One of the more bizarre storylines coming out of the aftermath of the U.S. Capitol riot involves a once-BLM activist turned “journalist” during the January 6 rampage.
John Sullivan, from a patriotic and military family of devout Mormons, has been on a wild journey from Olympic skater hopeful to a radicalized revolutionary of some kind. His arrival on the political protesting stage apparently began following the death of George Floyd in May of 2020.
In June 2020, John attended his first Black Lives Matter event, according to Lex Scott, the founder of the Utah chapter of the group. Nobody had seen him before or knew who he was. Sullivan also started his own group, Insurgence USA, in response to the killing of George Floyd and he organized his first protest in Provo.
Police say protesters blocked an SUV that was attempting to turn when one of the protesters fired a round through the window, hitting the driver in the arm. Sullivan was arrested days later, charged with rioting, making a threat of violence and criminal mischief. Charging documents say Sullivan was with the shooter most of the day and did nothing to stop the act.
When he arranged his “Solo Armed Stance” rally in Salt Lake City last July, Sullivan had started a group called “Insurgence USA” whose stated goal is quite odd.
Insurgence USA’s mission is to provide you the truth. We are on the frontlines, giving you unedited raw footage, photos, and news of the insurrection here in America.
Revealing the truth about Antifa and BLM’s communist plans to overthrow democracy.
Exposing the sinister motives of Proud Boys and Right-Wing militias as they plot to topple the government.
Welcome to the revolution.
Fast-forward to January 6, 2021, and the day of the breach of the U.S. Capitol. Once again John Sullivan shows up on the scene and now the story gets even weirder.
John Sullivan, founder of Insurgence USA, was indicted in early February for a host of crimes, including two felonies related to obstruction during Congress’s efforts to count and certify President Biden’s Electoral College victory over former President Donald Trump.
Video taken by the 25-year-old showed him following and encouraging Trump supporters from the entrance of the Capitol all the way to the moment when 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran and Trump supporter who attempted to climb through a window into the Speaker’s Lobby, was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer.
Sullivan’s lawyer is now claiming that his client was a “journalist” through his connection with Insurgence USA, and he also dropped another bombshell.
In arguing he was a journalist and not an agent provocateur, Sullivan’s lawyer, Steven Kiersh, submitted four invoices purportedly from major broadcasters, revealing a $35,000 payment to Sullivan from CNN for video license usage spanning from Jan. 6 through Jan. 13, a $35,000 payment from NBC Universal Media dated Jan. 27, a $5,000 undated payment for “footage of the siege of the Capitol” citing his Twitter page to be used on Showtime’s The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth, and a $2,375 payment from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation dated Jan. 27.
“On January 6th, CNN was contacted by a reputable agent regarding an eye-witness video from the Capitol Hill riots. The company entered into a one-week agreement for use of 44-seconds of key content, which was attributed to the witness on air,” CNN’s head of strategic communications, Matt Dornic, said in a statement on Wednesday. “When his role in the event was later called into question, the company informed staff to cease all use of the video.”
This information is particularly strange since Sullivan appeared in many real-time videos shown on cable news and across social media during the event where he’s seen participating in the violent activity.
Prosecutors cited video that Sullivan recorded inside the Capitol in which he called for burning down the building, while egging on others who had broken into the building.
“We accomplished this shit. We did this together. Fuck yeah! We are all a part of this history,” he said in a video cited by prosecutors.
“Let’s burn this shit down,” he also allegedly said.
Sullivan gained national attention over footage he recorded of Air Force veteran [Ashli Babbitt] being fatally shot by a Capitol police officer while trying to enter a barricaded portion of the building. [Babbitt] was at the Capitol with numerous other supporters of President Donald Trump who were protesting the results of the 2020 presidential election.
A grand jury indicted Sullivan on charges of illegally entering the Capitol, civil disorder, and violent or disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.