A clearer picture has emerged of what transpired during the 20 to 30 minutes that David DePape was allegedly inside the Pelosi home in Pacific Heights Friday morning, and according to what DePape himself told investigators, he sure sounds like one of the right-wing rioters at the Capitol on January 6th.
Efforts to pin down DePape's politics have been somewhat futile so far, as journalists and investigators have been trying to make sense of the nonsensical rantings of a disturbed person. His ex-girlfriend Gypsy Taub, who has known him for over 20 years but lost touch about seven years ago, said he was, like her, "against the shadow government." But she also said that he suffered from mental illness, and as far she knew had "completely lost his mind" and had been seen muttering around the streets of Berkeley in recent years.
According to the FBI, DePape had been living in a garage on Shasta Street in Richmond for the past two years.
More details about what happened in the Pelosis' home were laid out in the federal affidavit filed Monday, in connection with the two federal counts DePape was charged with in addition to multiple state charges being filed by the San Francisco DA.
According to the complaint, filed by FBI Special Agent Stephanie Minor, DePape was observed by a security guard at a neighboring property — a guard described as Witness 1 in the complaint, who did not call the police himself. The guard saw a figure in black approach the Pelosis' residence around 2 a.m., and he heard a loud bang that was likely the sound of the back door being smashed.
DePape allegedly went upstairs to Paul Pelosi's bedroom, where Mr. Pelosi was asleep. DePape reportedly told him to get up, and said he was looking for "Nancy." Mr. Pelosi told him that Nancy was not home, and he says DePape told him he would sit and wait until she came home. Mr. Pelosi then said she wouldn't be home for several days, and DePape allegedly then said he wanted to tie Mr. Pelosi up to his bed so that he, DePape, could get some sleep. He apparently said he was tired from having to carry his backpack a long way to get to the house.
It's not clear how much of his intentions he laid out for Mr. Pelosi, but DePape told investigators it was intent to tie up Ms. Pelosi once she was home, and interrogate her. If she told the "truth," he would let her go, but if she lied, which he expected she would, he would break "her kneecaps" as punishment for being "leader of the pack" of liars in Congress, or in the Democratic Party.
Here's where logic goes further out the window, and all signs point to an irrational person: Paul Pelosi tried to leave the bedroom, DePape stopped him, Pelosi went into a bathroom — where there was a phone, apparently — and dialed 911. DePape was, according to the complaint, fully aware that 911 had been called, but in his mind, he needed to hold his ground, and face the police.
What DePape apparently told investigators was that "he did not leave after Pelosi's call to 9-1-1 because, much like the American founding fathers with the British, he was fighting against tyranny without the option of surrender."
"DePape reiterated this sentiment elsewhere in the interview," Special Agent Minor writes.
After police arrived at the house — the Chronicle reports that the 911 dispatcher quickly elevated the call from a welfare check to a Code 3 emergency — Pelosi "ran over" to the door and opened it. It's unclear if DePape then followed or was raising the hammer at this point, but Pelosi reportedly tried to grab the hammer, police commanded them both to drop the hammer, Pelosi let go, and DePape reportedly confessed to what the police also saw — that he swung the hammer and struck Pelosi once in the head. According to DePape, in his interview with investigators, he said that Mr. Pelosi was "taking the punishment instead" of his wife.
So, the tyranny language, and the harkening back to the Revolutionary War — that's all straight out of the insurrectionist narrative from January 6th. Not all the rioters were Republicans, remember! And while we don't know to what extent DePape was a devotee or fan of Donald Trump — Taub said he was previously a big fan of Obama, but a man who'd been working with DePape on carpentry jobs until just a week ago says that he was full-on MAGA and bought the Big Lie — we know that Trump had at least figured into a recent blog post attributed to DePape.
In the post, DePape was imploring Trump to choose former Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard as his running mate in 2024. Gabbard, who ran for president in 2020, has recently taken conservative stances on abortion and trans rights, declared herself an independent, and served as on-air fill-in host on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show in August, around the time of DePape's blog post.
The political climate in the U.S. could make anyone crazy, but certainly the 24-7 vitriol of Fox News and Newsmax have the power to make the unhinged even moreso, and convince anyone that we're teetering on some brink of war, or Armageddon.
Governor Gavin Newsom gave an interview to CBS News about the attack on Paul Pelosi, and he pointed the finger squarely at Fox News for dehumanizing Nancy Pelosi, mocking Paul (and his recent DUI), and "creating the culture" that leads to such violence.
"I've seen the dehumanization of Nancy Pelosi," Newsom said. "I don't think anyone's been dehumanized like she has consistently. Now I watched this one guy, Jesse Watters or something on Fox News. What he's been saying about Paul Pelosi the last five, six months, mocking him consistently. Don't tell me that's not aiding and abetting all this. Of course it is."
Newsom added, "Look at the sewage that is online that they amplify on these networks and in social media to dehumanize people like Nancy Pelosi and other political leaders." Newsom said he had first-hand experience with violent rhetoric and threats, particularly around the time of his own recall election last year.
"Look, there's always folks in the extreme and you roll your eyes. [But] This is — something is different here... People feel free to shove again," Newsom said.
DePape was scheduled to be arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday.
Top image: San Francisco police officers and F.B.I. agents gather in front of the home of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on October 28, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Paul Pelosi, the husband of U.S. Speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi, was violently attacked in their home by an intruder. One arrest has been made. Speaker Pelosi was not at home at the time of the attack. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)