Senin, 11 Januari 2021

More Capitol Hill raid arrests as officials open 25 domestic terrorism charges against Donald Trump supporters - ABC News

US officials have opened 25 domestic terrorism investigations following last week's violent scenes in which thousands of Donald Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill.

The riot scattered politicians who were certifying Democratic president-elect Joe Biden's election victory, in a harrowing assault on the centre of American democracy that left five dead.

Dozens of people who attacked police officers, stole computers and smashed windows at the Capitol have been arrested for their role in the violence.

As the full extent of the insurrection becomes clear, the FBI is also investigating whether some of the rioters had plans to kidnap members of Congress and hold them hostage.

A mugshot of a man
Eric Gavelek Munchel was photographed with plastic restraints and arrested on Sunday.(AP/Metro Government of Nashville and Davidson County)

Investigators are particularly focused on why some of them were seen carrying plastic zip-tie handcuffs and had apparently accessed areas of the Capitol generally difficult for the public to locate, according to an official.

The official was among four officials briefed on Wednesday's incident who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly.

Larry Rendell Brock, of Texas, and Eric Gavelek Munchel, of Tennessee, who both were photographed with plastic restraints as they broke into the Capitol, were arrested by the FBI on Sunday.

Prosecutors said Mr Brock also donned a green helmet, tactical vest and camouflage jacket.

Capital Police made no preparations for possibility protests could escalate

Others briefed on law enforcement's response who spoke to the Associated Press said US Capitol Police did not bolster staffing on the day of the raid and made no preparations for the possibility that the planned protests could escalate into massive violent riots, despite ample warnings about demonstrations in Washington DC.

An explosion caused by a police munition in front of the US Capitol building during a Trump supporter riot.
Police were apparently issued an order not to use deadly force against the demonstrators.(Reuters: Leah Millis)

The revelations shed new light on why Capitol Police were so quickly overrun by rioters.

The department had the same number of officers in place as on a routine day.

While some of those officers were outfitted with equipment for a protest, they were not staffed or equipped for a riot.

Once the mob began to move on the Capitol, a police lieutenant issued an order not to use deadly force, which explains why officers outside the building did not draw their weapons as the crowd closed in.

Officers are sometimes ordered against escalating a situation by drawing their weapons if superiors believe doing so could lead to a stampede or a shootout.

In this instance, it also left officers with little ability to resist the mob.

In one video from the scene, an officer puts up his fists to try to push back a crowd pinning him and his colleagues against a door.

The crowd jeers, "You are not American!" and one man tries to prod him with the tip of an American flag.

Trump supporters pull a police barrier from all sides as they try to break through a police line.
Security concerns had been raised in late December about the Capitol's vulnerability to a violent demonstration.(AP: John Minchillo)

"They were left naked," Democratic representative Maxine Waters said of the police.

Ms Waters had raised security concerns in a December 28 meeting of House Democrats and grilled Steven Sund, the Capitol Police chief, during an hour-long private call on New Year's Eve.

The Capitol Police's response to the riots, poor planning and failure to anticipate the seriousness of the threat have drawn condemnation from politicians and prompted the ouster of the department's chief and the sergeants at arms of both the House and Senate.

Trump an 'imminent threat' to constitution and democracy, Pelosi says

The violence came after Mr Trump urged supporters to march on the Capitol at a rally where he repeated false claims that his resounding election defeat was illegitimate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks to the media.
Nancy Pelosi has implored House Democrats to act with urgency to protect the constitution and America's democracy.(AP: Jacquelyn Martin)

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, many of her fellow Democrats and a handful of Republicans say Mr Trump should not be trusted to serve out his term, which ends on January 20.

"In protecting our constitution and our democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both," Ms Pelosi wrote to fellow House Democrats on Sunday.

Mr Trump acknowledged a new administration would take office on January 20 in a video statement after the attack but has not appeared in public.

Twitter and Facebook have suspended his accounts, citing the risk of him inciting violence.

When the House convenes on Monday (local time), politicians will bring up a resolution asking Vice-President Mike Pence to invoke the never-used 25th Amendment of the US constitution, which allows a vice-president and cabinet to remove a president deemed unfit to do the job. A recorded vote is expected on Tuesday.

Mr Pence was in the Capitol along with his family when Mr Trump's supporters attacked. He and Mr Trump are currently not on speaking terms.

But Republicans have shown little interest in invoking the 25th Amendment. Mr Pence's office did not respond to questions about the issue.

Possible insurrection charge

If Mr Pence does not act, Ms Pelosi says the House could vote to impeach Mr Trump on a single charge of insurrection.

That vote could come by the end of the week.

Aides to House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who voted against recognising Mr Biden's victory, did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump supporters participate in a rally outside the White House
Thousands gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his baseless claims of election fraud during the electoral college vote count.(AP: John Minchillo)

House Democrats impeached Mr Trump in December 2019 for pressuring Ukraine to investigate Mr Biden, but the Republican-controlled Senate voted not to convict him.

Democrats' latest effort to force Mr Trump out also faces long odds of success without bipartisan support.

Only four Republican politicians have so far said publicly Mr Trump should not serve out the remaining days in his term.

The politicians who drafted the impeachment charge say they have locked in the support of at least 200 of the chamber's 222 Democrats, indicating strong odds of passage.

Mr Biden has so far not weighed in on impeachment, saying it is a matter for Congress.

Even if the House impeached Mr Trump for a second time, the Senate would not take up the charges until January 19 at the earliest, Mr Trump's last full day in office.

An impeachment trial would tie up the Senate during Mr Biden's first weeks in office, preventing the new president from installing Cabinet secretaries and acting on priorities such as coronavirus relief.

President Donald Trump listens during an event
Any conviction would bar Donald Trump from running for president again in 2024.(AP: Susan Walsh)

Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, suggested his chamber could avoid that problem by waiting several months to send the impeachment charge over to the Senate.

Mr Trump would be long gone by then, but a conviction would bar him from running for president again in 2024.

The votes also would force Mr Trump's Republicans to again defend his behaviour.

Several prominent US corporations, including Marriott International Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co, have said they will suspend donations to the nearly 150 Republicans who voted against certifying Mr Biden's victory, and more are considering that step.

Washington remains on high alert ahead of Mr Biden's inauguration.

The event traditionally draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city, but has been scaled back dramatically because of the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who will become majority leader after Mr Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris are inaugurated and the two new Democratic senators from Georgia are seated, said on Sunday the threat from violent extremist groups remained high.


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2021-01-11 10:31:00Z

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