Resnick has drawn attention in recent years for inflammatory and sectarian comments – qualify African religions as “primitive” and suggesting white supremacy is fictitious – and is a longtime supporter of Donald Trump. Just days after Trump’s acquittal in his second impeachment trial, Resnick secured an interview with the former president’s senior lawyer, David Schoen. And he defended the Jan.6 Capitol riot without acknowledging his unreported presence in the building that day.
Resnick’s ultra-conservative policies are rare among the larger community of American Jews, which leans overwhelmingly towards Democrats. But even among the most conservative Orthodox Jews, his statements stand out under the banner of the six-decade-old Jewish press, whose website touts it to be “politically incorrect long before the phrase was coined.” Groups condemning his past rhetoric include the Anti-Defamation League, a dominant American Jewish institution.
It’s unclear exactly what drove Resnick to Capitol Hill on January 6, including whether he attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally earlier today. Neither Resnick nor the Jewish press hold a forced pass from Congress, a requirement for journalists who file regular reports from Capitol Hill.
For the past two weeks, Resnick has declined calls, emails and social media posts seeking comment. POLITICO also repeatedly contacted leaders of the Jewish press, sending detailed lists of questions about Resnick’s presence that day and whether the newspaper had authorized him. Those requests went unanswered until Monday evening, when publisher Naomi Mauer posted a one-sentence response.
“As we understand the facts, we believe Mr. Resnick acted within the law,” Mauer said in an email. She declined to elaborate or respond to further follow-up for more information.
Resnick has not been charged with his presence on Capitol Hill, and video taken of him on January 6 does not show him engaging in violence or encouraging violence.
Those who have called Resnick for his past comments, however, say his presence on January 6 is remarkable.
“It doesn’t speak to the entire Jewish community, but I think it speaks to the fact that even in marginalized communities in the United States [some members] will adopt and move towards an authoritarian style policy, ”said Eric Ward, executive director of the Western States Center, a civil rights group that tracks extremism.
“The good news is that it is not the majority in any of these communities. But that’s not an aberration either, ”added Ward.
Investigators have arrested and charged more than 300 people for participating in the assault, on charges ranging from unauthorized entry to assaulting police officers to conspiring to disrupt the certification of the 2020 elections. And they have said dozens, if not hundreds, more are likely to be arrested as prosecutors examine a wealth of evidence in what they say is the most complex case the Justice Department has ever undertaken.
POLITICO was first alerted to Resnick’s presence in the Capitol by a researcher who scanned open-source footage of the attack to identify participants. The researcher declined to be identified for this story in order to continue working on identifying those in the building on January 6.
Prosecutors have relied on independent crowdsourcing to gather evidence against many defendants on Capitol Hill, citing some of that work in court records. After receiving images and footage of the Capitol breach that appeared to show Resnick’s presence, POLITICO confirmed his identity with several of his associates.
Notably, Resnick wrote an op-ed in The American Thinker last month defending the Capitol riot as a natural reaction to Trump’s widely refuted and baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
“Democrats continue to declare that this country will never again be able to see its Capitol overtaken by a crowd,” Resnick wrote. “Well, there is an easy fix for that. Don’t steal the election in plain sight, and maybe law-abiding citizens won’t crack.”
Resnick did not mention in his column that he was inside the building that day. But the editorial aligned with a series of social media posts he had posted at the time and in the weeks that followed. In a tweet time stamped at 5:37 p.m. on January 6Resnick responded to a tweet from Trump ally Sara Carter calling for calm amid the Capitol riot.
“Please explain how you plan to make sure Democrats don’t cheat four years from now,” Resnick wrote.
He posted similar comments on Speak in the days that followed, raising questions about a policeman’s decision to fire the shot that killed riot Ashli Babbitt as she sought to enter the room of the House. On January 8, he suggested that an excerpt from a local TV interview with a witness to the Babbitt shooting go viral.
Several suspected rioters accused of entering the Capitol argued they were there as reporters, capturing the day’s events. But prosecutors have pointed to evidence in some of those cases that those charged were causing or encouraging some of the chaos that unfolded inside the Capitol, and they described careful checks of cell phone records to identify unauthorized people inside the Capitol Be there.
For example, Anthime Gionet, an alternate character known as Baked Alaska, argued that he entered Capitol Hill as a reporter. He faces charges of breaking the building, when prosecutors say he berated an officer who sought to force him out. In a filing last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC, disputed Gionet’s claim that he was on Capitol Hill as a reporter.
The most serious charges filed in the aftermath of January 6 involved members of groups such as the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, paramilitary organizations which prosecutors said had implemented plans to disrupt the certification of the president’s victory. Joe Biden.
Among those not affiliated with the groups was a mishmash of white supremacists, QAnon conspiracy theorists and many of them who simply said they believed in Trump’s exhortations that the election had been stolen and that they had to “stop the theft”.
The arrested, Robert Packer, was pictured wearing a ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt. Another, Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, has been remanded in custody for his increasingly violent rhetoric espousing white supremacist views. Hale-Cusanelli, an Army reservist who worked at a naval weapons base in New Jersey, was viewed by a large majority of colleagues as an overt racist and anti-Semite, according to interviews with Navy investigators.
Ward said the Jewish press should clarify whether Resnick was on Capitol Hill on behalf of the publication on Jan.6.
“Where he works as a journalist, it doesn’t make it clear whether he was there as a journalist or as a private citizen,” Ward said. “The reason that is puzzling is that we are in a time when journalists face more and more attacks from political movements. … Maintaining the independence of journalists is of crucial importance.”
During Resnick’s lengthy February interview with senior Trump impeachment attorney David Schoen – held days after the Senate acquitted the former president for inciting the Jan.6 attack – the two also discussed the larger issue of Trump’s Jewish supporters facing the backlash from their faith community.
Schoen informed Resnick of his decision to join the impeachment defense team and described the backstory of his demand to suspend the impeachment trial for the Jewish Sabbath. This proposal won the support of the first Jewish Majority Leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, but which Schoen later quashed, agreeing to cede his duties to his co-counsel.
“What do you say to people who hate Trump and think a Jew shouldn’t stand up for someone they think is a horrible man?” Resnick asked Schoen.
“I think that’s a terrible position to take,” replied Schoen. “I stood up for the Constitution and the President, and I was honored to do so. And the idea that you should somehow be embarrassed about being Jewish and doing that – I don’t understand that.