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More police on Capitol Hill test positive for coronavirus after riot.

At least 19 Capitol Police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus or have been discovered by contact tracing to have been exposed since a crowd of Trump supporters – most of them not wearing masks – attacked the Capitol on January 6, according to three people familiar with the matter.

These are the latest additions to a growing number of people infected since the deadly riot on Capitol Hill. Seven members of Congress have tested positive since the attack; some House Democrats have singled out their fellow Republicans who did not wear masks as they took shelter from rioters and forced into hiding for hours.

One of the people, who was not authorized to speak officially on internal departmental matters, said Capitol Police officers were receiving rapid coronavirus tests to help determine which other officers may have contracted the virus. headquarters of the Capitol.

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More police on Capitol Hill test positive for coronavirus after riot.

At least 19 Capitol Police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus or have been discovered by contact tracing to have been exposed since a crowd of Trump supporters – most of them not wearing masks – attacked the Capitol on January 6, according to three people familiar with the matter.

These are the latest additions to a growing number of people infected since the deadly riot on Capitol Hill. Seven members of Congress have tested positive since the attack; some House Democrats have singled out their fellow Republicans who did not wear masks as they took shelter from rioters and forced into hiding for hours.

One of the people, who was not authorized to speak officially on internal departmental matters, said Capitol Police officers were receiving rapid coronavirus tests to help determine which other officers may have contracted the virus. headquarters of the Capitol.

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The Justice Department charges militia members, including former combatants, in the attack on Capitol Hill.

The Justice Department has indicted alleged members of the Three Percenters, a militia that emerged a few years ago from the extremist wing of the gun rights movement, and the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia founded by the law enforcement and military veterans. , as it seeks to determine whether extremist groups conspired to attack Congress.

The charges include illegal entry, assault on a federal agent, disorderly conduct, destruction of federal property, obstructing formal proceedings and obstructing justice.

On Sunday evening, Donovan Crowl, 50, former US Navy, and Jessica Watkins, 38, army veteran, surrendered to authorities in Ohio after posting photos of themselves on social media bearing equipment and saying they stormed the Capitol on January 6 in order to prevent Congress from certifying the victory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The FBI said Ms Watkins’ group was a unit of the Oath Keepers and that she and Mr Donovan wore Oath Keepers badges.

Recent arrests of veterans and ex-police officers underscore the Justice Department’s fear that some of the attackers may have been part of more coordinated efforts to attack Congress and that they used specialist assault skills . Videos and photos have revealed spooky scenes of rioters in tactical gear sneaking through crowds inside the Capitol in tight formation, wearing tactical gear, wearing restraints and using hand signals to communicate.

Michael R. Sherwin, the acting US attorney in Washington, said on Friday his prosecutors were working to create more serious sedition and murder cases against these groups if the evidence permitted, and that to focus on members militias and other extremists would be a top priority. .

“All of these extremist groups are being looked at in terms of participation on Capitol Hill,” said Sherwin.

Federal prosecutors also exposed the charges this weekend against Robert Gieswein, 24, of Woodland Park, Colo., Who they say is affiliated with the Three Percenters. The name of the group refers to the alleged three percent of the American colonial population who rose up to fight against the British military.

Mr Gieswein, who heads a private paramilitary training group called the Woodland Wild Dogs, was among the first wave of invaders to enter the building, court documents show. Photographs of the attack show him dressed in a military-style vest, goggles and helmet, struggling with Capitol Hill police officers to remove metal barricades and wielding a baseball bat. In a criminal complaint, prosecutors cite a video that shows Mr Gieswein encouraging other rioters as they smash a window on the Capitol with a plank of wood and a plastic shield, then climb through the broken glass into the building .

The FBI also arrested Guy Wesley Reffitt of Texas and charged him with obstruction on Saturday. The FBI said he was with the Texas Freedom Force, an extremist militia group, while Mr Reffitt’s wife said he was a member of the Three Percenters.

The deadly attack on Capitol Hill is expected to be a “major engine of violence” for armed militias and racist extremists in the days to come, federal officials said in recently released intelligence bulletins.

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How Republicans are twisting the reality around the attack on Capitol Hill

Rep. Peter Meijer, a Republican freshman who voted to impeach Mr. Trump, said in an interview with The Daily, the New York Times audio podcast, that the prevalence of false news among the grassroots had created ” two worlds ”among Republicans in Congress. – one which is based on reality and another based on conspiracy.

