Man Arrested Near White House Claimed Obama Called Him

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The Iowa man arrested near the White House allegedly with a rifle and knife in his car was arraigned in court Thursday, as charging documents revealed that he claimed the president called him personally for an appointment.

R.J. "Renae" Kapheim, 43, of Davenport, was charged with illegally carrying a rifle in the District of Columbia, according to the D.C. U.S. Attorney's Office. He pleaded not-guilty.

Image: R.J. Kapheim, 41, pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon to one count of unlawful possession of a rifle outside the White House
R.J. Kapheim, 41, pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon to one count of unlawful possession of a rifle outside the White HouseBill Hennessy

Just before 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Kapheim approached a uniformed Secret Service officer near the White House and saying that he "had an appointment with the president," according to the charging papers obtained by NBC News on Thursday.

When the officer looked into the Secret Service database and determined there was no appointment, Kapheim allegedly stated that "the president called him directly and told him to come to the White House." The officer then observed Kapheim talking to himself and shaking his head back and forth. Due to that behavior, additional officers were called and they located Kapheim's car, a 2013 Volkswagen Passat, which contained a .30-30 rifle, knives and at least 40 rounds of ammunition.

Kapheim was ordered held pending a hearing set for 9 a.m. Friday. The charge of carrying a rifle is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. The incident took place on the same day that Acting Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy testified before Congress about low morale that has plagued the agency over the last few years and led to a series of blunders.

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— Hasani Gittens

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