As politicians and law enforcement prepare for future mob violence on Jan. 17 and Inauguration Day, an internal document seen by The Washington Post reports that the FBI knew extremists were planning to travel to the Capitol and engage in “war” on Jan. 6
A day before rioters stormed Congress, an FBI office in Virginia explicitly warned counterparts on Jan. 5 in Washington, D.C. plans by Trump supporters to commit violence.
That FBI report was written within 45 minutes of receiving the information, officials said. The FBI warning contradicts a senior official’s statement that the FBI had no intelligence indicating anyone at the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot planned to do harm.
The document showed an online thread discussing specific calls for violence: “Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”
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Steven D’Antuono, head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, told reporters on Friday that the agency did not have intelligence suggesting the rally would be unlawful. During a subsequent news conference on Tuesday after The Post published news of the report, D’Antuono said the intelligence of Jan. 5 had been shared “with all our law enforcement partners” through the joint terrorism task force, which includes the U.S. Capitol Police, the U.S. Park Police, D.C. police, and other federal and local agencies.
Five people died during the chaos of the Jan. 6 attack. The failure was not one of intelligence but of acting on the intelligence, a law enforcement official told the Washington Post anonymously to avoid punishment.
Since the attack, many law enforcement officials have said privately that the violence at the Capitol has led to hard discussions at the FBI and other agencies about race, terrorism and whether the failure to act was because the mob was overwhelmingly white, conservative and loyal to Trump.
In the news and on social media, people are talking about how different the police response would have been if the people pushing through the barriers and breaking glass had been Black.
“Make no mistake, the Capitol insurgency was about making America great for white people,” wrote Dr. Rashawn Ray, a Brookings Institution fellow, sociology professor and executive director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research at the University of Maryland.
“In erecting a hangman’s noose, waving the Confederate flag, and wearing white nationalist paraphernalia, including an Auschwitz Concentration Camp shirt, the domestic terrorists showed America they fundamentally believe in maintaining and enacting white supremacy,” Ray wrote in a Brookings report.
Officers sent to defend the Capitol on Jan. 6 were captured on camera shaking rioters’ hands, posing with them for selfies and letting them through police barriers to launch their attack.
At least 13 law enforcement personnel from eight states attended the riot and are under investigation, HuffPost reported. Many former cops also joined the mob including a retired Oakland officer and former North Miami Beach officer who live-streamed from inside the Capitol, saying, “The people give the power. And we’re here to take it back.”
This time, Capitol Police, the Pentagon and other agencies are taking no chances. Some pro-Trump activists who promoted the Jan. 6 Capitol attack are trying to distance themselves from future attacks, Daily Beast reported.
Capitol Police told House Democrats on Monday about future plans for the “largest armed protest ever to take place on American soil” and an alleged plot to either block Democrats from reaching the Capitol or kill them so Republicans can take over the government.
However, public online discussions of the planned Jan. 17 protests have been much less visible than before the Jan. 6 riot. This could be because social media has cracked down on extremists, said Lindsay Schubiner, a program director at the Western States Center, which tracks extremists in the Pacific Northwest.
“We are not seeing nearly the same level of online chatter about attending those events,” Schubiner told Daily Beast.
Up to 20,000 National Guard troops are flooding into Washington, D.C. and Trump supporters have suggested that the proposed Jan. 17 rally is a trick to trap MAGA fans.
Mark Taylor, a former firefighter who became a far-right superstar, warned his 185,000-plus followers on Tuesday to avoid the Jan. 17 protests. “Folks any of these so called peaceful armed protests at all the state capitals and DC Jan 17th is a set up by the left,” Taylor tweeted on Tuesday. “DO NOT go! It is a trap!!”
The Gateway Pundit, a right-wing hoax blog whose owner was invited to the Trump White House, said the Jan. 17 protest was a “deep-state plot” meant to set the stage for mass arrests of Trump supporters, Daily Beast reported.
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That paranoia has reached the state level. A Minnesota group that organized “Stop The Steal” events at the state’s capital warned followers on Facebook against attending the Jan. 16 event: “This is an infiltration and set up tactic used to incite violence and blame us. DO NOT GO TO THE CAPITOL ON SUNDAY!”
MAGA activist Ali Alexander, one of the organizers of the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” mob, said in an email to The Daily Beast that he wants Trump supporters to stay away from Washington, D.C. around the inauguration. He claimed that posters promoting events there were Democratic fabrications.
“No one should go to D.C. this month,” Alexander told The Daily Beast.
The “National Guard is now planning to bring 20,000 troops to Washington,” Norah O’Donnell, managing editor at CBS Evening News, tweeted.