In a recent interview for CBS News’ “60 Minutes+,” Chansley revealed that he does not believe his actions during the January 6 insurrection constituted “an attack” on the US, since he was actually trying to “bring divinity” to the federal government.
The horn-toting, self-avowed shaman told correspondent Laurie Segall that entering the Capitol is the only decision he made that day that he entirely regrets. “I regret entering that building with every fiber of my being,” he stressed, adding that he remains loyal to former US President Donald Trump.
“I also stopped people from stealing and vandalizing that sacred space, the Senate. I actually stopped someone from stealing muffins out of the break room. I also said a prayer in that sacred chamber because it was my intention to bring divinity, and to bring God back into the Senate,” he added.
Chansley also indicated that he only entered the grounds because he believed that he and others “were waved in by police officers.”
Although law enforcement officials have been largely praised for their response to the riots, ongoing investigations have revealed that one officer took selfies with rioters, while another went so far as to direct Trump loyalists who stormed the Capitol.
Earlier, the US Capitol Police announced that six of its officers had been suspended with pay, and that another 29 individuals with the force were under investigation as part of the agency’s probe into the January 6 events.
When Chansley was asked whether he considered himself a patriot, he told Segall that he sees himself as a “lover” of the US, a “believer in the Constitution,” and a “believer in truth in our founding principles.”
“I developed a lot of sympathy for Donald Trump because it seemed like the media was picking on him,” he went on to explain. “It seemed like the establishment was going after him unnecessarily or unfairly and I had been a victim of that all of my life, whether it be in school or at home.”
However, after Chansley acknowledged that he felt loyal to Trump because he “identified with the negative things [the former president] was going through,” he stated that he felt “wounded” after Trump failed to issue pardons to supporters who were involved in the siege.
The interview excerpt came one day before a US judge is expected to hear arguments over Chansley’s pretrial release.
Prosecutors have argued that Chansley must stay in custody because he is a threat to the public, citing in filings that he wielded a spear as a weapon when confronting officers and left a threatening note to former US Vice President Mike Pence. Chansley’s lawyers, however, have stated the spear was more of a shamanic ornament, and that his note to Pence was not intended to be menacing.
At present, Chansley is being held on charges including civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding and entering and remaining in a restricted building, among other violations.