“The world that said it was actually a landslide victory for Donald Trump, but everything was stolen and changed and the votes were reversed and the Dominion’s voting systems,” Meijer said, describing what ‘he called it a “feverish swamp of conspiracy theories.”

In a video press conference Friday, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina also made a direct appeal to Republicans still in doubt. “Biden actually won,” he says. “The election was not rigged.”

Their words, contrasted with Mr. Trump’s message and that of many supporters, highlight a challenge for the Republican Party. Rioters have targeted law enforcement personnel, members of Congress and even Vice President Mike Pence. However, much of the party’s base and many of its leaders at local and state levels remain loyal to Mr. Trump.

Another Republican who supported impeachment, Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina, admitted in an interview with The Associated Press that he was likely to face a top GOP challenger in his 2022 re-election effort in because of his vote – a threat to the other nine Republicans who voted for impeachment will likely also face.

“FIRST GOP Primary Challenger Announces Michigan Race Against Freshman Rep. Meijer – One Of 10 GOP Turncoats,” read a headline on Gateway Pundit, the right-wing and often-conspiratorial media that has built up influence among Mr. Trump.

Reached by email, site founder Jim Hoft did not respond to questions but sent several of his own press articles related to allegations of Antifa’s involvement in the Capitol attack – citing the case a man named John Sullivan, who had the right -wing media dubbed an “Antifa leader” in his efforts to prove his infiltration theory. He was the same man cited by Mr. Giuliani in tweets that threatened “to expose and place total blame on John and the 226 Antifa members who caused the ‘riot’ on Capitol Hill.”

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Attack on Capitol Hill could fuel extremist recruitment for years, experts warn

“Luck may be needed in Civil War II,” Larry Rendell Brock Jr., a Texas accused in connection with the attack, wrote on Facebook in the days leading up to the events in Washington, according to federal prosecutors. Mr Brock had aspired to take hostages, prosecutors said, and tagged the post with the names of two anti-government groups.

At least two prominent activists involved in the Charlottesville rally in 2017 were also present at the Capitol riots, according to Amy Spitalnick, executive director of Integrity First for America, a nonprofit group supporting a Charlottesville violence lawsuit .

One of them was Nicholas J. Fuentes, 22, a far-right agitator whose online rants in favor of white nationalism and attacks on Jews and LGBT people drew significant audiences among students. His supporters, waving flags bearing the logo of his America First organization, were seen storming the Capitol. Mr. Fuentes, in one video, hailed the assault for being more cheeky than any Black Lives Matter or anti-fascist protest, although it appears to have stayed on the outside.

“We forced a joint session of Congress and the Vice President to evacuate because Trump supporters knocked and then made it through the doors,” he exclaimed.

Lindsay Schubiner, program director at the Western States Center which focuses on combating white nationalism, said it was frightening to see the rise of far-right groups in recent years that present dangers to people of color and LGBTQ communities. Without major disruption, she expects extremist groups to remain a risk to the country’s public safety and democracy for years to come.

“It’s not something that can be put back into the bottle – at least not quickly or easily,” Ms. Schubiner said.

The attack on Capitol Hill was likely to become “a major driver of violence for a diverse set of domestic violent extremists,” a range of government agencies said in a joint intelligence bulletin released on January 13. The storming of the building, several analysts said, could fuel a dangerous retaliation against the new Biden administration and its agenda on gun control, racial justice, public lands and other issues by extremists who are not afraid to use violence to fight their way.

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Some lawmakers say they don’t feel safe because of the behavior of their colleagues during the siege on Capitol Hill.

Ms Pressley echoed Ms Ocasio-Cortez, write on twitter that she didn’t feel safe with some lawmakers.

“The second I realized that our ‘safe room’ from the violent white supremacist mob included treacherous, white supremacist, anti-mask members of Congress who were inciting the crowd in the first place, I walked out,” he said. Mrs Pressley said.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Ms. Pressley are both members of “The Squad,” a group of four progressive women of color in Congress. They have been verbally attacked by the Conservatives and the President for their policies.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, Republican of Colorado, drew criticism from Democrats for tweet about the location of President Nancy Pelosi during the attack, despite reports that lawmakers were instructed by security officials not to reveal their whereabouts. Ms. Boebert subsequently dismissed the gravity of his actions.

