The FBI arrested a former Trump political appointee Thursday, charging the former State Department aide with multiple felony counts for participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The 42-year-old Federico Klein was still an employee of the U.S. government and a part of the Trump administration when he joined the mob attacking the Capitol, where, the FBI alleges, he “physically and verbally engaged with the officers holding the line,” assaulting officers with their own riot shield that had been taken from police and using it to prop open a door to the Capitol.
While essentially all of the participants on Jan. 6 are Donald Trump supporters in some fashion, Klein is the most direct link so far to the former president—he was a member of the Trump administration. Klein was also a Trump campaign employee during the 2016 race and, the FBI says, joined the State Department days after Trump took office in January 2017. Klein said on his LinkedIn page that he had top-secret security clearance that predated his joining the Trump administration but that was renewed as recently as 2019. In fact, even after storming the Capitol, an attack on the government itself, Klein continued to work at the State Department for nearly two weeks, resigning on the eve of Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Klein’s mother told Politico that her son had served in the Marines in Iraq and worked in run-of-the-mill Republican political circles before joining the Trump campaign as a “tech analyst” and later the administration as a “Schedule C” political appointee earning $66,510 a year, according to financial disclosure forms. “Klein worked for a time in the State Department’s Office of Brazilian and Southern Cone Affairs before being transferred to the office that handles Freedom of Information Act requests,” a former colleague told Politico.
The FBI says Klein was taken into custody Thursday in Virginia. “Fred’s politics burn a little hot,” Klein’s mother told Politico, “but I’ve never known him to violate the law.”