A retired U.S. Navy SEAL is being questioned by federal law enforcement over his role in last week’s storming of the Capitol, according to an ABC News report.
Adam Newbold, 45, who Navy officials say retired in 2017 as a reserve senior chief, recounted his thoughts about the protest-turned-insurrection in a now-deleted video, where he said members of Congress must be “thinking twice about what they’re doing” and are “shaking in their shoes.”
“There was destruction, breaching the Capitol, our building, our house. And, um, to get in you had to destroy doors and windows to get in,” Newbold, a retired reserve SEAL special warfare operator, says in the video that was filmed the night of the insurrection, according to ABC News. “Maybe they just didn’t get the message. Unfortunately. I’m hoping the message was strong enough. But unfortunately, maybe it wasn’t. I hate to see this escalate more.”
There “are stories to tell from generations upon generations, um, that hopefully, uh ... that hopefully it pans out to be a positive revolution,” Newbold says. “HOOYAH!”
Despite talking a big talk, Newbold said he knew “patriots” who had never taken any action and that he hadn’t been proud of Americans for a long time. But that changed after Jan. 6, he said in the video.
“I don’t know when the last time you stormed the Capitol was, in fact, not quite sure when the last time anyone stormed the Capitol was... but um that’s what happened,” Newbold said. “And it was historic, it was necessary. And the reason I say I’m proud of Americans, because I wasn’t sure if we still have the spine anymore. But now I see that it exists.”
Additionally, Newbold inaccurately claimed those who entered the Capitol did not vandalize the building and said that the “main destruction that occurred was stopping them from the nefarious bullsh*t that’s going on in our capital.”
Although the video has since been removed from Facebook, ABC obtained a copy.
At least one active-duty soldier is under investigation, as is a retired airman.
When contacted by ABC, Newbold expressed regret for his role in the insurrection and said the siege “accomplished nothing.” Likewise, he said he is complying with the FBI, who has already interviewed him and has requested a subsequent interview.
“I would like to express to you just a cry for clemency, as you understand that my life now has been absolutely turned upside-down,” Newbold told ABC News. “I am not a terrorist. I am not a traitor.”
A U.S. defense official familiar with the discussions said Tuesday that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy was not notified about the FBI warning.
Newbold appeared to have a different vision for how the day would go down prior to leaving his home in Lisbon, Ohio, for Washington, D.C.
In a video posted to Facebook on Jan. 5, Newbold told those caravanning to D.C. with him in support of President Donald Trump that the police and the National Guard are not the “enemies” and urged those in his group to remain respectful.
“There are good people on all sides of this thing, but we can no longer be quiet,” Newbold said in the video that is still available on his Facebook page. “The Silent Majority has been awakened and we need to stand up.”
“We are not going down looking for a fight. Keep that in mind, we are not going down looking for a fight,” Newbold said in the video. “We are just very prepared, very capable, very skilled patriots ready for a fight and we will react without hesitation when called upon to do so.”
Newbold retired in 2017, according to Navy officials.
He is listed as a point of contact in Ohio for people hoping to join the ranks of Navy special operators.
As attention to his actions mounted Tuesday, Newbold released another video on the Facebook page of ATG Worldwide on Tuesday, a company which ABC reported that Newbold owns.
In that 17-minute clip, Newbold veers from contrite to defiant, and notes that he has been “very, very angry at the direction of our country.”
Newbold said he “absolutely didn’t go through the Capitol,” but he defended the actions of the mob and said that a lot of Americans feel ignored.
“I make no apologies for being a rough man ready to do rough things in rough situations,” he said in the video. “It’s absolutely necessary at times and has been throughout our history.”
His anger over the results of the election “only increased” of late, Newbold said in the 17-minute video.
“With that, I’ve been frustrated by others who wouldn’t listen or see the things that I saw or believe the things that I believe,” he said.
Despite proclamations by Trump and his team of widespread voter fraud in November’s election, courts across the country have struck down 70 baseless lawsuits brought by the Trump team since Election Day.
State-level officials, many of them Republican, have also noted that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.
Newbold said he assembled a caravan to head to Washington, D.C.
“We simply felt that when the electoral slates are read and if they were denied, that would give Trump a path to still be the president,” he said. “That things were going to erupt and we needed to be prepared to be safe and deal with it.”
Newbold called last week’s rally preceding the ransacking of the Capitol “so patriotic, so good in most aspects” but also noted that he saw “a lot of volatility, a lot of danger.”
He said there were “factions of people trying to incite violence,” but that he doesn’t believe that they were domestic terrorists.
“They are not treasonous,” he said. “People standing up for this country are not traitors.”
“A lot of us believe the coup attempted happened and was successful…we believe it was the other side that committed the coup attempt,” he said. “What I don’t agree with is some people were fighting with the cops.”
While he acknowledged that Joe Biden will be America’s next president, he called the state of the country “an absolute mess.”
“Our country as we knew it is doomed, it’s not going to exist any longer,” Newbold said. “Maybe that’s a good thing.”
“Those of you that I disagree with, I agree to disagree,” he said. “I have no choice. There has to be a winner, there has to be a loser, so we have a new president.”
Naval Special Warfare Command refrained from discussing specifics concerning Newbold’s actions at the Capitol or his video after the deadly riots.
“It would be inappropriate to discuss the actions of an individual, whose reserve service ended almost four years ago, that are subject to an ongoing federal investigation,” Capt. Ryan Perry, a a spokesperson for Naval Special Warfare Command, said in a statement to ABC.
“However, Rear Adm. [Hugh] Howard made it clear earlier this week in his message to the current Naval Special Warfare Force that the attack on Capitol Hill serves as ‘an imperative for each of us to reflect on, and reaffirm, our oath to support and defend the Constitution. We serve this great nation and our fellow Americans — all of them — equally, and without political bias,’” Perry said.
Meanwhile, the Joint Chiefs of Staff released a letter Tuesday condemning the insurrection at the Capitol earlier this month, and claimed it was a “direct assault” on the United States’ constitutional process.
“We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law,” they wrote Tuesday. “The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition, and insurrection.”
As of Tuesday, the Justice Department has launched 170 investigations and charged 70 participants involved in storming the Capitol, including a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and a junior-enlisted sailor.