The United States was slowly killing itself
Indictment: Rioters in the US Capitol wanted to kill MPs
Almost ten days after the storming of the Capitol by radical Trump supporters, in which five people died, law enforcement agencies see indications that something more violent was planned. This can be found in an indictment against one of the participants from January 6th, which became public on Friday.
It states that Jacob Chansley, the man who entered the Capitol with fur and horns as the "QAnon shaman", was part of a group aiming to "overthrow the US government by force". There is "serious evidence that (...) the rioters intended to arrest and murder elected representatives of the US government." Chansley himself said they were in the Capitol to "take out several congressmen". He had also announced that he wanted to travel from Arizona to Washington again on January 20 to swear Joe Biden, which is why he was to be denied a temporary release on bail.
Chansley's attorney asked President Donald Trump for a pardon for his client. He only left for the Capitol "after Trump had invited".
The initial assumption that there was a spontaneous outbreak of violence on January 6th, which began at the previous demonstration, can no longer be maintained. Rather, the investigators suspect some planning behind the attack. Videos of the course of events can be heard several times as the attackers talk about the fact that "everything was going according to plan". In addition, reports the Washington Post, it is now known that several dozen of the attackers were on the authorities' watch lists before they stormed the Capitol. The majority of them are considered members of racist movements that have the supposed superiority of white people as their ideological core.
Indications of consultation with Republicans
In addition, information has now been brought to the investigators that there could have been prior agreements with members of the Republican Congress delegation or their employees. A group of Democratic women mandatars led by former Navy pilot and prosecutor Mikie Sherrill wrote to the authorities asking them to investigate such leads. She says she and several other Democratic MPs with intelligence and military experience saw groups of visitors in the Capitol on December 5 who behaved "suspiciously". Already on that day, relevant information was passed on to the authorities.
A disclosure of the visitor logs is therefore also required. In this context, the very precise knowledge of the locations in the actually rather complicated structure that some of the strikers had revealed seems to be striking. Videos can be seen and heard, for example, as a woman with a megaphone gives hints to the people inside the building.
MP Ayanna Pressley announced on Wednesday that the panic buttons in her office had apparently been dismantled before the attack. These buttons, with which help can be called in an emergency, are checked and serviced at regular intervals - so they couldn't have been missing for long. Why they were not available on Wednesday of all times remained unanswered for the time being. A connection with the attack has not yet been proven.
Pence narrowly escaped
US media recently reported, citing MPs and unnamed officials, that the intruders came extremely close to the MPs on January 6th. The Washington Post reported on Friday that Vice President Mike Pence almost bumped into the intruders. His Secret Service bodyguards could have brought him out of the Senate to a safe room just in time, it said.
Fear of new violence
In view of Joe Biden's imminent swearing in next week, which will make Donald Trump's end of office official, fear of renewed rioting is growing. FBI Director Christopher Wray said federal investigators were targeting a number of people who may intended to "repeat the same type of violence we witnessed last week." The FBI has already warned of planned armed protests in the capital and in all 50 states. Thousands of members of the National Guard are said to be on duty in the coming days.
Even if the step seems necessary in view of the violence that has already been announced in some cases, there is also skepticism: Because the subject of investigations is still how many (former) army members and police officers were actively involved in the assault on the Capitol and what role they played. Of the more than 100 arrested "only" two former police officers from Virginia and a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel from Texas. But on pictures and videos from January 6th, intruders into the Capitol with tactical equipment can be seen, communication with each other took place by hand signals. The Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement to remind members of the Army that Joe Biden would be the new Commander in Chief on January 20th.
Recently, a rehearsal for the inauguration ceremony was postponed due to security concerns, as "Politico" reported. The exercise has been postponed from Sunday to Monday, the inauguration itself takes place on Wednesday. According to "Politico", Biden's planning staff also canceled a train journey from Biden's home town of Wilmington to Washington scheduled for Monday - also because of increased security concerns. During his years as a senator, Biden regularly traveled by train to Washington, a good one and a half hours away.
Trump had not only canceled his participation in the inauguration of his successor, he will apparently leave the capital the evening before. According to an insider, Trump wanted to say goodbye on Wednesday at the Joint Base Andrews air force base, the Reuters news agency learned on Friday from a person familiar with the matter. Then he will fly to his property in the state of Florida. (Manuel Escher, Noura Maan, APA, January 15, 2021)
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