Tag Archives: Capitol

Biden pledges, once more, to lead America away from dystopia

The day Joe Biden launched his presidential run, he warned that a dangerous reality was taking hold in America, one where white supremacists wrought violence in the streets, where the country was more fractured than ever, and where truth could not be distinguished from lies.

On Wednesday, having just been sworn in as president, he found himself once more issuing that warning.

A two-year journey to the White House was bookended by two of the darker chapters in modern U.S. history: the riots in Charlottesville and the insurrection at the Capitol. And, for Biden, it prompted a familiar task. Speaking before a sparsely-attended crowd, against the backdrop of a deadly pandemic and political insurrection, he pledged to act as a healer, called on the nation to band together, and pleaded for individuals to put more value in the truth.

“Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war,” Biden said. “And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.”

Biden, who entered a primary race teeming with fresh-faced Democrats, was sometimes mocked for being out of touch and not progressive enough and for holding on to the sentimental notion that politics can be a collaborative process even in an age of hyperpartisanship. Advisers say that was him avoiding the mistakes of his youth — no longer trying to fit himself into the mold of someone else (a new Kennedy, a foreign policy wiseman) but, instead, being true to his beliefs, however antiquated. In the end, they argue, that consistency and familiarity served him well. His messaging never wavered, even through his inauguration.

“The cry for survival comes from the planet itself, a cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear,” Biden said. “And now a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.”

The consistency in message also served to underscore Biden’s promise of a return to stability. Biden vowed his administration would serve as a stark contrast to the chaos and tumult of his predecessor, a president whose name Biden did not mention in his inaugural address.

“We will get through this, together. The world is watching today. So here is my message to those beyond our borders: America has been tested and we have come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again,” he said.

That the inauguration — and Biden’s speech at it — were cloaked in somberness was, perhaps, fitting given all that he has endured. His political trajectory has been filled with promise and personal tragedy. It was racial strife in his hometown of Wilmington, he said, that compelled him to leave his potentially lucrative path in law and become a public defender.

Unlike other politicians, Biden never hid the extent of his ambition. He first ran for president in 1988, only to flame out spectacularly and then run again twenty years later and flame out once more. In a memoir in advance of that latter run, he conceded that he always felt a calling to serve and a sense that he belonged among the nation’s leaders.

“From the time I was little I had a picture in my head of the sort of man I wanted to become, a picture filled in by my mom and dad, by the teachings of the Catholic schools I attended, by stories I heard about our family hero, Uncle Bosie, a pilot who was shot down in World War II, and by a faith in the size of my own future,” Biden wrote in “Promises to Keep.” “As it turned out, surprising political opportunities opened up for me when I was a young man. When they did, I was not shy about pursuing them, because I already had a picture of what I had to do—how i had to conduct myself—to take advantage of them.”

When he made it to the White House on Wednesday after his inauguration speech, he was asked how he felt. It feels, he responded “like I’m going home.”

Though often self-reflective, there was little biography in Biden’s address. Instead, his attention was both figuratively and literally directed outwards, as he looked down on a crowd that was forced to socially distance because of a raging pandemic and a capital that was transformed into a militarized zone because of the deadly insurrection weeks earlier.

He did not shy away from the reality that thousands of armed troops were roaming the streets, that tanks were cutting off intersections, that train lines had been shuttered, and that those hoping to celebrate a new day by watching in person were greeted with razor wire and seven-foot fences. Instead, he did what he did when discussing Charlottesville for his campaign launch: He addressed it head on.

“Here we stand, just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, and to drive us from this sacred ground,” Biden said. “That did not happen. It will never happen.”

The skewed history behind the alt-right’s ideology

The alt-right, QAnon, paramilitary, and Donald Trump-supporting mob that stormed the US Capitol on Jan. 6 claimed they were only doing what the so-called “founding fathers” of the US had done in 1776: overthrowing an illegitimate government that no longer represented them.

This was the start of what they called the “second American Revolution”.

This is why the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag was visible in the chaos—a symbol of resistance that dates back to the (first) American Revolution and was resurrected a decade ago by Republican Tea Party activists.

It is not hard to understand the appeal of this history to Trump’s followers. The era of the “founding fathers” has always loomed large in the minds of most Americans. And stories about the past are, after all, how individuals, families, and communities small and large, make sense of themselves.

Yet, it is worth noting these recollections of the past are necessarily selective.

