For years, congressional Republicans promised to hold FBI officials culpable for various scandals but failed to act.

Source: Julie Kelly

You’re in big fucking trouble.”

So said an FBI agent to Julian Khater, one of two men accused of assaulting Capitol police officers with pepper spray on January 6, during a tense interrogation last year. Desperate to sustain the falsehood that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was killed by Trump supporters during the Capitol protest, the FBI claimed to possess video footage that showed Khater and his friend, George Tanios, attacking Sicknick and other officers with chemical spray. Khater was arrested on an airplane at the Newark airport on March 14, 2021 after he arrived home from a trip to Florida.

For more than two hours—shackled to a metal bar in a freezing room at the New Jersey FBI field office—Khater, who has no criminal record, was interrogated without a lawyer present. FBI Special Agent Riley Palmertree refused to tell Khater why he was under arrest until he agreed to proceed without counsel in the room, which Khater reluctantly did. Recently released video confirms Khater initially told the agents he “would feel more comfortable if I had a lawyer” answering questions on his behalf. An hour later, Khater again said he wanted his lawyer.


But Palmertree pushed back, presenting videos and photos implicating Khater in the alleged assault. Palmertree assured Khater that by admitting he sprayed Sicknick with pepper spray rather than a can of bear spray—an item Palmertree later testified was not used that day—a judge would go easy on him. Khater signed a statement confessing that he attacked officers with pepper spray.