Congressional lawmakers brace for potential violence at Saturday’s “Justice for J6” rally on the United States Capitol to defend Donald Trump supporters who stormed the building on Jan.6 to protest the certification of Joe Biden as president.
Dick Durbin, the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, told reporters he was “very concerned” about a repeat of the January 6 violence.
“Given the violent tendencies of right-wing extremists who plan to attend, it is evident that this rally poses a threat to the Capitol, those who work there and the police charged with protecting our democracy,” said Tim Ryan. (D-Ohio) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Who oversee the United States Capitol Police, said in a statement.
Capitol Police on Monday arrested a man from California near the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, near the Capitol. He had several long knives in his vehicle, painted with a swastika and other symbols of white supremacy, police said. Authorities last month arrested a man who claimed to have a bomb near the Capitol.
Law enforcement officials appear to be taking the rally scheduled for this week much more seriously than the Jan.6 Trump rally near the White House that precipitated the violence on Capitol Hill, which left five dead and injured more than 140 police officers. .
The fence surrounding the Capitol that has been held for months after January 6 is expected to return before Saturday’s event. The rally will be held in Union Square on the West Lawn of the Capitol, a good distance from the building itself.
“They seemed very, very well prepared,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said on Monday after attending a briefing with Capitol Police leaders and other senior officials. of Congress.
The “Justice for J6” rally is hosted by Matt Braynard, a former Trump campaign worker. The event is billed as a demonstration of support for those arrested in the riot and a demand for “justice” for Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by a police officer as she and other Trump supporters attempted to make their way onto the floor of the House of Representatives, where members of Congress were sheltering.
Trump and his supporters attempted to martyr Babbitt, demanding to know the identity of the officer who shot her. Last month, Representative Madison Cawthorn (RN.C.) falsely referred to Babbitt and those accused of storming the Capitol on January 6 as “political hostages” and “political prisoners”. Cawthorn also predicted that another “bloodshed” would follow another “stolen” presidential election, comments that have been widely criticized for encouraging further violence.
It is not known if any Republican lawmakers will attend Saturday’s rally. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Who, along with other Republican lawmakers, opposed Biden’s election victory, told reporters on Monday he did not believe members of his conference would be present. The House is currently on vacation and is not expected to return until next week.
GOP senators did not appear interested in discussing the matter when asked about it on Monday.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Who raised his fist in front of the Capitol on Jan.6 in front of the Trump crowd and led the Senate efforts to challenge Biden’s victory, said he was more focused on the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“The country is going through a major crisis. This president has failed desperately and he has failed shamefully, ”said Hawley, calling for Biden’s resignation. “Everything else is a distraction.”
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.) said she hopes Saturday’s rally will be peaceful.
“Whenever a crowd gathers there is always a risk that something will go wrong, but I certainly hope they protest peacefully. That’s what we’re known for, ”said Capito.
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