The right to life, liberty—and to abolish government

Alt-right extremists, following conservative politicians, have also drawn succor from the Constitution, particularly when it comes to their “rights”, such as the right to free speech and bear arms.

These and other rights were not actually enumerated in the original Constitution, but rather tacked on in the Bill of Rights—a set of 10 amendments passed to appease opponents of the Constitution and get it ratified.

These rights are fused together with the more vague yet “unalienable” rights enunciated in the 1776 Declaration of Independence—chief among them being the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

Drawing on philosopher John Locke’s ideas, the Declaration of Independence proclaims “we the people” come together to form a government to protect these rights.

And crucial to Trump supporters today, it says,

whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.

This was the sentiment voiced on Jan. 6 when pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol. They chanted “This is our America” and “Whose house? Our house!”

Trump himself encouraged this thinking when he told the crowd before they marched to the Capitol, “You’ll never take back our country with weakness.”

The question is: who do Trump and, more broadly speaking, the alt-right think has taken the US from them?

Rights for only a select few

The answer is evident in how the alt-right imagines the past: their vision of history omits or callously ignores the fact their constitutional rights have come at the cost of the lives and rights of others.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence it was a “self-evident” truth “that all men are created equal.” Generations of enslaved and free Black activists and their allies have worked towards realizing this goal.

But for the founding fathers, and many of their white supremacist heirs, true “citizens” were exclusively white and male. A few years after penning the declaration, Jefferson denounced Black people as inferior. He owned hundreds of slaves. Even his own children, whom he fathered with Sally Hemings, were born into slavery.

Almost all of the founding fathers, in fact, were slaveholders or profited from the slave trade. Neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution freed any of the half million enslaved people in the new US—one-fifth of the population.

Rather, the Constitution purposefully entrenched the institution of slavery. By protecting the rights of slaveholders to pursue their happiness by holding on to their “property”, it doomed four more generations to enslavement.

By the start of the Civil War in 1861, there were 4 million people enslaved in the US.

The Constitution also gave the government the power to raise an army. After the American Revolution, this power was used time and again to wage a long genocidal war against Native Americans across the continent.

When enslaved and free Black people and their white abolitionist allies acted against slavery, slaveholders invoked the Revolution. They claimed they were undertaking God’s will to complete the work begun in 1776 of creating a free nation, and made slave-holding former president George Washington their hero.

It took an unprecedented and destructive Civil War to finally put an end to slavery, and another century or so for African Americans to achieve full rights as citizens in the US. Every step of the way, they were contested and blocked by individuals, groups, states, and judges who claimed they were upholding the principles of the Constitution.

Rights trump equality

It should be no surprise, then, the alt-right movement is invoking the same “Revolution” today.

After Barack Obama’s presidency, Trump gave a voice to the grievances of his largely white supporters who feared they were being displaced in their own country.

And following the summer of the Black Lives Matter movement and Trump’s baseless claims the 2020 election was stolen, the Capitol Hill insurrectionists firmly believed “they” had lost control of the US. They were no longer the “we the people” in charge.

As in the past, they also had the support of prominent politicians beyond Trump. One of their supporters, the newly elected Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (who is also a QAnon supporter) declared before the Jan. 6 move to block the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory, “This is our 1776 moment”.

And Congressman Paul Gosar, a prominent Trump supporter, wrote an op-ed entitled “Are we witnessing a coup d’etat?” in which he advised followers to “be ready to defend the Constitution and the White House”.

It has never been entirely clear when exactly the US was last great in the minds of Trump supporters wearing their “Make America Great Again” caps. It might be the Ronald Reagan presidency of the 1980s for some, or sometime prior to the civil rights, women’s and gay liberation movements and the US defeat in Vietnam.

But there’s no doubt as to when this mythical greatness started. The yearning for the founding era—a time when slaveholders overthrew a government to protect their rights (including the right to hold people as property)—is palpable.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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Author: Clare Corbould

Feds say charges over stolen Pelosi computer being prepared

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A woman accused of entering the U.S. Capitol illegally during the Jan. 6 riot will likely be charged with stealing a computer from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a federal prosecutor said in court Tuesday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson in Harrisburg said he will consider bail and that he plans to conduct a preliminary hearing on Thursday in the case of Riley June Williams.

