The district director for newly elected Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) was in the crowd outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 after the building was invaded but did not join those who pushed their way inside, according to an email obtained by The Washington Post.
Melvin Adams confirmed the contents of the email in an interview, saying he and Sandy Adams stood at the police line but did not breach it or go onto the balcony.
“We tried talking some people down who were trying to push back and open the barriers,” Adams said. “Eventually, people were agitated, and pretty soon there was no sense of rationality anymore with some.”
He added: “We didn’t go up there. We had no business being part of that.”
Good, a loyal ally of President Trump who amplified his baseless claims of election fraud, tapped Sandy Adams as his district director as he took office last week. Speaking on behalf of his wife, Melvin Adams referred questions about her presence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to Good’s office.
Good did not address questions from The Post about why Sandy Adams remained on the grounds during the riot. Instead, in a statement, he denounced the violence that unfolded during the hours-long siege, which included the fatal injuring of a Capitol Police officer and the death of a woman shot by police after she breached the complex. Three others died of apparent medical emergencies. Dozens of officers were injured. Adams was the only staff member there, Good’s office said.
“I unequivocally condemn the violence that took place at our Capitol last week,” Good said in a statement said. “The rule of law must be upheld in order to preserve our constitutional rights, including the First Amendment right of every American to peaceably assemble on their own time at a rally or a protest.”
Tyler Miller, who lives in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, said he filed a complaint with the FBI about Melvin Adams’s presence at the rally after speaking to him on the phone shortly after the attack on the Capitol.
Miller said he called Adams because he could not get through to Good’s office and wanted to complain that Good’s rhetoric about a stolen election had contributed to the riot. Miller said he asked Adams what the party was going to do about the attack, and he said Adams asked how Miller knew what was going on at the Capitol if he was not present. Miller noted it was all over the news.
“He said, ‘I was there. I saw everything that happened,’ ” Miller said Thursday, recounting the conversation. “Then he laid into ‘fake news’ and tried to blame antifa” — a suggestion Adams again made on Thursday and for which the FBI has said there is no evidence.
Miller said he contacted the FBI out of concern that Adams may have joined the riot.
The email Melvin Adams sent Jan. 7 said he and his wife at one point were in proximity to Ashli Babbitt, the woman who was fatally shot, as she was carried on a stretcher to an ambulance parked near the perimeter of the complex.
“I did witness the use of flash bombs and tear gas at the entrances in efforts to control the crowd,” Adams wrote. “But the tragic nature of events inside came home full force when a young lady who had been shot was being taken to the ambulance, passing so close to us that we could have literally reached out and touched her.”
Asked why they stayed after police lost control of the crowd, Adams said, “We were there to support law enforcement and stuff. We didn’t stay there a long time. When things were really out of control, it was time for us to move on.”
Earlier, they watched Trump’s speech on the Ellipse, where he exhorted his supporters to go the Capitol and “fight” against Congress’s certification of his election defeat. Adams said they headed to the Longworth House Office Building, where his wife picked up some materials for work. Then they walked to the Capitol lawn.
Adams said he did not think Trump incited the mob but that people became aggressive after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) condemned efforts to overturn the election results, calling it a “poisonous path,” and after Vice President Pence would not go along with Trump’s exhortations to invalidate electoral votes.
A portion of the crowd chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!”
As party chair in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, Adams has been a strong supporter of Good, including during his bitter primary campaign to defeat then-Rep. Denver Riggleman (R) last summer.
Good has tightly tethered his platform to Trump’s “America First” agenda. He objected to electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania in votes after the Capitol had been secured.
On the House floor during Wednesday’s impeachment debate, Good described the effort to punish Trump as a “political action intended to tarnish the legacy of a highly successful president” and “the culmination of a four-year effort to overturn the will of the people and the results of the 2016 election.”
The Jan. 6 insurrection
Congressional hearings: The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol held a series of high-profile hearings to share its findings with the U.S. public. What was likely to be the panel’s final public hearing has been postponed because of Hurricane Ian. Here’s a guide to the biggest hearing moments so far.
Will there be charges? The committee could make criminal referrals of former president Donald Trump over his role in the attack, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in an interview.
The riot: On Jan. 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Five people died on that day or in the immediate aftermath, and 140 police officers were assaulted.
Inside the siege: During the rampage, rioters came perilously close to penetrating the inner sanctums of the building while lawmakers were still there, including former vice president Mike Pence. The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and videos to create a video timeline of what happened on Jan. 6.