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DC, statehouses urgently beef up security as potential for violence looms ahead of inauguration

 

After the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, law enforcement and elected officials are bracing for the potential of more violence across the United States.

Groups tracking right-wing extremist organizations have said preparations for more violence are underway, and the FBI was warning of possible armed protests at state capitol buildings beginning Jan. 17 and through the inauguration, an official with knowledge of a bulletin told USA TODAY.

The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said authorities also have been circulating a poster publicizing the events with the words, "When democracy is destroyed refused to be silenced." The poster for Jan. 17 calls for "ARMED MARCH ON CAPITOL HILL & ALL STATE CAPITOLS."

At least five people, including a Capitol Police officer and a woman who was fatally shot by police, died Wednesday after a mob incited by President Donald Trump attacked the Capitol while Congress was meeting to certify the election results for President-elect Joe Biden. 
Democrats have called for Trump's removal in the wake of the violence pushing Vice President Mike Pence to trigger the 25th Amendment and introducing a new impeachment article against the president.

What is the Insurrection Act? And how could Trump use it? Here's what to know

While it remains unclear how many people will show up for these protests, "people don't have the luxury to downplay it," said Oren Segal, vice president of the ADL Center on Extremism. "People don't have the luxury to ignore it."

"The president hasn't backed down on the concept that this a stolen election," he said. "Narratives like that, of something being taken away from you, are so powerful."

Capitol Police have faced sharp criticism for its response to the riots last week, prompting the resignation of Chief Steven Sund. He told The Washington Post that he requested the National Guard be placed on standby in the days before the riot, but House and Senate security officials turned him down.
On Monday, district Mayor Muriel Bowser asked Americans not to come to Washington for Biden's inauguration, fearing violence and the spread of COVID-19.

"Our goals right now are to encourage Americans to participate virtually and to protect the District to Columbia from a repeat of the violent insurrection experienced at the Capitol and its grounds on Jan. 6," Bowser said at a news conference.

Bowser said her administration requested the federal government declare a pre-emergency disaster declaration. In a letter to acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, Bowser also asked that the department extend the period for special security for the inauguration to include Monday through Jan. 24.

Wolf said in a statement Monday that he instructed the U.S. Secret Service to begin the the special security event period on Wednesday, instead of Jan. 19, citing "events of the past week and the evolving security landscape."

Bowser said she encouraged the department to coordinate with the Justice and Defense departments, Congress and the Supreme Court on a plan to protect federal property. The district's police department would focus on the areas it has jurisdiction over in the rest of the city, she added.

Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the national Guard Bureau, said Monday that there will be 10,000 National Guard troops in Washington on Jan. 20 for the inauguration. An additional 5,000 troops could be called up if needed, he added.

Bowser also said she requested that the Department of the Interior, which oversees the National Park Service, cancel and deny any public gathering permits through Jan. 24.
Nicholas Goodwin, a spokesperson for the Department of Interior, told USA TODAY that the department was in regular communication with the mayor's office and that the secretary would be talking with Bowser on Monday.

According to the National Park Service's list of First Amendment, Special Event and inauguration permit applications that it has received through the end of January, only one permit, which was still being processed, was explicitly pro-Trump.

The applicant, "Let America Hear Us, Roar For Trump," requested space around the White House for an expected 300 participants, arriving Jan. 18 and leaving Jan 20. Under the heading "purpose of proposed activity," the group listed "Inauguration Day, to support our President. 1st Amendment Rights Gathering."

'It could have been much, much worse':Video, witness accounts reveal darker intent of some Capitol rioters

Elsewhere around the U.S., state capitals were beefing up security amid concerns of potential violence.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee activated hundreds of National Guard troops to help state police near its Capitol. State patrol SWAT officers were at Georgia's Capitol on Monday. Idaho locked doors to its House and Senate chambers as state troopers sat at the entrances. In Michigan, a state commission voted Monday to ban the open carrying of weapons in the Capitol building.

In its warning to local authorities, the FBI described evidence of credible threats related to events planned for Jan. 17 at the state Capitol buildings in Michigan and Minnesota, Yahoo News reported.

Yahoo News reported that it had obtained an FBI document produced by the Minneapolis field office based on information provided by “collaborative sources” issued a week before a mob of Trump supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol. The document focused on rallies planned by the far-right "boogaloo movement."
The report warned that “some followers indicated willingness to commit violence in support of their ideology, created contingency plans in the event violence occurred at the events, and identified law enforcement security measures and possible countermeasures.”