Williams is charged with trespassing as well as violent entry of the Capitol and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors, and is being held in the county jail in Harrisburg. She spoke only briefly during the half-hour proceeding and was represented by a public defender.

Federal authorities are preparing two new felony charges of stealing government property and aiding and abetting against the Harrisburg resident, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian T. Haugsby told Carlson. Those charges have not yet been approved by a judge in Washington, he said.

The FBI has said a witness who claims to be an ex of Williams’ said friends showed that person a video of Williams taking a laptop computer or hard drive from Pelosi’s office during the breach of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.

The tipster alleged that Williams intended to send the device to a friend in Russia who planned to sell it to that country’s foreign intelligence service, but that plan fell through and she either has the device or destroyed it, investigators said in court records.

Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, confirmed two days after the Capitol attack that a laptop used only for presentations had been taken from a conference room.

Haugsby told Carlson that prosecutors in Washington intend to file two felony charges against Williams, but the documents had not yet been approved by a federal judge. Haugsby argued Williams should not be released on bail pending trial, saying she might flee or try to obstruct justice.

Carlson scheduled the preliminary hearing and consideration of bail for early Thursday morning. Williams’ lawyer, Lori Ulrich, argued for her release and against a delay.

Williams’ father, who lives in the Harrisburg suburb of Camp Hill, told local law enforcement that he and his daughter went to Washington on the day of the protest but didn’t stay together, meeting up later to return to Harrisburg, the FBI said.


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Feds say charges over stolen Pelosi computer being prepared

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A woman accused of entering the U.S. Capitol illegally during the Jan. 6 riot will likely be charged with stealing a computer from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a federal prosecutor said in court Tuesday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson in Harrisburg said he will consider bail and that he plans to conduct a preliminary hearing on Thursday in the case of Riley June Williams.

Williams is charged with trespassing as well as violent entry of the Capitol and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors, and is being held in the county jail in Harrisburg. She spoke only briefly during the half-hour proceeding and was represented by a public defender.

Federal authorities are preparing two new felony charges of stealing government property and aiding and abetting against the Harrisburg resident, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian T. Haugsby told Carlson. Those charges have not yet been approved by a judge in Washington, he said.

The FBI has said a witness who claims to be an ex of Williams’ said friends showed that person a video of Williams taking a laptop computer or hard drive from Pelosi’s office during the breach of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.

The tipster alleged that Williams intended to send the device to a friend in Russia who planned to sell it to that country’s foreign intelligence service, but that plan fell through and she either has the device or destroyed it, investigators said in court records.

Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, confirmed two days after the Capitol attack that a laptop used only for presentations had been taken from a conference room.

Haugsby told Carlson that prosecutors in Washington intend to file two felony charges against Williams, but the documents had not yet been approved by a federal judge. Haugsby argued Williams should not be released on bail pending trial, saying she might flee or try to obstruct justice.

Carlson scheduled the preliminary hearing and consideration of bail for early Thursday morning. Williams’ lawyer, Lori Ulrich, argued for her release and against a delay.

Williams’ father, who lives in the Harrisburg suburb of Camp Hill, told local law enforcement that he and his daughter went to Washington on the day of the protest but didn’t stay together, meeting up later to return to Harrisburg, the FBI said.


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Here’s How America’s Crisis Feels Too Familiar To This Immigrant Who Has Covered War

National Guard troops reinforce the security zone on Capitol Hill in Washington early Tuesday, before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president on Wednesday.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP


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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

As a former international correspondent who covered a dozen wars and revolutions, I know the signs of civil strife. And now, I see the battle lines being drawn up in my own family’s text-messaging groups, in heated email exchanges and, more chilling, in the refusal to discuss politics at all just to preserve a common bond.

My family – which is Cuban – fled communism. My mother was 21 and pregnant with her third child when she ended up in Florida in 1959 while Fidel Castro stormed Havana. My father was 23 and managed a paper route in Ft. Lauderdale to make ends meet after being dispossessed of country and home.

My parents became in some ways unmoored, moving from country to country – the United States, then Panama and England, where I was born – before returning finally to Florida. The pain of exile and the fear of political unrest defines the politics of that older generation still.

I grew up being told those stories of our exile and the tumultuous days of revolution and expulsion that predated my birth. In a way, I am the heir of a bitter legacy of political division – to this day the Cuban people remain apart, making their lives on either side of the Straits of Florida, separated by 90 nautical miles and a decades-old, bitter political conflict.

