attack on the capitol
February 25, 2021

U.S. Capitol Police will maintain "enhanced and robust" security, as militia groups tied to the deadly Jan. 6 riot reportedly discussed a desire to "blow up the Capitol."

Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman revealed these reported threats during a congressional hearing Thursday about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, in which she was asked about heightened security in the nation's capitol, including fencing and National Guard presence, per Politico.

"We know that members of the militia groups that were present on Jan. 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union," Pittman said.

Based on this, Pittman told lawmakers officials believe it's "prudent that Capitol Police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture" until "vulnerabilities" are addressed. She said, however, that "we have no intention of keeping the National Guard soldiers or that fencing any longer" than needed. Pittman also noted that the "insurrectionists that attacked the Capitol" on Jan. 6, when Congress was meeting to certify the election results, hoped to "send a symbolic message to the nation as to who was in charge of that legislative process."

Politico reports that "while authorities are aware of future attacks being discussed by the militia groups that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, it's unclear how developed or serious the intelligence around those plans may be." No date for President Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress has been set.

Pittman previously apologized in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot for "our failings," and on Thursday, she told lawmakers that officials knew there was a "likelihood for violence by extremists," though she also said that "no credible threat indicated that tens of thousands would attack the U.S. Capitol." Brendan Morrow

February 22, 2021

A Capitol Police officer is speaking out about the Jan. 6 riot in a new interview, describing feeling "scared" as "terrorists" attacked the Capitol building and fearing they would "take me out."

Officer Harry Dunn, who was at the Capitol during last month's riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump, spoke with ABC News in an interview that aired Monday, offering a harrowing account of his experience and describing how police officers "fought with these people who were prepared for a fight."

"I was scared," Dunn said. "I was absolutely scared. I'm on this platform — I'm a big guy, I'm 6'7", I'm this giant person — and we had our guns out, and I'm thinking, all these people out there, they're armed, too. And I'm like, 'I'm going to get shot. They're going to take me out.'"

At one point, Dunn told ABC he confronted a group of rioters who had "the nerve" to be carrying a Blue Lives Matter flag while there were "dozens of officers down." He also described how some of the rioters began calling him the N-word, and "everybody" in the crowd "joined in with them," with Dunn adding that there were "a large number of people in that crowd that were racists."

After the riot ended, Dunn recalled looking over the damage and reflecting on what had happened.

"I sat down with a good friend of mine, [and] I said, 'Is this America? What the hell just happened?'" Dunn said. "And I told him, 'Man, I got called [the N-word] a couple dozen times today protecting this building. Is this America? They beat police officers with Blue Lives Matter flags. They fought us, they had Confederate flags in the U.S. Capitol."

Dunn also praised Eugene Goodman, the officer who has been hailed as a hero for his actions during his riot, while noting there were "so many Eugene Goodmans that weren't caught on camera that day." Brendan Morrow

February 15, 2021

In a letter sent to House Democrats on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that a "9/11-type commission" will be established to "investigate and report on the facts and causes" behind the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Earlier this month, Pelosi said she wanted to see such a commission created. In her Monday letter, Pelosi told her colleagues it would be an "outside, independent" panel that looks at the "preparedness and response of the United States Capitol Police and other federal, state, and local law enforcement."

Following the attack, Pelosi tapped retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to investigate Capitol security needs, and she said he has found Congress should set aside funds to "provide for the safety of members and the security of the Capitol." So far, more than 200 people have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot, which left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Catherine Garcia

January 29, 2021

The FBI is seeking information from the public on a suspect alleged to have placed two pipe bombs in Washington, D.C., the night before this month's Capitol riot.

The FBI said Friday that an individual allegedly placed a pipe bomb at the Republican National Committee headquarters and another at the Democratic National Committee headquarters between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Jan 5., the night before the deadly attack on the Capitol building that left five people dead.

"The unknown individual wore a face mask, a grey hooded sweatshirt, and Nike Air Max Speed Turf shoes in yellow, black, and gray," the FBI said. "The individual carried a backpack in their hand."

According to The Washington Post, which on Friday published video of the suspect, the FBI has interviewed over 1,000 people as part of its investigation. The two bombs were discovered on the afternoon of the riot and were defused by experts, NBC News reports, but according to CNN, "it's still unknown why the devices did not explode."

Authorities are now offering an increased reward of up to $100,000, raised from $75,000, for information leading to the suspect's arrest. Brendan Morrow

January 28, 2021

In the wake of the recent deadly pro-Trump riot, the head of the U.S. Capitol Police is calling for "permanent fencing" at the Capitol.

Yogananda Pittman, acting Capitol Police chief, on Thursday argued "vast" security improvements at the Capitol must be implemented, over three weeks after a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump breached the building.

"In light of recent events, I can unequivocally say that vast improvements to the physical security infrastructure must be made to include permanent fencing, and the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol," Pittman said.

The riot at the Capitol building on Jan. 6 left five people dead, and it occurred as Congress was meeting to certify President Biden's election win. The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued a terrorism advisory bulletin warning of a "heightened threat environment across the United States," and it expressed concern that extremists may be "emboldened" by the attack on the Capitol.

Pittman's statement on Thursday came after she apologized to lawmakers earlier this week for the security "failings" surrounding the riot, acknowledging Capitol Police "should have been more prepared for this attack" and that "we knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target."

In response to Pittman's statement calling for permanent fencing, CNN's Abby Phillip on Thursday wrote that "one of the great things for D.C. residents and millions of visitors is the public space at and around the Capitol," and "it will be a sad day if that goes away." NBC News' Kasie Hunt also said that "it is worth considering what we stand to symbolically lose by putting up a permanent fence around the People's House," while The Washington Post's Mike DeBonis criticized Pittman's statement, writing, "Our elected representatives do not have to automatically do what the USCP brass demand be done in order to deflect attention from their own massive failings." Brendan Morrow

January 15, 2021

Federal prosecutors in a new court filing reportedly point to "strong evidence" that rioters who stormed the Capitol building last week aimed to "capture and assassinate elected officials."

The prosecutors included this assessment while asking a judge to detain Jacob Chansley, one of the men who was arrested and charged following the deadly Capitol riot, Reuters reports.

"Strong evidence, including Chansley's own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government," the prosecutors wrote.

Supporters of President Trump stormed the Capitol building on the day Congress was meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden's election win, leaving five people dead. Trump was subsequently impeached for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" after delivering a speech calling on his supporters to march to the Capitol building.

The prosecutors in the filing reportedly wrote that the charges against Chansley "involve active participation in an insurrection attempting to violently overthrow the United States government," adding that the "insurrection is still in progress." They also revealed that Chansley, who was photographed wearing horns at Vice President Mike Pence's desk, allegedly left a note for Pence that warned, "it's only a matter of time, justice is coming," Reuters reports.

The filing, Politico writes, "spells out clearly the government's view of an ongoing 'insurrection movement' that is reaching a potential climax as Biden's inauguration approaches." Brendan Morrow

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