"They have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment a huge uprising will occur," ABC News reported the FBI bulletin as saying. Courthouses and administrative buildings were also potential targets, ABC News reported.

More:Startled by US Capitol attack, local police review plans, increase local security

Democrats officially introduce impeachment article: Republican forces vote on 25th Amendment resolution

ADL, formerly known as the Anti-Defamation League, said last Thursday that extremists' preparations were taking place on social media forums, including Twitter and YouTube, and on fringe forums popular with extremists.

“Reminder that the U.S. Presidential Inauguration day is on January 20th. That is the next date on the calendar that the Pro-Trump and other nationalist crowds will potentially converge on the Capitol again,” a white supremacist Telegram channel posted.

On Wimkin, another platform, a group calling itself “Million Militia March” issued this call: “IF OUR COUNTRY DIES on 1/20, it won’t be the only thing that dies. President Trump will die, they will hang him, if not by a rope they will end him in some way. Don Jr. too. Eric too. Ivanka. Barron. The First Lady. They will not leave ANY Trump free to avenge what they have done to their father. THEY FOUGHT FOR US. What are WE going to DO?”
Segal, of the ADL, said that many of the plans for the Jan. 6 mob were similarly happening in plain sight, calling it "the most predictable terrorist incident in modern American history."

However, what happened Jan. 6 was not just the plotting of extremist groups, Segal said. Many average Americans who believe in the narrative of a stolen election took part, too, after Trump called on his supporters to come to the district, he said.

Election security experts, state officials, judges and independent observers across the U.S. have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

"Even if we have relative quiet," in the coming weeks, Segal said, "this is something that this country is going to be dealing with for a long time." 

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Muzzled on Twitter, Trump rails against the platform the old fashioned way

President Trump railed against Twitter Friday night, blasting the social media giant for “banning free speech” and hinting that he “will have a big announcement soon” in which he’ll designate some other platform to carry his messages.

“We will not be SILENCED!” he said — resorting to an old-fashioned press release to get the statement out.

“Twitter is not about FREE SPEECH,” he wrote.

“They are all about promoting a Radical Left Platform where some of the most vicious people in the world are allowed to speak freely.”

Trump had to release the statement directly to reporters covering the White House.

Earlier Friday, Twitter banned his civilian, @RealDonaldTrump account entirely.

And when he tried to issue Friday night’s statement on his government @POTUS account, Twitter censored it, while leaving the account online.

Muzzled on one account and censored on the other, Trump’s statement lasted about the length of three of his formerly beloved tweets:
“As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me — and YOU, the 75,000,000 great patriots who voted for me. Twitter may be a private company, but without the government’s gift of Section 230 they would not exist for long.

“I predicted this would happen. We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future. We will not be SILENCED!

“Twitter is not about FREE SPEECH. They are all about promoting a Radical Left platform where some of the most vicious people in the world are allowed to speak freely.

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Democratic congressman says US justice system — which 'feasts on black folks' — should treat Trump, Republican lawmakers like 'negroes'

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) said he believes that President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers supporting his bid to dispute the results of the 2020 presidential election should be treated like "negroes" have been treated by the criminal justice system in the United States.
Those lawmakers, according to Johnson, include Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Josh Hawley (Mo).

He also said that the Democratic Party ought not turn the other cheek to the perceived misdeeds of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party at large.

What is he talking about?
According to a Tuesday report from Mediaite, Johnson made the inflammatory race-related remarks Monday on SiriusXM's "The Dean Obeidallah Show."

Obeidallah told Johnson that he believed it would be "detrimental to our party" that for the sake of unity, the Biden administration simply said, "'Trump did some bad things, but look forward.'"

"It would be so destructive to our party if that is the way we go," he added.
Johnson responded, "You can't let this behavior slide, you can't ignore it and hope that it's not going to happen again. You see what's shaping up for the future with guys like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz who are looking to turn the Trump Republican Party into the Trump Republican Party on steroids."

The Georgia Democrat added that conservative Republican lawmakers will be certain to quickly learn that they "will not be allowed to get away with what Donald Trump did."

