WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump's nominee for Pennsylvania governor said that the Jan. 6, attack was a comparison to Nazi historical events. He also stated that he saw "parallels", between the criticisms of the Jan.6 attack and the 1933 Reichstag Fire, which Hitler used as a way to seize more power.
Doug Mastriano visited the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6.
The House Jan.6 committee has subpoenaed Mastriano, a Pennsylvania senator. According to receipts, his lawyer had previously admitted to turning over to Jan. 6 committee receipts that he organized buses to D.C. He was only feet from the rioters who tore down the police barricades. However, he claims he followed the police lines "as it existed" and that he left Capitol when it was "apparently that this wasn't a peaceful protest."
His victory in the primary election last month has led to a renewed examination of his role on Jan. 6. This includes previously unpublished photos showing him at the back of a crowd who broke through a police barricade.
His comments on Jan. 6 are also drawing more attention.
Mastriano was interviewed by Ben Stein on Friday, and live streamed his interview via Facebook.
Stein, a former Richard Nixon speechwriter and host of the 1990s gameshow "Win Ben Stein's Money", was a podcast host who called the Jan. 6 attack "a ridiculously trivial matter".
Stein stated that the country is becoming "more and more into dictatorship" and compared Jan. 6 with the 1933 fire at the Reichstag in Berlin, which Hitler blamed on communists. The Nazis used the fire to take over more power and suspend civil liberties.
Stein stated that the Nazis immediately took advantage of it [the Reichstag Fire] to impose emergency actions. "I believe something similar is happening with Jan. 6 nonevent."
Stein described the riot as "ridiculously trivial."
He said, "It wasn't an insurrection." It was not an attempt at taking over the government. It was a protest by a group frustrated by the statistical impossibility that the vote went the way Democrats claimed.
Stein responded to Mastriano's comment, saying that he agreed with Stein's comparison between Jan. 6th and the Reichstag fire.
Mastriano stated, "I agree with political analogy, which was laid out there, so using something very suspicious in Berlin for their agenda, you, the national socialists there," Mastriano added. "I do see parallels."
Mastriano previously stated that Jan. 6 lawbreakers "must be charged," but Stein said that law enforcement took "extremely heavy-handed" measures in response to the attack.
Mastriano stated, "It's really heartbreaking to see how rapidly our country is falling. And that people are being publicly arrested for showing a message." "I believe what we see in America now makes McCarthy's '50s appearance like an amateur."
One of the Sedition Hunters, an online sleuth group that has spent 17 months investigating the Jan. 6, attack and identifying hundreds rioters to law enforcement, claims they have discovered new photos of Mastriano at the Capitol grounds. These photos were taken just moments before the rioters broke through a police barricade on the eastern side. According to timelines that the online sleuths constructed from the videos, photos and social media coverage of the day, rioters broke the window leading into Capitol rotunda minutes later.
Online sleuths have helped the FBI identify rioters in hundreds of Capitol Riot investigations months before they are arrested.
NBC News reviewed the video and image files used to create the timelines. They also compared images of Mastriano at rallies with the ones identified by the sleuths. Mastriano is seen wearing the same scarf, hat, and in the same place among the crowd in the images. Mastriano appears to be accompanied by a woman that looks like his wife in the series of images. Mastriano has publicly admitted that his wife was there that day. In previous images, he has not denied his identity.
Images shared by NBC News show Mastriano holding his cellphone while rioters at the Capitol steps confront police. Reconstructed timelines and videos taken nearby clearly show that rioters would break through this police line in minutes. They would tear away a crowd control rope and race past officers up the stairs. NBC News reviewed the timelines and videos that showed Mastriano in the crowd, including uncut versions.
Online sleuths also found a video posted Jan. 6 by Mike Coudrey, a Stop the Steal organizer. It appears to show Mastriano taking pictures or video with his phone as rioters confront police on the steps at the U.S. Capitol. Coudrey tweeted praise for the mob that he claimed "broke through four layers of security at Capitol building."
Mastriano's campaign didn't respond to NBC News' request to comment. Mastriano stated previously that he "respected every police line as I found them" and that he had never stepped foot on Capitol stairs. NBC reported that Grant Clarkson was one of Mastriano's campaign aides. He was close to the front line of the mob. Clarkson has denied that Clarkson entered Capitol that day, and there is no evidence to support that claim.