On January 6, 2021, a Donald Trump supporter named James Mault participated in the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
On Jan. 18, the FBI interviewed Mault about his role in the chaos that day.
Mault, known online sleuths as #IronWorkerGuy because he wears a helmet with a bunch of stickers referring to New York unions, immediately lost his job.
Then, in June, James Mault joined the U.S. Army as an active soldier.
A few months after he took part in an attack on U.S. democracy on behalf of the former reality television star, Mault reaffirmed his duty to follow President Joe Biden’s orders and vowed that “he will support and defend the Constitution of United States against all opponents, foreign and domestic. “
Last week, as HuffPost first reported, Mault was arrested in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol. He and his friend Cody Mattice, known as #CodyFromRochester, were photographed spraying police with a chemical agent as officers were besieged by a violent group of Trump supporters trying to stop the certification of Biden’s decisive win.
The online sleuths were discovered after Mault, who had previously been in the military, was arrested. But when the government announced Wednesday that Mault had been arrested at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, it became clear that the military was not just in his past.
Fort Bragg spokesman Col. Joseph Buccino confirmed to HuffPost that Mault, who had previously served in the Army, rejoined the service in June and has since been stationed at Fort Bragg working as an artillery artillery personnel.
The Army, Buccino said, was unaware of Mault’s alleged action at the Capitol when he re-enlisted.
“Anything he allegedly did happened before he joined the Army,” Buccino said.
But the events of Jan. 6 took place in a short window over the last eight years when Mault was out of the Army. He first enlisted in 2013 and became an active soldier until 2016, once moving a year to Kuwait, Buccino said. From 2016 to 2020, Mault served in the Army Reserve.
That Mault could have rejoined the Army – when he was listed as a suspect who had not. 142 on the FBI’s Violence wish list – raises serious questions about recent promises made by the Pentagon to better screen recruits for links to extremism.
Mault knew when he rejoined the Army that he was under FBI investigation. According to an FBI affidavit, special agents from the bureau interviewed Mault on Jan. 18, less than two weeks after the Capitol attack and just two days before Biden’s inauguration. Mault’s mother, whose Facebook account features multiple images of her son in uniform, told the FBI that her husband pushed Mault and some of his friends in DC for the Trump rally, which Mault confirmed to the FBI in his own interview.
“Mault traveled with five of his friends to the rally and stated that it is important for everyone to have a group of friends who can count on each other during these times,” the FBI affidavit said.
Magistrate Judge James E. Gates of the Eastern District of North Carolina found yesterday “by clear and convincing evidence that there is no condition or set of conditions to ensure the community is safe” and guarantee the future Mault’s appearance in court. The decision to join the Army came after Mault apparently lost other jobs because of his actions at the U.S. Capitol.
“One factor in the court’s determination about the flight risk is the possibility that [the] the defendant will be released from the Army, “wrote Gates.” He worked in the Army (at Fort Bragg) which brought him and his close family to this district. His re -enlistment in the Army came after the apparent job loss he was doing in New York due to his participation in events in January 2021. ”
Buccino, a Fort Bragg spokesman, said any disciplinary proceedings against Mault will not take place until the federal civilian investigation is complete.
In February, aafter it became clear that many U.S. military veterans and members of active duty participated in the attack on the Capitol, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a historic 60-day stand-down order. commander to have a “necessary discussion” about extremism among the troops.
“We will not tolerate actions that violate the basic principles of the oath we share, including actions that are associated with extremist ideologies or do not recognize,” Austin wrote in a memo announcing the order.
However, as an investigation on HuffPost revealed, a prominent white nationalist named Shawn McCaffrey enlisted in the Air Force in January, graduating from boot camp in March. (The Air Force later kicked McCaffrey of service.)
Mault’s enrollment took place even later, in June, two months after Austin released another memo, this one outlining the Pentagon’s plans to eliminate military extremists or prevent them from joining in the first place.
Law enforcement officials, along with extremism scholars, have long warned about the dangers of extremists joining the military, where they will receive combat training that they can use against civilian targets.