The FBI made the discovery after obtaining cellphone data following the January attack on the U.S. Capitol. An anonymous official told The New York Times the data showed that a member of the violent pro-Trump street gang contacted a White House staffer before the attack. The source did not reveal to the Times the name of the Proud Boys member or which White House employee it was, and said it’s not clear what they discussed.
Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on the day of the insurrection after Trump urged them to “fight like hell” to delegitimize the results of the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lost by more than 7 million votes. Five people died in the day’s ensuing violence, including U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Two officers who responded to the attack later died by suicide, and more than 100 other officers were injured protecting the Capitol and members of Congress from the mob.
The Justice Department has so far charged more than 300 people in the Capitol attack, including a handful of Proud Boys. Among those arrested was a midlevel State Department aide under Trump, who was seen on video assaulting officers with a stolen riot shield.
The FBI official told the Times that the White House associate who spoke to the Proud Boy was not Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally who was seen on video the night before the insurrection giving a speech to members of the gang.