Thousands of armed National Guard troops were on their way to Washington to bolster security for next week’s inaugural celebration as federal investigators turned their attention to the difficult question of how many military and police personnel took part in the violent attack on the Capitol, a law enforcement official said Thursday. Adding to the tensions, dozens of people on a terrorist watchlist were found to have been in Washington on Jan. 6 for pro-Trump events that ultimately devolved into the assault on the Capitol, according to two government officials briefed on the Justice Department investigation into the riot. Most were suspected white supremacists, according to The Washington Post, which earlier reported on their status on the list. It was not clear how many people on the watchlist were part of the mob that stormed the Capitol, but their presence in the capital adds to the urgent questions about security preparations for the events of Jan. 6. Sign up for The Morning 遞四方香港查詢letter from the New York Times The nationwide dragnet for those responsible for the worst incursion on the home of Congress since the War of 1812 has now entered its second week, and investigators are increasingly concerned that some of the attackers may have brought specialized skills to bear on the assault. So far, two off-duty police officers from a small town in Virginia and a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel from Texas are among the suspects with police or military links — a tiny fraction of the more than 100 people who have been taken into federal custody. Still, videos and photos posted online have shown chilling scenes of rioters in tactical gear moving through the chaos inside the Capitol complex in tight formation and sometimes using hand signals to communicate with one another. Investigators are eager to determine whether any of these plotters were working together or had ties to law enforcement or the military. The Pentagon was sufficiently concerned that members of the military might have taken part in the attack — or at least supported it — that the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued an unusual message to all military personnel this week, reminding them that President-elect Joe Biden would soon be their commander in chief and that they were duty bound to defend the Constitution. The Defense Department declined Thursday to directly address whether any members of the military were in fact involved in the assault. “We in the Department of Defense are doing everything we can to eliminate extremism,” said Garry Reid, the Pentagon’s director for defense intelligence. Reid added that all members of the military, including those in the National Guard, undergo extensive screening for participation in hate groups and militias. Federal officials have already concluded that the swearing-in next week of Biden is a likely target for armed extremists and are expected to flood Washington with more than 20,000 National Guard members from 13 states. The Secret Service, which is leading the effort to secure the ceremony, announced Thursday that it would establish a “green zone” in downtown Washington this weekend, shutting down traffic and train stations as troops continue to flood into the increasingly militarized city. In a statement, the Secret Service added that most of the streets around the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol would be closed from Saturday morning until the day after the inauguration. And Customs and Border Protection planned to deploy aircraft to Washington to conduct surveillance over the inauguration, the agency said in a statement. Agents on the ground can watch video footage of the event in real time to spot potential threats. Such preparations and precautions were necessary because the FBI had picked up “an extensive amount of concerning online chatter” and was trying to discern between “aspirational” plots and actual threats, the bureau’s director, Christopher Wray, said in a televised briefing with Vice President Mike Pence. Wray said the scores of arrests already made in last week’s riot — and the fact that agents have identified about 200 suspects altogether — should “serve as a very stern warning to anyone else who might be inclined” to return to Washington to commit more violence. “We know who you are, if you’re out there, and FBI agents are coming to find you,” Wray said, adding, “Anyone who plots or attempts violence in the coming week should count on a visit.” On Thursday alone, federal prosecutors unsealed charges against 12 defendants across the country, including one man who was captured last week in a viral image carrying a Confederate battle flag through a hallway of the Capitol. According to court documents, the man, Kevin Seefried of Delaware, went to Washington on Jan. 6 with his son, Hunter, to hear President Donald Trump address a crowd outside the White House. Seefried brought along the Confederate flag that hung outside his home where, court papers said, it was “usually displayed.” Prosecutors also charged Robert Sanford, a retired firefighter from Chester, Pennsylvania, in connection with the assault of a Capitol Police officer with a fire extinguisher. Like the Seefrieds, Sanford had gone to the White House to listen to Trump deliver his speech then moved on to the Capitol, following “the president’s instructions,” court papers say. Sanford’s arrest was unrelated to the death of a Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, who was said to have been struck in the head by a fire extinguisher, according to two law enforcement officials. Later in the day, charges were unsealed against a man accused of beating a police officer on the Capitol grounds with a flagpole flying the American flag. According to a criminal complaint, the man, Peter Stager, claimed he thought the victim of the assault was a member of antifa, the loose collective of leftist activists who have often sparred with far-right protesters, even though the words “Metropolitan Police” were clearly written on the officer’s uniform. “Everybody in there is a treasonous traitor,” Stager said, in an apparent reference to the Capitol, according to a video obtained by the FBI. “Death is the only remedy for what’s in that building.” Even as they pursued new leads and suspects, federal investigators also sought to verify an incendiary charge raised this week by several lawmakers: that some members of Congress had helped coordinate the attack. On Wednesday, Rep. Mikie Sherrill, a New Jersey Democrat and a former Navy pilot, called for an investigation, with more than 30 of her colleagues, into what they described as “suspicious” visits by outside groups to the Capitol on the day before the riot at a time when most tours were restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, another lawmaker, Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., said she had personally witnessed a tour of the building before the Jan. 6 attack by people who were “Trump supporters.” A law enforcement official said investigators had yet to discover any evidence that members of Congress were involved in helping plan the attack, and cautioned that the inquiry was vast and that all leads needed to be carefully vetted. The flurry of arrests and investigations added an air of nervous activity to a city that already seemed to be under siege. The area around the National Mall on Thursday was crammed with military vehicles and cut off from its surroundings by imposing lengths of metal fencing, creating what the Secret Service agent in charge of inaugural security called “a bubble that is safe and secure.” As of Thursday afternoon, about 7,000 National Guard troops were in Washington, a number that was expected to rise to more than 20,000 by the time of Biden’s inauguration. That, officials said, was roughly three times the total number of American troops deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria. Pence sought to reassure Americans about the inauguration. “We are going to ensure that we have a safe inauguration, and President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn in as the president and vice president of the United States in a manner consistent with our history and traditions,” he said. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
Top Democrats embraced the plan, but some in the GOP say it doesn't do enough to help businesses, and progressives say stimulus checks should be larger.