"We have got to make sure that those who come after Donald Trump know that they will not be allowed to get away with what Donald Trump did, that they will be held accountable," he insisted. "They will be treated, yes, like 'negroes' — they will be perp-walked to the jail, handcuffed not in front of them, but behind them. They will be booked, fingerprinted, have to make bond, and have to hire a lawyer just like everyone else and go through the system."

Johnson explained that the U.S. justice system "feasts on black folks."

"[F]or once it needs to turn its attention to what this man has done to turn our country into something that we just don't need to let it get to," he explained. "He can't be allowed to get away with it because if we allow him to get away with it, there will be others who will try to do the same thing, and we don't even want them to think about doing what Trump has done."

What's a brief history on his remarks?
Johnson's remarks come on the heels of introducing a resolution to censure Trump over his call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

The president in recent days has come under fire for a recently published phone call with Raffensperger.

In a reported hourlong phone call, Trump appeared to repeatedly urge the Georgia secretary of state to "find" enough votes to help reverse the state's election results.

In the measure, Johnson has called on Trump to "retract and disavow this unlawful and unconstitutional behavior" and to recognize President-elect Joe Biden as winner of the 2020 presidential election.

"President Trump's actions and statements on this call demonstrate an attempt to willfully deprive the citizens of Georgia of a fair and impartial election process in direct contravention of both federal law and the laws of the state of Georgia," Johnson's resolution added.

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Nashville Christmas bomber showed interest in 'lizard people' conspiracy theories, sources say


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Sources familiar with the Nashville bomb investigation told ABC News that authorities are looking into evidence that Anthony Quinn Warner was interested in various conspiracy theories, including some involving "lizard people."

The lizard or reptilian conspiracy theory involves a belief that shape-shifting reptilian creatures appear in human form and are bent on world domination.

Warner, authorities believe, also spent time hunting for alien life forms in a nearby state park.

It is unclear if any of these beliefs or behaviors are connected in any way to the bombing.

This is a breaking news update. A previous version of this report is below.

In the days before he detonated a bomb in downtown Nashville on Christmas, Anthony Quinn Warner changed his life in ways that suggest he never intended to survive the blast that killed him and wounded three other people.

Warner, 63, gave away his car, telling the recipient that he had cancer. A month before the bombing, he signed a document that transferred his longtime home in a Nashville suburb to a California woman for nothing in return. The computer consultant told an employer that he was retiring.

But he didn't leave behind a clear digital footprint or any other obvious clues to explain why he set off the explosion in his parked recreational vehicle or played a message warning people to flee before it damaged dozens of buildings and knocked out cellphone service in the area.

While investigators tried to piece together a possible motive for the attack, a neighbor recalled a recent conversation with Warner that seemed ominous only in hindsight.

Rick Laude told The Associated Press on Monday that he saw Warner standing at his mailbox less than a week before Christmas and pulled over in his car to talk. After asking how Warner's elderly mother was doing, Laude said he casually asked him, "Is Santa going to bring you anything good for Christmas?"

Warner smiled and said, "Oh, yeah, Nashville and the world is never going to forget me," Laude recalled.

Laude said he didn't think much of the remark and thought Warner only meant that "something good" was going to happen for him financially. He was speechless when he learned that authorities had identified Warner as the bomber.

"Nothing about this guy raised any red flags," Laude said.
As investigators continued to search for a motive, body camera video released late Monday by Nashville police offered more insight into the moments leading up to the explosion and its aftermath.

The recording from Officer Michael Sipos' camera captures officers walking past the RV parked across the street as the recorded warning blares and then helping people evacuate after the thunderous blast off camera. Car alarms and sirens wail as a police dispatch voice calls for all available personnel and people stumble through downtown streets littered with glass.

David Rausch, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said authorities hope to establish a motive but sometimes simply cannot.

"The best way to find motive is to talk to the individual. We will not be able to do that in this case," Rausch said Monday in an interview on NBC's "Today" show.

Investigators are analyzing Warner's belongings collected during the investigation, including a computer and a portable storage drive, and continue to interview witnesses as they try to identify a potential motive, a law enforcement official said. A review of his financial transactions also uncovered purchases of potential bomb-making components, the official said.
Warner had recently given away a vehicle and told the person he gave it to that he had been diagnosed with cancer, though it is unclear whether he indeed had cancer, the official said. Investigators used some items collected from the vehicle, including a hat and gloves, to match Warner's DNA, and DNA was taken from one of his family members, the official said.

