A screaming protester posing as a journalist allegedly threw small Russian flags at President Donald Trump inside the U.S. Capitol Tuesday.
He shouted "Trump is treason" as the president and Sen. Mitch McConnell walked into a lunch on tax reform.
U.S. Capitol Police said Ryan T. Clayton, 36, of Sterling, Virginia, was arrested about 1:40 p.m. for protesting inside the Capitol and was charged with unlawful conduct. Court records showed a prior arrest for unlawful assembly.
He identified himself as part of a group called Americans Take Action. The group's website claims to represent a network of populists.
A similar incident took place in July. A man standing with reporters identified himself as Ryan Clayton and tried to hand a Russian flag to Jared Kushner.
Investigators believe the same man may have carried out Tuesday's incident.
Clayton called NBC News Tuesday evening to say he had been released and was not in Capitol Police custody. He said he'd been arrested on the grounds at least twice before this year and said Capitol Police knew him and were respectful.
The protest took place in the Ohio Clock Corridor just off the Senate floor, where no protester should ever have access. Only police, credentialed press and credentialed staff are allowed. To get that credential, a reporter must agree not to protest or lobby government officials. Anyone who's not part of the Capitol press corps must have a visiting media ID issued by the media outlet.
Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information
Clayton told NBC News Capitol Police questioned him about how he got into the press scrum in the Ohio Clock Corridor without a press credential.
In an email to News4, the spokeswoman for the U.S. House Administration Committee, which oversees U.S. Capitol Police, wrote "The chairman is aware of and has been briefed on the incident that took place on the Senate side this afternoon. There is a full investigation underway and we will await those findings."
Neither the White House nor Secret Service responded to immediate requests for comment.