“They accuse me of having tweeted live the presence of the speaker after she was safely evicted from the Capitol, as if I was revealing a big secret, when in fact this withdrawal was also being broadcast to television, ”Ms. Boebert said in a statement. Monday.

In the week leading up to the Capitol siege, Ms Boebert, an ardent gun rights activist, posted an ad stating that she would take her Glock with her on the streets of Washington, including on her way to work. . On her way to the House chamber for the impeachment vote on Wednesday, Ms Boebert caused a spectacle as she pushed her way through metal detectors, which were installed as part of heightened security measures after the attack , and ignoring the police who asked him to stop. .

Ms Boebert and other freshman Republicans, such as Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene and North Carolina’s Madison Cawthorn, have questioned or outright flouted guidelines designed to protect lawmakers from violence, intruders or the coronavirus.

“I didn’t know if I was going to make it to the end of this day alive,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said during her livestream. “Not just in a general sense, but also in a very, very specific sense.”

Luke broadwater contribution to reports.

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Trump posts a video berating the violence on Capitol Hill but doesn’t mention his role in setting it up.

Hours after becoming the first president to be impeached twice, President Trump posted on the White House’s Twitter account Wednesday evening a video condemning the assault on the Capitol complex by his supporters last week and urged his supporters supporters to avoid a repeat in days here in Washington and across the country. “

Mr Trump recorded the video under pressure from assistants, who warned him that he risked being exposed to justice for the riot, which occurred immediately after a speech in which he urged them to “ fight ” the election results, which he falsely claimed. has been stolen.

The president did not mention his own role in inciting violence last week. On Tuesday, he defended remarks he made at a rally before his supporters marched to Capitol Hill as “entirely appropriate” and said Congress’ efforts to impeach and condemn him “were causing a enormous anger ”.

He also did not acknowledge the loss of life or his own false claims that the election was stolen in the two months leading up to the rally last week.

The video came shortly after Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, made it clear in a statement that he was prepared to vote to condemn the president for the article of impeachment – a radical departure from a year ago, when Mr McConnell whipped his fellow senators against a conviction in the president’s first impeachment trial. Just before the House called him Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump issued a statement to his supporters calling on Americans to “ease tensions and calm the spirits.”

In the video, the president did not mention the five people who died as a result of the violence on the Capitol. But he’s gone further in his language than at any time, as law enforcement braces for new insurgencies in Washington and across the country next week.

“As I said, the US Capitol’s incursion has struck at the very heart of our Republic,” said Mr. Trump, his most forceful statement after a few attempts that gave his followers a fig leaf this week. last. “It has angered and dismayed millions of Americans from all political walks of life.”

“I want to be very clear,” he continued. “I unequivocally condemn the violence we experienced last week. Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement. Making America great again has always been about upholding the rule of law ”and supporting law enforcement officials.

During the riot of his supporters, a Capitol Police officer sustained serious head injuries and later died.

As a candidate in 2016, Mr. Trump once encouraged rally attendees to physically attack protesters. But in Wednesday’s video, he said that “the mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. None of my true supporters will ever be able to endorse political violence. “

“If you do any of these things, you don’t support our movement, you attack it and you attack our country,” he said. “We cannot tolerate it.”

On reports of further protests next week, Mr. Trump said: “There must be no violence, no violation of the law, or vandalism of any kind.

Michael gold contribution to reports.

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Travel companies suspend donations to certain legislators after violence on Capitol Hill

Marriott International Inc. and Airbnb are among other major corporations that are withholding political donations to lawmakers who voted against the certification of President-elect Joe Biden.

“We have taken into consideration the destructive events on Capitol Hill to undermine a legitimate and fair election and we will pause political donations from our Political Action Committee to those who voted against the election certification,” said the Marriott spokeswoman. , Connie Kim, in a statement.

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The decision comes after Marriott CEO Arne Sorensen condemned the violence on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021.

“I recognize that we have associates who have very different views on the outcome of this election and the direction of the United States,” Sorenson wrote in an open letter on the Marriott website. “We serve guests who also have a wide range of opinions and perspectives. In the United States, we can use our voice and our vote to share our opinions. But what we cannot do is trample on the Constitution; we cannot use violence and terror. to force an agenda. It’s not who we are, and I would say it’s not what the vast majority of Americans want. “

Airbnb is also taking action. The company released a statement on the political action committee donations that read as follows:

“We have taken into consideration destructive events on Capitol Hill to undermine a legitimate and fair election and will pause political donations from our Political Action Committee to those who voted against the election certification,” said the spokeswoman for Marriott, Connie Kim.