The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Warner also apparently gave away his home in Antioch, Tennessee, to a Los Angeles woman a month before the bombing. A property record dated Nov. 25 indicates Warner transferred the home to the woman in exchange for no money. The woman's signature is not on that document.

Warner had worked as a computer consultant for Nashville real estate agent Steve Fridrich, who told the AP in a text message that Warner had said he was retiring earlier this month.

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Nashville Christmas bomber showed interest in 'lizard people' conspiracy theories, sources say
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Keyon Harrold and his son -- along with mother Kat Harrold and attorney Ben Crump -- speak out after they say a woman attacked the Black 14-year-old, accusing him of stealing her phone.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Sources familiar with the Nashville bomb investigation told ABC News that authorities are looking into evidence that Anthony Quinn Warner was interested in various conspiracy theories, including some involving "lizard people."

The lizard or reptilian conspiracy theory involves a belief that shape-shifting reptilian creatures appear in human form and are bent on world domination.

Warner, authorities believe, also spent time hunting for alien life forms in a nearby state park.

It is unclear if any of these beliefs or behaviors are connected in any way to the bombing.

This is a breaking news update. A previous version of this report is below.

In the days before he detonated a bomb in downtown Nashville on Christmas, Anthony Quinn Warner changed his life in ways that suggest he never intended to survive the blast that killed him and wounded three other people.

Warner, 63, gave away his car, telling the recipient that he had cancer. A month before the bombing, he signed a document that transferred his longtime home in a Nashville suburb to a California woman for nothing in return. The computer consultant told an employer that he was retiring.

But he didn't leave behind a clear digital footprint or any other obvious clues to explain why he set off the explosion in his parked recreational vehicle or played a message warning people to flee before it damaged dozens of buildings and knocked out cellphone service in the area.

WATCH: Nashville PD releases body cam footage from Christmas Day blast

In the video above, officers are seen telling people in the downtown area to "get out" moments before the explosion occurred. One officer even said the audio recording sounded like something "from a movie."

While investigators tried to piece together a possible motive for the attack, a neighbor recalled a recent conversation with Warner that seemed ominous only in hindsight.

Rick Laude told The Associated Press on Monday that he saw Warner standing at his mailbox less than a week before Christmas and pulled over in his car to talk. After asking how Warner's elderly mother was doing, Laude said he casually asked him, "Is Santa going to bring you anything good for Christmas?"

Warner smiled and said, "Oh, yeah, Nashville and the world is never going to forget me," Laude recalled.

Laude said he didn't think much of the remark and thought Warner only meant that "something good" was going to happen for him financially. He was speechless when he learned that authorities had identified Warner as the bomber.

"Nothing about this guy raised any red flags," Laude said.
Federal authorities identified on Sunday the man they say is responsible for the Christmas Day bombing and said that he died in the explosion.

As investigators continued to search for a motive, body camera video released late Monday by Nashville police offered more insight into the moments leading up to the explosion and its aftermath.

The recording from Officer Michael Sipos' camera captures officers walking past the RV parked across the street as the recorded warning blares and then helping people evacuate after the thunderous blast off camera. Car alarms and sirens wail as a police dispatch voice calls for all available personnel and people stumble through downtown streets littered with glass.

David Rausch, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said authorities hope to establish a motive but sometimes simply cannot.

"The best way to find motive is to talk to the individual. We will not be able to do that in this case," Rausch said Monday in an interview on NBC's "Today" show.

Investigators are analyzing Warner's belongings collected during the investigation, including a computer and a portable storage drive, and continue to interview witnesses as they try to identify a potential motive, a law enforcement official said. A review of his financial transactions also uncovered purchases of potential bomb-making components, the official said.

WATCH: Police camera shows moment downtown Nashville bomb goes off

Metro Nashville PD traffic camera at the intersection of 2nd Ave. N & Commerce St. captured a video showing the moment the explosion occurred on Christmas Day.

Warner had recently given away a vehicle and told the person he gave it to that he had been diagnosed with cancer, though it is unclear whether he indeed had cancer, the official said. Investigators used some items collected from the vehicle, including a hat and gloves, to match Warner's DNA, and DNA was taken from one of his family members, the official said.

