- An FBI bulletin obtained by ABC News reporter Aaron Katersky warned that “armed protests” are expected to take place at the US Capitol and state capitols across the country leading up to Inauguration Day.
- One group is reportedly calling for “storming” local, state, and federal courthouses and buildings if Trump is removed from office before January 20.
- And the bureau also reportedly said it has “received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, DC on 16 January.”
- The development comes after President Trump incited a deadly riot at the US Capitol last week and was banned from Twitter because the company said his supporters were using his tweets to plan more violent demonstrations.
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A new FBI bulletin warns that “armed protests” are expected to take place at the US Capitol and state capitols across the country leading up to Inauguration Day.
The protests “are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” said the bulletin, which was first obtained by ABC News reporter Aaron Katersky.
Katersky tweeted that according to the bulletin, one group is calling for “storming” local, state, and federal courthouses and buildings if Trump is removed from office before Inauguration Day. And the bureau also said it has “received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, DC on 16 January.”
The group has “warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment a huge uprising will occur,” Katersky tweeted. In reality, the president’s removal via the 25th Amendment is triggered when a majority of the Cabinet and the vice president determine that he is no longer fit to remain in office.
Monday’s reporting adds another layer to Twitter’s announcement last week that it banned President Donald Trump from the platform because supporters were using his tweets to plan more potentially violent demonstrations.
“Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021,” Twitter’s statement said.
After inciting a deadly riot at the US Capitol on January 6, Trump returned to Twitter following a temporary ban and praised the 75 million “great American Patriots” who voted for him and said they “will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
In a subsequent tweet, the president said he would not be attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
Twitter said the second tweet “may also serve as encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the Inauguration would be a ‘safe’ target, as he will not be attending.”
The Pentagon said Monday that it may review troops scheduled to be deployed to Biden’s inauguration to make sure they don’t have ties to domestic terrorists. And the head of the National Guard said that at least 10,000 to 15,000 guardsmen will be sent to Washington, DC, by Saturday to support local forces leading up the Inauguration.
Last week’s riot sent shockwaves through the nation as the world watched thousands of Trump’s supporters converge on the US Capitol after being whipped into a frenzy by the president, who urged his fanatics at a rally beforehand to march to the Capitol to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power and stop Congress from finalising the 2020 election results.
The failed insurrection resulted in five deaths, including a 42-year-old Capitol Police officer who died from brain injuries sustained after Trump supporters beat him with a fire extinguisher. Additional footage and media reports that have come out since the riot indicated that it could have spiraled into a much more violent situation if Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers hadn’t been evacuated in time.
A crowd of Trump supporters were filmed shouting to “hang Mike Pence” outside the Capitol, and a Reuters photojournalist said he overheard three rioters saying they wanted to hang the vice president “from a Capitol tree.” A gallows and a noose was also set up on the grounds of the building, and some of the insurrectionists were later revealed to be active law enforcement officers and ex-military.
In the wake of the insurrection, dozens of pro-Trump rioters have been arrested on state and federal charges. Some of the notable arrests include:
- Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., a Georgia man who threatened to “put a bullet” in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
- Eric Gavelek Munchel, who was photographed roaming the Senate chamber wearing military gear and carrying zip ties used to take hostages.
- Larry Rendell Brock, a US Air Force veteran who was also seen on the Senate floor in a helmet, a bulletproof vest and carried zip ties.
- Richard “Bigo” Barnett, a self-described white nationalist who was photographed with his feet up on Pelosi’s desk after her office was broken into.
- Derrick Evans, a newly elected West Virginia state lawmaker who filmed himself swarming the Capitol with other pro-Trump rioters.
- Adam Johnson, a Florida man who was photographed carrying Pelosi’s lectern out of the Capitol.
- Jacob Angeli, a popular QAnon influencer known as QShaman who was seen on the Senate floor with red, white, and blue facepaint, a fur hat, and a spear.
Two days after the deadly riot, Twitter banned Trump from its platform, and he was blocked from posting on Facebook and Instagram as well. The far-right social media app Parler, which is popular among Trump supporters, neo-Nazis, and violent extremists, was also kicked off the Google Play app store and Apple’s App Store. The app went completely offline on Sunday night, after Amazon Web Services booted it off its cloud hosting platform.
Robbed of his massive social media megaphone, the president has been relatively silent since inciting the attempted coup at the Capitol. In the final days before he leaves office, he is set to announce a slew of last-minute pardons for his friends, family members, and potentially himself.
Congress is also on the brink of impeaching Trump for “incitement of insurrection” unless Pence and the Cabinet remove the president from power using the 25th Amendment. Pence is unlikely to do so, and the House of Representatives is set to impeach Trump later this week.