The U.S. Justice Department's internal watchdog will review how the FBI and other law enforcement agencies prepared and responded to the storming of the U.S. Capitol by President Donald Trump's supporters, Inspector General Michael Horowitz said on Friday. The inquiry will be coordinated with other federal agencies whose law enforcement arms were also involved in responding to the Jan. 6 assault, including the Defense Department, Department of Homeland Security and Department of the Interior. The Pentagon's inspector general, meanwhile, said on Friday it was going to review the Pentagon's role and responsibilities related to the attack on the Capitol.
Win McNamee/GettyThe so-called QAnon Shaman who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week in Viking garb before sitting in Vice President Mike Pence’s chair on the Senate dais admitted to federal agents he intended to return to D.C. to “protest” President-elect Biden’s inauguration.“I’ll still go, you better believe it,” Jacob Chansley bragged in an interview with FBI agents the day after the violent insurrection. “For sure I’d want to be there, as a protestor, as a protestor, fuckin’ a.”The admission by Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, is one of several prosecutors detailed in an 18-page detention memo arguing for the 33-year-old Arizona man to be held before trial. Prosecutors said in the memo that there is strong evidence that the intent of the Capitol rioters, including Chansley, “was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government.”‘Death Is the Only Remedy’: Capitol Rioter Charged for Beating D.C. Cop With American FlagpoleChansley, who was photographed shirtless, carrying a spear and a bullhorn, and wearing a headdress made of coyote skin and buffalo horns, was arrested Saturday in Arizona and charged with civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, disorderly conduct in a restricted building, and demonstrating in a Capitol building.He called the FBI on Jan. 7 to admit he was at the riots and that “he came ... with other ‘patriots’ from Arizona, at the request of the President that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C.,” a criminal complaint says.He was among a small group that stormed the Senate chamber—along with an Air Force vet holding zip-ties and an Alabama man armed with a knife who said God told him to enter the building. After getting into the chamber “by the grace of God,” Chansley said he was glad he sat in Pence’s chair because Pence “is a child-trafficking traitor,” the memo states.Chansley admitted that he left a chilling note on Pence’s desk stating: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” But he told the FBI he “did not mean his note to Vice President Pence...as a threat.”Prior to the riot, Chansley had “previously espoused identifying and then ‘hanging’ ‘traitors’ within the United States government,” the memo says.“His status as a symbol of the insurrection, his actions inside the Capitol building, and his demonstrated disregard of orders while inside with the goal of disrupting official Congressional proceedings, demonstrate the danger his release would pose,” prosecutors argued in the memo.“At this juncture in our Nation’s history, it is hard to imagine a greater risk to our democracy and community than the armed revolution of which Chansley has made himself the symbol.”Prosecutors said Chansley should be detained because the “self-proclaimed leader” of QAnon has previous felonies, doesn’t have a stable job, and lied to authorities about his drug use, telling them he only smoked weed “three times weekly in the past” but bragging on a podcast about taking mushrooms and peyote regularly.“Additionally, a full portrait of Chansley’s apparent mental health issues—which he has publicly-disseminated, and which include strongly-held false mystical beliefs and leadership in a dangerous extremist group, QAnon founded on an imaginary conspiracy theory—were not [disclosed by him],” the memo says, adding that Chansley has previously said he thinks he’s “an alien.”QAnon believers think that the world is controlled by a cabal of pedophile-cannibals in the Democratic Party, Hollywood, and banking. They await the day that Trump and the military will arrest and execute all political opponents in a much-awaited purge they call “The Storm.”An attorney for Chansley, however, argued that his client is not a threat because he was merely accepting “President Trump’s invitation to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol.”“Given the peaceful and compliant fashion in which Mr. Chansley comported himself, it would be appropriate and honorable for the president to pardon Mr. Chansley and other like-minded, peaceful individuals who accepted the president’s invitation with honorable intentions,” Albert Watkins said in a Thursday statement.During a rally that preceded the insurrection, Trump told protesters that Pence had the ability to overturn the election result and told followers to “fight like hell” against the legitimate election result.“And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you.… We are going to the Capitol, and we are going to try and give... our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re try—going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country,” Trump told the crowd.Amid outcry over his inflammatory rhetoric that incited the mob, Trump has doubled down on his remarks, calling them “totally appropriate.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? 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“Governors are being WAY too precious about who gets this vaccine.”
“The federal government needs to give states strict parameters for when their vaccine allocation must be administered.”
“While public health leaders know what must be done, their critical work could be supported by a national COVID-19 Vaccine Corps.”
“The US vaccine campaign is not a disaster. Rather, I think it is predictably mediocre.”
“The best option may be to rely more on private industry.”