The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Warner also apparently gave away his home in Antioch, Tennessee, to a Los Angeles woman a month before the bombing. A property record dated Nov. 25 indicates Warner transferred the home to the woman in exchange for no money. The woman's signature is not on that document.

Warner had worked as a computer consultant for Nashville real estate agent Steve Fridrich, who told the AP in a text message that Warner had said he was retiring earlier this month.

WATCH: Video shows the aftermath of the explosion:

Video from the scene shows the aftermath of a possible explosion in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning.

Officials said Warner had not been on their radar before Christmas. A law enforcement report released Monday showed that Warner's only arrest was for a 1978 marijuana-related charge.

"It does appear that the intent was more destruction than death, but again that's all still speculation at this point as we continue in our investigation with all our partners," Rausch said.

Officials have not provided insight into why Warner selected the particular location for the bombing, which damaged an AT&T building and wreaked havoc on cellphone service and police and hospital communications in several Southern states. By Monday, the company said the majority of services had been restored for residents and businesses.

Forensic analysts were reviewing evidence from the blast site to try to identify the components of the explosives as well as information from the U.S. Bomb Data Center for intelligence and investigative leads, according to a law enforcement official who said investigators were examining Warner's digital footprint and financial history.

The official, who was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, said federal agents were examining a number of potential leads and pursuing several theories, including the possibility that the AT&T building was targeted.
The bombing took place on a holiday morning well before downtown streets were bustling with activity. Police were responding to a report of shots fired Friday when they encountered the RV blaring a recorded warning that a bomb would detonate in 15 minutes. Then, for reasons that may never be known, the audio switched to a recording of Petula Clark's 1964 hit "Downtown" shortly before the blast.

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Apparently, wishing someone 'Merry Christmas' is now 'white supremacy culture at work'

The War on Christmas continues

In our culture of progressivism and political correctness, nothing is safe.
Now, apparently, even wishing someone a "Merry Christmas" is "white supremacy culture at work." At least, that's according to Jen Bokoff, a Chicago woman who made the astonishing claim on Christmas Day.

"This is your annual reminder that not everyone celebrates Christmas! The default to 'Merry Christmas' as a normal greeting is also white supremacy culture at work. If someone celebrates, then by all means. But so many people don't," Bokoff tweeted.
Bokoff's claim is dripping with irony. That's because Christmas is one of Christianity's two major holiday seasons (the other being Easter, of course). And Christianity is, in fact, the largest global multiethnic religion, which means Christmas was celebrated on every continent and nearly every country on Friday.

Bokoff's message generated a tsunami of backlash, resulting in Bokoff "locking" her Twitter account.

One person responded, "My best friend's Muslim family, our black neighbors, my Jewish college roommate - ALL celebrate Christmas and no one gets pissed when they say 'Merry Christmas.'"
 CHRIS ENLOE
In our culture of progressivism and political correctness, nothing is safe.

Now, apparently, even wishing someone a "Merry Christmas" is "white supremacy culture at work." At least, that's according to Jen Bokoff, a Chicago woman who made the astonishing claim on Christmas Day.

"This is your annual reminder that not everyone celebrates Christmas! The default to 'Merry Christmas' as a normal greeting is also white supremacy culture at work. If someone celebrates, then by all means. But so many people don't," Bokoff tweeted.
Bokoff's claim is dripping with irony. That's because Christmas is one of Christianity's two major holiday seasons (the other being Easter, of course). And Christianity is, in fact, the largest global multiethnic religion, which means Christmas was celebrated on every continent and nearly every country on Friday.

Bokoff's message generated a tsunami of backlash, resulting in Bokoff "locking" her Twitter account.

One person responded, "My best friend's Muslim family, our black neighbors, my Jewish college roommate - ALL celebrate Christmas and no one gets pissed when they say 'Merry Christmas.'"
Another person said, "Who wants to tell her that hundreds of millions of Christians who celebrate Christmas worldwide are something other than white?"

One person pointed out, "This isn't a racist white thing. Jesus was Middle Eastern. This is a, 'I follow Christ thing' Bless her heart."

Another person said, "I was walking on the sidewalk today a Muslim lady was going the other direction, she said Merry Christmas to me. I was thrilled. I wished her Merry Christmas, we both smiled and kept walking. It was a great moment for me. The real person should give it a try and get real."

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