Instagram Posts Seal Fate Of Trump-Loving Bodybuilder Who Dragged US Cop

When former President Donald Trump sent a tweet early this year promoting Jan. 6 as a “Historic day,” a former bodybuilder from Michigan let the president know he had his back.

“I’ll be there,” Logan Barnhart replied to @realDonaldTrump on Twitter.

Now, seven months after the man online sleuths dubbed #CatSweat was photographed dragging a police officer down a set of stairs during the attack on the US Capitol, the Michigan man has been arrested by the FBI. An official confirmed the arrest to HuffPost on Tuesday morning.

Barnhart, whom the FBI referred to as Capitol suspect 128-AFO because he was wanted for assaulting federal officers, was a major target for the “Sedition Hunters” community, which had given him the nickname “CatSweat” because he was wearing a sweatshirt branded with the name of Caterpillar, the construction equipment manufacturer. 

HuffPost positively identified Barnhart before his arrest based on the work of citizen sleuths months ago, but held off on publishing his name because the FBI was working on the case.

A tipping point in the investigation came when the Sedition Hunters uncovered video of Barnhart during the Trump rally at the White House Ellipse prior to the attack that showed him without sunglasses.

That image of Barnhart’s face, plugged into a publicly available facial recognition website, pulled up several other images of Barnhart that are plastered across the internet on bodybuilding websites and photography portfolios. Photos of a shirtless Barnhart even graced the cover of romance novels with names like “Stepbrother UnSEALed: A Bad Boy Military Romance” and “Lighter,” which included the slogan “wrong never felt so right”.

Yet it was Barnhart’s Instagram account ― where he described himself as a “Pipe Layerheavy machine operator” and posted right-wing memes alongside shirtless thirst traps ― that sealed the deal. In July 2019, Barnhart posted an image of himself wearing the same American flag hat he’d later wear to the Capitol. And in August 2020, he posted a video of himself at work in a Caterpillar-branded sweatshirt.

Barnhart was a “white whale” for members of the Sedition Hunters community, which sprung to life after 6 January. An image from that day shows a man in a hooded “CAT” sweatshirt grabbing onto a D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer whom he and others are dragging down a set of stairs outside a tunnel on the western side of the US Capitol.

Several defendants have been arrested in connection with that attack, including Jack Wade Whitton, who was positioned next to Barnhart and had his hand on the back of the officer’s neck. (Whitton has been indicted alongside Jeffrey Sabol, Peter Stager, Michael Lopatic, Clayton Mullins.)

Federal prosecutors said suspects including Whitton and Sabol dragged the officer ― identified by the initials “B.M.” ― down the stairs and into the crowd, where Peter Stager used an American flag on a pole to beat him.

“When asked about the assault, B.M. remembered having his baton grabbed and he was pulled into the crowd,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing arguing for Whitton’s pretrial detention. “Once in the crowd, B.M. recalled being struck in the helmet multiple times with objects. B.M. advised that he believed the crowd attempted to take him as deep into the crowd as possible.”

After participating in the attack on the Capitol, Barnhart continued to post right-wing material on Instagram that dismissed the threat of Covid. He posted a video of himself inside a Walmart (where he said he was the only person not wearing a mask) as well as memes about LeBron James and rants about Black Lives Matter.

In February, about a month after taking part in the attack, Barnhart sarcastically mocked the “amazing FBI doing some fine investigative work,” citing a Capitol image that was doctored to include a meme that was included in an FBI affidavit.

“Like I’ve said multiple times. Everything you’re being told about this is a lie and it will be revealed,” Barnhart wrote on 5 February, “Sorry but what really happened at the [Capitol] is being hidden from you.”

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