A member of the Proud Boys was in communication with a person associated with the White House in the final days before the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, the New York Times reported on Friday.
A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told the Times that location, cellular and call record data revealed a call linking a member of the far-right hate group to the Trump White House.
The FBI is investigating what was discussed which remains unclear at this point, and the official would not reveal the names of either party, the Times said.
The connection revealed by the communications data comes as the FBI further examines contacts among far-right extremists, Trump White House associates and conservative members of Congress in the days leading up to the Capitol attack.
The official said that the data revealed no evidence of communications between the rioters and members of Congress during the deadly insurrection. Records have shown, however, evidence of communications in the days leading up to Jan. 6 between far-right extremists who were planning to appear at the Trump rally and lawmakers, an official told the Times.
Separately, Enrique Tarrio, a Proud Boys leader, told the Times on Friday that he had called Roger Stone, an ally who former President Donald Trump pardoned, while at a protest in front of the home of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) days before the Capitol assault. Tarrio told the Times that he put Stone on speaker phone to address the crowd.
Tarrio, who was arrested in Washington on Jan. 4 on separate charges, was not present when the Capitol was attacked.
The recent developments revealing communications between the Proud Boys and people associated with the White House highlights how extremist groups were given a platform in an administration that appeared at times to willfully defend them.
Former President Trump, refusing to outright condemn white supremacist groups, famously told the Proud Boys from the debate stage weeks before the 2020 presidential election to “stand back and stand by.”
More than a dozen members of the Proud Boys have been charged with crimes related to the attack, including conspiracy to obstruct the final certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory and to attack law enforcement officers.
The Justice Department is also looking into communications between Stone and far-right extremists to determine whether he played any role in efforts by extremists to disrupt the certification of Biden’s win on Jan. 6, people familiar with the investigation told the Times.
In a statement to the Times last month, Stone denied “any involvement or knowledge of the attack on the Capitol.”
Messages showing any connection to those plans could provide grounds for a full criminal investigation of Stone who used members of the Oath Keepers, a militia group, as bodyguards before and on the day of the assault on the Capitol.