Homeland Security Warns of Potential Violence Ahead of ‘Justice for J6’ Rally in Nation’s Capital
Donald Trump also weighed in and gave his hot takes about Saturday's event.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a warning of potential violence ahead of Saturday’s “Justice for J6” rally in Washington, D.C., according to a memo obtained by CNN.
The unclassified intelligence briefing that was shared with state and local authorities warns, “We are aware of a small number of recent online threats of violence referencing the planned rally, including online discussions encouraging violence the day before the rally.”
While the DHS is warning of potential violence, they do not have any specific plot of chaos connected the event, CNN reported.
DHS also warned that small groups and individuals acting on their own can "mobilize to violence with little-to-no warning, particularly in response to confrontational encounters with perceived opponents or calls for escalation by key influencers."
On Thursday, former President Trump called the rally a setup for Republican voters, according to Politico.
“On Saturday, that’s a setup,” Trump said in an interview with the Federalist. “If people don’t show up they’ll say, ‘Oh, it’s a lack of spirit.’ And if people do show up they’ll be harassed.”
In the same interview, Trump wasted no time taking jabs at social and political situations in the country.
“There’s a discontent with everything having to do with politics,” Trump said. “People are so disgusted with the way people are being treated from the Jan. 6 situation. It’s a combination of that compared to how Antifa and BLM were treated. When you compare the treatment, it is so unjust, it is so unfair. It’s disgraceful.”
Trump has been trying to find ways to chime in about Saturday’s rally.
“Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election,” Trump said in a statement Thursday obtained by Politico. “In addition to everything else, it has proven conclusively that we are a two-tiered system of justice. In the end, however, JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL!”
As many as 700 people are expected to attend a rally dubbed “Justice for J6” for those in support of the rioters at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The Department of Homeland Security revealed they are "tracking hotel reservations across the United States" ahead of the Saturday event.
More than a dozen rallies have been organized by “Look Ahead America,” the organization putting together the “Justice for J6” event. “Look Ahead America” is led by a former 2016 Trump campaign staffer, CBS News reported. Thus far, approximately 500 people have RSVP'd to the rally, according to Melissa Smislova, deputy undersecretary for intelligence enterprise readiness.
Smislova also noted that it probably won’t only be people in support of the Capitol riot at the Washington, D.C. event but also people in attendance with their own grievances.
"Anything that is controversial. It can be vaccines, it can be the election. All of the extremist groups are trying to be divisive. We also may have foreign aligned groups, foreigners that are going to try to amplify some of these narratives," Smislova said.
A temporary fence has been put around the Capitol ahead of the rally, and Capitol Police have already issued an emergency declaration for Saturday. The declaration will allow outside officers to act as U.S. Capitol Police special officers on that day.
"We are here to protect everyone's First Amendment right to peacefully protest," said U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger in a statement. "I urge anyone who is thinking about causing trouble to stay home. We will enforce the law and not tolerate violence."
In the aftermath of the Capitol riot, Smislova said the department has been more serious about sharing information in advance of events that could potentially be violent.
“What we realized after January 6 is that we had gotten a little bit lax in some of the aggressive conversations,” Smislova said.
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