It has been stunning to watch political division come to our family again. Inflammatory messaging filled with allusions to “The Big Lie” have some believing that communism might come to American shores, that the election was rigged, that democracy cannot survive under a different political party. I have been repeatedly sent incendiary material by some of them that is demonstrably untrue. I have pleaded with them to stop spreading disinformation, to little avail, and it has caused a painful rift.

Whether in Kosovo or Venezuela, the pattern I witnessed as a journalist is the same. A nation can be divided, pitting person against person until it cracks like brittle. The first to go is always the middle ground. People and places that act as bridges between communities are frayed, and then destroyed.

In Iraq, I reported on the story of a mosque in Baghdad and of a Muslim cleric who was trying to stop the sectarian bloodletting. He was assassinated because the forces that were trying to divide the country did not want someone to bring people together. At the time, the beginning of 2006, we were still debating whether Iraq had begun its civil war, not yet fully realizing we were already well into it.

Here in Washington, D.C., as I write I can hear helicopters overhead, and there is the presence of thousands of troops encircling an area dubbed the “Green Zone” like its Iraqi counterpart that I once reported on. To be clear –Washington, D.C., is not Baghdad and yet, something deeply unsettling is happening in this country.

In most of the repressive nations I lived in or reported on, the media were also called “enemies of the people” by politicians. I have been expelled from Cuba for wanting to report on the illness of Fidel Castro in 2006. I have been confronted by mobs in both left-leaning Venezuela and authoritarian states like Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt. I have seen what happens when the very fabric of a country breaks down.

And then, during the storming of Congress, I again saw angry mobs targeting journalists – but this time, seasoned international correspondents like CNN’s Alex Marquardt had to flee from their fellow citizens.

The dehumanizing language employed by President Trump has trickled down to Americans through their living room televisions and their social media feeds. White supremacy has been unleashed; race has been weaponized. The president’s enablers in right-wing media and many Republican politicians have echoed him. As I have seen in every country in crisis I’ve covered, when a country’s people fractures like this, there are political powers that seek to profit.

For some of us immigrants, it feels eerily familiar.

Right after the election, my cousin, who is an ardent Trump supporter, was in an exchange with my brother, who is not. She cut off all contact with him and his family because they disagreed over politics. Our parents and grandparents were divided by Fidel Castro. Now Donald Trump is having the same effect on our generation.

Americans who may have believed themselves immune to the instability that plagues other countries would be wise to hear the cautionary words of their fellow citizens who have joined our democracy from those troubled regions.

A former Iraqi colleague who came to the United States as a refugee, wrote me a note: “I never imagined saying this to you in D.C., but please stay safe!” He became a citizen last year and voted for his first time in this election. We acknowledged the irony of suddenly being caught in a familiar spiral. He told me he just bought a gun, something he hadn’t owned since living in Baghdad and he found that there is an ammunition shortage.

“9 mm bullets are the new Lysol,” he quipped.

“It’s almost unreal,” he wrote. “For all the wrong reasons it suddenly looks and feels like home.”

Is America on the brink of civil conflict?

As I discovered in Iraq, if you have to ask the question, you may already know the answer.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro is host of NPR’s Weekend Edition.


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Author: Lulu Garcia-Navarro

Here’s How America’s Crisis Feels Too Familiar To This Immigrant Who Has Covered War

National Guard troops reinforce the security zone on Capitol Hill in Washington early Tuesday, before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president on Wednesday.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

As a former international correspondent who covered a dozen wars and revolutions, I know the signs of civil strife. And now, I see the battle lines being drawn up in my own family’s text-messaging groups, in heated email exchanges and, more chilling, in the refusal to discuss politics at all just to preserve a common bond.

My family – which is Cuban – fled communism. My mother was 21 and pregnant with her third child when she ended up in Florida in 1959 while Fidel Castro stormed Havana. My father was 23 and managed a paper route in Ft. Lauderdale to make ends meet after being dispossessed of country and home.

My parents became in some ways unmoored, moving from country to country – the United States, then Panama and England, where I was born – before returning finally to Florida. The pain of exile and the fear of political unrest defines the politics of that older generation still.

I grew up being told those stories of our exile and the tumultuous days of revolution and expulsion that predated my birth. In a way, I am the heir of a bitter legacy of political division – to this day the Cuban people remain apart, making their lives on either side of the Straits of Florida, separated by 90 nautical miles and a decades-old, bitter political conflict.