Other major corporations have taken similar actions, including the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Microsoft, and Facebook.

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Pentagon to arm National Guard troops deploying to Capitol Hill for inauguration

WASHINGTON – National Guard troops flocking to Washington to secure the Capitol for inauguration day will be armed, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy ruled, Defense Department officials said on Tuesday.

Armed troops will be responsible for security around the Capitol building complex, officials said.

As up to 15,000 troops continued to arrive in Washington from across the country, Defense Department officials questioned whether to deploy them with weapons. Mr McCarthy has ruled that at least people around the Capitol building will carry weapons, officials said, who upheld the decision on condition of anonymity.

Mr McCarthy’s decision came after a meeting with President Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. Ms Pelosi, according to congressional staff, demanded that the Pentagon adopt a more muscular posture after a crowd, encouraged by President Trump last week, violated the Capitol.

Pentagon officials say they are deeply concerned about the protests planned for the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. next week. About 16 groups – some of them saying they will be armed and most made up of extremist supporters of Mr. Trump – have registered to stage protests in Washington, officials said.

A defense ministry official said law enforcement predicted a series of outcomes, including a worst-case scenario in which people with guns tried to attack dignitaries, “suicide-type planes” attempt to fly in the capital’s restricted airspace and even remotely- controlled drones that could be used to attack crowds.

While these scenarios are among the most extreme, officials said they were particularly concerned about the possibility of multiple and violent confrontations, including with guns, that would erupt simultaneously around the inaugural dignitaries.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a letter to Mr. Trump on Sunday requesting a declaration of emergency in order to secure additional funding for the security of the inauguration.

“In light of the attack on Capitol Hill and information suggesting that further violence is likely during the inaugural period, my administration has reassessed our readiness for the inauguration, including requesting the extension of support from the DC National Guard until January 24, 2021, ”Ms. Bowser wrote.

Defense Department officials said the White House approved the decision to arm some of the National Guard troops coming to Washington for security. Pentagon officials have stressed that the National Guard – not active-duty military troops – will be assigned to these tasks.

Defense Department officials said even National Guard troops who were not directly supporting the Capitol complex, but were stationed elsewhere in the Washington area, would not be far from their weapons.

“We want our individuals to have the right to self-defense,” General Daniel R. Hokanson, head of the National Guard bureau, said on Monday at a press conference call. “If senior management determines that this is the right posture, then this is something we will do.”

All National Guard troops that come to Washington, he said, bring their weapons with them.

The National Guard is expected to officially announce the arming of part of the troops on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. The decision matters because in the past federal and local officials have avoided militarizing the Capitol.

But the riots last week highlighted the potential dangers lawmakers and, potentially, the next president, face from supporters of Mr. Trump, who has continued to falsely claim that he, not Mr. Biden, had won the election.

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Military leaders remind troops of their oath after fallout from assault on Capitol Hill

Illinois Democrat Senator Tammy Duckworth on the Armed Services Committee this week asked Acting Defense Secretary Christopher C. the deadly mob.

Ms Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq war, said retired members of the US armed forces remained subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The events of the past week did not appear to accelerate the momentum on Tuesday for Mr Biden to quickly confirm his choice for Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III as his team had hoped. General Austin, a retired four-star Army general, will need a Congressional waiver to fulfill this role, as is required for any Pentagon chief who has retired from active military service for less than seven years. (The general, who would be the country’s first black defense secretary, retired in 2016.)

During a hearing on the subject at a Senate armed services committee on Tuesday, a majority of lawmakers on both sides questioned the process, arguing that the exception that was made four years ago for the former President Trump’s Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a retired four-star naval officer, was once too many.

“This is a very deep and difficult question,” said Senator Angus King, Independent from Maine. “General Austin is well qualified,” Mr. King said, “but on the other hand, the very idea of ​​civilian control of the military is a fundamental part of what it was.

The note from the chiefs of staff, however, left no doubt about the military leadership’s support for civilian control. He urged troops to reject extremism and condemned efforts by Trump supporters to overturn the Electoral College tally in the chaos of last week.

“The violent riot in Washington, DC,” the memo reads, “was a direct attack on the US Congress, the Capitol building, and our constitutional process. We mourn the deaths of the two Capitol Hill police officers and others linked to these unprecedented events.