Russia Insider founder Charles Bausman breached the walls of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, according to research conducted by a Europe-based open-source intelligence (OSINT) group into video captured during the insurrection.
The findings by the OSINT group build on Hatewatch reporting showing that Bausman traveled to Washington, D.C., on the day of the insurrection, then disappeared from his home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and reemerged in Moscow. In the months since, he has served as a talking head on Russian television, commenting on American affairs with a reactionary point of view. Hatewatch previously noted that Bausman claimed on a Russian Orthodox Christian-themed television station to have stopped short at the Capitol’s balustrades without entering the building. Footage obtained by the OSINT group, in which a man bearing a strong resemblance to Bausman is visible inside the Capitol, appears to contradict his account.
The OSINT group, whose members choose to remain anonymous, goes by the name “Blue Hatz.” A person who operates a Twitter account associated with the group described them to Hatewatch as “an independent international team of 15 ‘OSINTers’ and investigators from Europe, Russia, Ukraine and US” who have been using found footage to identify those who breached the Capitol building on Jan. 6. In the Russian television interviews, Bausman claims to be a journalist covering the events of Jan. 6, rather than a pro-Trump demonstrator. But the man the OSINT group believes to be Bausman – shown in side-by-side images in a tweet they published – can be seen wearing a red, Trump-branded hat, blending in with other supporters of the 45th president inside a hallway. The video shows the man strolling and taking video with his cell phone as rioters move through the Capitol building.
Hatewatch emailed Bausman for a response to the OSINT group’s findings, but he did not reply. The enigmatic propagandist has not spoken to Hatewatch since more than a year ago, when we first started reporting out his connections to other American white supremacists. Then, he told Hatewatch from the door of his Lancaster home that he did not want to speak to the media. Hatewatch sent the apparent images of Bausman inside the Capitol building to five people who interacted with him in and around Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he lived from November 2018 until shortly after Jan. 6. All five of them told Hatewatch the man pictured in the footage unearthed by the OSINT group looked like Bausman to them.
“[We agree] that this is Charles. When I looked at the photo again it appears he is inside the [Capitol building]. I wonder if the FBI identified him?” one of the sources wrote to Hatewatch by text.
Additionally, Mary Watkins, Bausman’s sister, told Hatewatch of the image, “It does look like Charlie.”
Speaking in fluent Russian, Bausman told the same Russian television program in January to avoid describing him as a “participant” in the events of January 6, because he did not want someone to “show up at his door.” The FBI has so far declined to comment on Bausman’s far-right activism to Hatewatch.
Hatewatch’s Bausman reporting
Originally, Bausman built his public reputation by producing online propaganda idealizing Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Hatewatch later connected Bausman to a network of U.S. white supremacist websites in October 2020 after finding the same Russian email address buried inside of their source code. Hatewatch then published a second report based on the same website infrastructure, connecting Bausman to a hyperpartisan, far-right junk news publication focused on Lancaster. Hatewatch later learned that Bausman pushed a myriad of far-right causes after settling down in Lancaster in November 2018.
Bausman collaborated with an ideologically inconsistent mix of white supremacists and pro-Trump groups such as the gun-worshipping “World Peace and Unification Sanctuary” during his time in the U.S. He worked with members of an anti-Trump, white supremacist group and simultaneously involved himself in Roger Stone-inspired “Stop the Steal” activism, which sought to reinstall Trump as president based on a lie.
Round trip to the U.S. from Moscow
Questions surround Bausman’s objectives as a propagandist and his sources of funding. He lived in Russia for decades before he bought a home in Lancaster in 2018. He claims to have worked in the agricultural industry in Russia, but Hatewatch struggled to verify the details on his publicly visible resume. The human resources director of one company where Bausman claims to have served as a “Director” from 2010 to the present told Hatewatch in explicit terms that they never employed him. A website Bausman lists on his resume as part of his employment history has been offline for years. The Russia-focused website The Interpreter published emails in 2015 showing Bausman asking for funding through an associate of pro-Kremlin Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, a man who has involved himself in a host of extreme far-right activism in the past. (Malofeev owns one of the television stations that hosted Bausman from Russia after Jan.6.)
Watkins, who previously spoke out against her brother’s far-right activism to Hatewatch, said that he denied having connections to the Russian government to her in the past.
“I don’t know where to go on [finding a] motivation for this with him. I honestly don’t,” Watkins previously said of Bausman to Hatewatch.
Photo illustration by SPLC