It has been stunning to watch political division come to our family again. Inflammatory messaging filled with allusions to “The Big Lie” have some believing that communism might come to American shores, that the election was rigged, that democracy cannot survive under a different political party. I have been repeatedly sent incendiary material by some of them that is demonstrably untrue. I have pleaded with them to stop spreading disinformation, to little avail, and it has caused a painful rift.

Whether in Kosovo or Venezuela, the pattern I witnessed as a journalist is the same. A nation can be divided, pitting person against person until it cracks like brittle. The first to go is always the middle ground. People and places that act as bridges between communities are frayed, and then destroyed.

In Iraq, I reported on the story of a mosque in Baghdad and of a Muslim cleric who was trying to stop the sectarian bloodletting. He was assassinated because the forces that were trying to divide the country did not want someone to bring people together. At the time, the beginning of 2006, we were still debating whether Iraq had begun its civil war, not yet fully realizing we were already well into it.

Here in Washington, D.C., as I write I can hear helicopters overhead, and there is the presence of thousands of troops encircling an area dubbed the “Green Zone” like its Iraqi counterpart that I once reported on. To be clear –Washington, D.C., is not Baghdad and yet, something deeply unsettling is happening in this country.

In most of the repressive nations I lived in or reported on, the media were also called “enemies of the people” by politicians. I have been expelled from Cuba for wanting to report on the illness of Fidel Castro in 2006. I have been confronted by mobs in both left-leaning Venezuela and authoritarian states like Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt. I have seen what happens when the very fabric of a country breaks down.

And then, during the storming of Congress, I again saw angry mobs targeting journalists – but this time, seasoned international correspondents like CNN’s Alex Marquardt had to flee from their fellow citizens.

The dehumanizing language employed by President Trump has trickled down to Americans through their living room televisions and their social media feeds. White supremacy has been unleashed; race has been weaponized. The president’s enablers in right-wing media and many Republican politicians have echoed him. As I have seen in every country in crisis I’ve covered, when a country’s people fractures like this, there are political powers that seek to profit.

For some of us immigrants, it feels eerily familiar.

Right after the election, my cousin, who is an ardent Trump supporter, was in an exchange with my brother, who is not. She cut off all contact with him and his family because they disagreed over politics. Our parents and grandparents were divided by Fidel Castro. Now Donald Trump is having the same effect on our generation.

Americans who may have believed themselves immune to the instability that plagues other countries would be wise to hear the cautionary words of their fellow citizens who have joined our democracy from those troubled regions.

A former Iraqi colleague who came to the United States as a refugee, wrote me a note: “I never imagined saying this to you in D.C., but please stay safe!” He became a citizen last year and voted for his first time in this election. We acknowledged the irony of suddenly being caught in a familiar spiral. He told me he just bought a gun, something he hadn’t owned since living in Baghdad and he found that there is an ammunition shortage.

“9 mm bullets are the new Lysol,” he quipped.

“It’s almost unreal,” he wrote. “For all the wrong reasons it suddenly looks and feels like home.”

Is America on the brink of civil conflict?

As I discovered in Iraq, if you have to ask the question, you may already know the answer.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro is host of NPR’s Weekend Edition.


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Author: Lulu Garcia-Navarro

What Will Jill Biden and Kamala Harris Wear? It’s an Inauguration Day Mystery

The presidential inauguration of Joe Biden will look like no other in history. The capitol is on lockdown, and the limited number of attendees face dual dangers of an ongoing pandemic and potentially violent day-of protests. It’s a day boiling with uncertainty and anxiety, but there is one thing we can rely on to cheer us up: the fashion.

WWD has reported that Ralph Lauren will dress Joe Biden for his swearing-in as 46th president; the brand would not comment to The Daily Beast’s request to confirm this rumor.

Given Lauren’s history of bipartisan styling—he outfitted Melania in Robin egg blue for Trump’s inauguration and has also dressed Hillary Clinton—it seems like a good bet for Biden. The familiar name Ralph Lauren would inject a welcome dose of tradition and decorum to an event that will be anything but predictable.

