GOP Rep’s Top Aide Alerted Police Ahead Of Riot About Comments Overheard In Hotel Lobby

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez looks on at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at Miami-Dade County Auditorium in Miami on Thursday, July 23, 2020. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS)
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez looks on at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at Miami-Dade County Auditorium in Miami on Thursday, July 23, 2020. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
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May 22, 2021 6:32 p.m.

Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) confirmed on Saturday that a top aide from his office had alerted law enforcement hours before the Jan. 6 Capitol attack about comments the aide had overheard in a hotel lobby regarding what seemed to be plans to breach the FBI building.

During a CNN interview on Saturday, Gimenez provided his own account describing the scene in the lobby of a D.C. hotel where he was staying on the morning of Jan. 6, suggesting that while most of the people gathered there appeared to be dressed normally, the congressman and his chief of staff had also witnessed at least three men dressed in tactical gear.

Gimenez told CNN’s Jim Acosta that his chief of staff, Alex Ferro, had overheard troubling comments from one of the men that appeared to be about storming the FBI building.

According to Gimenez, the aide called Capitol Police to alert them about the man who donned a helmet and tactical gear. The congressman said the incident took place at roughly 9 a.m.

“At least some people were ready to cause trouble at nine o’clock in the morning,” Gimenez said on Saturday.

Gimenez said the staffer, who previously detailed the incident to CNN in a report published Friday, was also interviewed by the FBI.

“The Capitol Police and the FBI had some warning that something was going to go down,” Gimenez said.

Ferro told the publication he made the call to law enforcement just an hour after hearing the comments.

The GOP congressman had previously mentioned the incident at the Hyatt Regency where he was staying as an incoming lawmaker, during a separate CNN interview earlier this week.

“I know for a fact that I saw people in my hotel room that were saying they were going to do something at 2 o’clock. And that happened at 9 o’clock in the morning,” Gimenez had said during that interview on Wednesday.

Ferro reportedly clarified to the network that the pair had witnessed the scene in the hotel lobby, not the congressman’s hotel room. “It didn’t sit well with me,” Ferro reportedly said of what he heard.

“We need to get to the bottom of what the Capitol Police knew, what were their operating procedures, their communication — it looked like the response was disjointed at best and that should have never happened,” Gimenez said on Saturday.

Correction: This post originally misstated the location overheard in comments about a breach.

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