WASHINGTON, D.C. – A video uploaded to the social networking site Parler appears to show Texas state Rep. Kyle Biedermann standing near the steps of the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, as a mob clashed with Capitol Police Officers.
Members of that mob later invaded the Capitol building, forcing members of the United States Congress to evacuate or shelter in place. Five people were killed, more than 140 were injured and well over 315 people have been criminally charged in connection to the insurrection so far.
Biedermann, a Trump-aligned Republican in the Texas House representing Kendall, Comal and Gillespie counties, previously confirmed that he was in D.C. on Jan. 6 for the ‘Save America Rally.’
But his whereabouts as rioters broke through police barriers — and proximity to the deadly siege — was unknown until now. Biedermann has maintained that he only attended Trump’s nearby rally that preceded the siege and has refused to comment or provide records about the incident.
KSAT is not aware of any evidence tying Rep. Biedermann to the clash with law enforcement, Capitol building invasion or any other criminal conduct on Jan. 6.
The footage, which shows Biedermann standing on a concrete wall as other members of the crowd chant “traitors” and then “U-S-A,” is included in a ProPublica project that compiled hundreds of videos posted to Parler during the lead up to the riot and the riot itself.
Biedermann, who has for months refused multiple requests for comment from KSAT about Jan. 6, previously told a conservative Dallas-area talk radio host that he attended the rally at The Ellipse, a park south of the White House, about two miles away from the Capitol.
Biedermann during that Jan. 7 radio appearance claimed “a few radicals...caused the trouble” at the Capitol.
The footage, however, shows a mask-less Biedermann standing and watching with other Trump supporters as hundreds of people, many of them waving Trump flags, converge on the steps of the Capitol.
Biedermann appears to be wearing the same outfit in the video that he was wearing in a Facebook photo posted by a woman who claimed to be present at the D.C. rally, where the photograph was taken.
The timestamp of the video, 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, is several minutes after would-be rioters had already pushed through an outer security fence barrier on the Capitol grounds manned by police.
Parler, a far-right social media platform that surged in popularity after other sites like Facebook and Twitter began suppressing posts that contain misinformation, was temporarily forced offline after being cut off by digital service providers earlier this year, before returning last month.
A spokesperson for the regional FBI office declined to comment, citing agency policy to not confirm or deny investigations.
Biedermann refused to hand over public information
A Defenders investigation earlier this month revealed that Biedermann refuses to release public emails from his official government account from the dates surrounding his trip to Washington, D.C.
KSAT sent a public records request for a copy of all emails sent to and from his Texas House of Representatives email address between Dec. 10, 2020, and Jan. 11, 2021.
Under the Texas Public Information Act, email accounts maintained by taxpayer-funded government agencies, including the Texas Legislature, are considered public information.
Biedermann’s chief of staff, Karin Dyer, responded to the request in late January claiming the office had nothing responsive to release.
After the Defenders challenged the claim that Biedermann had not received or sent any emails during those 30-plus days — a time period that included the start of the Texas Legislature — Dyer responded that it is not the office’s policy to disclose information that is confidential by law. Dyer then cited two sections from the Texas Government Code regarding certain exceptions.
However, email records for the inbox of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, obtained by the Defenders through another open records request, show that Biedermann did indeed receive an email during that time period. Coincidentally, on Jan. 6, Biedermann received an email from Abbott naming a person from his district to the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists.
Biedermann’s office, to date, has not requested a ruling from the Texas Attorney General’s Office about whether the requested emails would be considered confidential under the public information act and could be withheld. The AG’s office is the agency that issues rulings and opinions on whether certain information is excepted from public information law.
The Defenders have filed a complaint against Biedermann’s office with the attorney general’s office over the refusal to release the emails.
Biedermann is the third known Texas elected official to have been in DC during the deadly attack, but he is the only one who has been identified in images taken in close proximity to the Capitol.
“We came because we wanted to be heard and we’re sick and tired of what’s been going on by the elite media and the elite politicians who continue to ignore us,” Biedermann told the Dallas-area talk radio host Jan. 7.
A bill filed in the Texas House by Biedermann Jan. 26 would potentially give voters a chance to decide in November whether the state legislature should develop a plan to secede from the rest of the United States.
The bill was referred to the House State Affairs Committee earlier this month but has not yet been assigned a hearing.