Klein, who is also a former Trump campaign employee, did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Friday. It is unclear if he has hired a lawyer.
Klein was still employed at the State Department as a staff assistant on Jan. 6 when he joined a mob in a tunnel leading into the U.S. Capitol, the FBI said. Then he allegedly “physically and verbally engaged with the officers holding the line” at the building’s entrance, according to the complaint. After ignoring officers’ orders to move back, he assaulted officers with a riot shield that had been stolen from police, the complaint said, and then used the shield to wedge open a door into the Capitol.
At one point, Klein was caught on video shouting for more insurrectionists to come to the front lines, where officers were struggling to hold back the mob.
“We need fresh people, need fresh people,” he said, according to the complaint.
Klein’s arrest is the most direct link yet between the Trump administration and the rioters, despite attempts by some conservatives to dissociate the insurrection from the former president. Many of the 300-plus people who have been charged in connection with the insurrection have described themselves as Trump supporters, while some have ties to extremist groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.
Klein had a top-secret security clearance that was renewed in 2019, the FBI said. A LinkedIn profile the FBI identified as Klein’s also lists a top-secret security clearance and shows that Klein has been politically active in the Republican Party since at least 2008, when he began volunteering for political campaigns. Before joining the State Department in 2017, Klein worked for the Trump campaign, which paid him a $15,000 salary.
According to a financial disclosure form filed by Klein, he was appointed as a staff assistant in the State Department on Jan. 22, 2017, days after Trump was sworn in as president. He worked as a special assistant in the Office of Brazilian and Southern Cone Affairs, where he was paid $66,510, according to a ProPublica database of Trump appointees and the criminal complaint.
After the insurrection, Klein continued working in the State Department until Jan. 19, when he resigned the day before Biden’s inauguration, per the complaint.
The Trump appointee faces several felony charges for his alleged role in the riot, including knowingly engaging in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds.
Klein’s mother, Cecilia Klein, told Politico that her son had admitted to being in D.C. on Jan. 6 but said he did not specify whether he had entered the Capitol building.
“Fred’s politics burn a little hot,” she told Politico, “but I’ve never known him to violate the law.”