With the addition of a first female Vice President in Kamala Harris, eyes will be peeled on what she decides to wear. Though Harris tends to pare things back, preferring simple suits that keep the focus on what she says, her team deftly understands how to wield fashion for significance and symbolism. See: the white Carolina Herrera pantsuit she wore to Biden’s victory speech, which many saw as a nod to suffragettes.

Kuwait registers first cases of new virus variant

The Week

Feds arrest Capitol rioter who allegedly broke into Pelosi’s office, stole laptop, wanted to sell it to Russia

A woman who participated in the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol surrendered to authorities in Pennsylvania on Monday night, the Justice Department said. Riley Williams, 22, was charged with illegally entering the Capitol, violent entry, and disorderly conduct, but the FBI said it is also investigating a tip from the suspect’s former “romantic partner” that Williams broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the siege, stole a laptop, and “intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service.”The transfer of the laptop to Russian intelligence “fell through for unknown reasons,” the former partner, identified only as Witness 1, told the FBI, “and Williams still has the computer device or destroyed it.” Williams was captured on video urging fellow rioters to go upstairs in the Capitol, toward Pelosi’s office, the FBI said. Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, confirmed after the siege that “a laptop from a conference room was stolen,” but said “it was a laptop that was only used for presentations.”Williams lived with her mother, who identified her as the woman in an ITV video of the Capitol raid, the FBI said. The mother also told authorities that her daughter had taken a sudden interest in President Trump’s politics and “far-right message boards.” Williams had traveled to the pre-riot protest with her father, but he said they were separated before the Capitol siege, the FBI said, and after they returned to Pennsylvania, Williams deleted her social media accounts, changed her phone number, and fled.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump’s 2nd impeachment Melania Trump released a farewell video. So did Colbert’s Late Show Melania Trump. Anthony Scaramucci says even he got an invite to Trump’s D.C. sendoff


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Man allegedly threatened to shoot children if they turned him in for Capitol riots

When asked if he thinks Capitol stormer Guy Reffitt is dangerous, his son replied, ‘I don’t really know him anymore.’

A Texas man allegedly threatened to shoot his own children if they turned him in for his participation in the deadly insurrection in the U.S. Capitol Building.

Guy Reffitt, 48, told his family he participated in storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, but upon learning he was wanted by the FBI, he warned them against turning him in.

Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, a mob that eventually stormed the Capitol, breaking windows and clashing with police officers, killing one. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)
Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, a mob that eventually stormed the Capitol, breaking windows and clashing with police officers, killing one. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

“If you turn me in, you’re a traitor, and you know what happens to traitors … traitors get shot,” Reffitt said to his son and daughter, according to a statement from his wife.

Upon his arrest on Saturday, Reffitt was charged with obstruction of justice for the threats he made against his family members. He was also charged with unlawful entry into the Capitol Building.

Guy Reffitt, pictured during the Capitol siege, believed the false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen espoused by outgoing President Donald Trump, Reffitt’s son told authorities. (FBI)
Guy Reffitt, pictured during the Capitol siege, believed the false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen espoused by outgoing President Donald Trump, Reffitt’s son told authorities. (FBI)

Reffitt is an oil worker who allegedly has ties to right-wing extremist groups and militia groups. His wife identified him as a member of the Three Percenters, a right-wing movement that believes only three percent of colonists fought the British during the Revolutionary War, making them “true” patriots.

He was seen in video footage from several news outlets, clips in which he’s dressed in a tactical-style vest and wearing a GoPro camera on a black helmet. Federal agents used cellphone tracking data to affirm that Reffitt was indeed inside the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Read More: Don Lemon: Trump used race to divide us from the very beginning

His 18-year-old son, Jackson, told agents his father told him and his younger sister to erase footage from the helmet camera. He also told him that if he “crossed the line and reported Reffitt to the police, putting the family in jeopardy, Reffitt would have no option but to do Reffitt’s duty for Reffitt’s country, and ‘do what he had to do,’ ” the affidavit says.

He also allegedly told his daughter that if she posted about him on social media, he would “put a bullet through” her phone.

Read More: Trump expected to pardon Lil Wayne this week: report

Reffitt’s son told a local television station his father believed the false, court-rejected claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen espoused by outgoing President Donald Trump.

Of his relationship with his father, Jackson Reffitt said, “I love him, but I hate him.” The young man, who defines himself as “liberal,” said he thinks Trump manipulated his family.

When asked if he thinks his father is dangerous, he replied, “I don’t really know him anymore.”

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