans have cautioned the Pentagon not to paint members of the military as extremists, and to rely on data when discussing the problem. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), a Marine reservist colonel, has pointed out the Pentagon does not have data on how many members of the military are “extremists,” and has repeatedly questioned his Democrat colleagues’ narrative that the military is filled with them.
He said at a hearing on Thursday with Biden’s nominee for Army Secretary Christine Wormuth:
The number three guy for the DOD came here for his confirmation hearing and said he was going to stamp out systemic racism in the ranks… Then I asked him did he ‘have any data to back that up, you’re kind of besmirching a lot of people.’ [The military is an] organization that throughout American history hasn’t been perfect, but has probably been on the forefront of bringing the races together.
… When I pressed him on it, ‘No, senator I don’t have any data.’ Well then why are you making that claim? … That’s just baloney. … So can I get your commitment to protect these troops from these kind of wild claims until you look at the data? … The key is data. Let’s get data, before we make these giant, sweeping claims like the under secretary of defense did. I don’t know how the hell he’s going to lead the Pentagon.
He concluded, “Trust me, the average soldier is watching and they want someone to defend them, not besmirch them.”