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Among Charges in Capitol Riot, a 'Bizarre Claim' About Russia

FBI investigating whether Pa. woman swiped computer from Pelosi office to sell to Russians
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2021 6:21 AM CST

(Newser) – An engraved nameplate apparently isn't the only thing swiped from Nancy Pelosi's office during the Capitol riot. The FBI filed an arrest warrant Sunday against Pennsylvania woman Riley June Williams, with charges linked to the Jan. 6 attack in DC including entering a restricted building, disrupting the orderly conduct of government, and engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct. But per Politico, there's a further "bizarre claim" in the complaint that's raising eyebrows more: It's believed that Williams may have stolen a laptop or hard drive from the House speaker's office suite, and a person who claims they're Williams' former romantic partner (identified in the warrant as "W1") says Williams "intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia's foreign intelligence service." W1 identified Williams in video footage from the Capitol.

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The tipster also told the FBI they'd seen video from friends showing Williams taking the device out of Pelosi's office, per CNN. W1 adds, however, that Williams' alleged plan involving the Russians "fell through," and that she either still has the device or "destroyed it." There is a missing computer—shortly after the riot, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff tweeted that a laptop used for presentations only had been taken from a conference room, per NPR—but it's not clear if it's the same one. The FBI, which notes "it appears that Williams has fled" and apparently shut down all of her social media accounts, says it's investigating the laptop story; Heavy.com has more on Riley here. Meanwhile, on Twitter, "Burn After Reading" was trending Monday morning as people online noted the similarity between this case and the plot of the 2008 Coen brothers' dark comedy. (Read more Capitol attack stories.)

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