Contradicting numerous administration claims, The Washington Post reports that the FBI did indeed have advance information that attendees at the Jan. 6 rally promoted by Donald Trump were planning violence, and in fact shared their plans to attack the U.S. Capitol. The Norfolk, Virginia, FBI office assembled a report describing those plans, based on communications between extremists, and officials at the bureau’s head office were briefed of those dangers one day before the attacks.
A sample call for violence featured in the report, as reported by the Post:
“Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa [sic] slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die.”
Planners also shared maps of the inside of the Capitol, and of the tunnels underneath the building that lawmakers could potentially escape to.
Again, then, we have confirmation that top FBI officials were aware of a threat to Congress posed by the assembling far-right extremists—confirmation that goes against Trump administration claims that the violence was not foreseen. There is no question that top administration officials were aware of plans for violence, because those plans were being publicly made, extremism experts were warning of them, and law enforcement was collecting evidence of them.
Despite all these warnings, Capitol Police forces received no backup from federal law enforcement or the Department of Defense. Not the standard backup provided during far smaller planned protests. Not any.
Defenses from Trump administration officials have ranged from flatly lying about the incident, as with claims that the violence was not predicted, to racist claims that because the assembled crowd was white Trump supporters, it was thought that the risk of violence was lower than during other protests. But Trump and his top officials conspicuously filled top ranks of each department with only the most trusted of allies, and conducted wholesale purges of the disloyal inside the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and other key federal posts responsible for responding to this violence. It was not subtle, and it escalated in recent months.
The simplest explanation for why agencies under the control of Trump’s own vetted allies would ignore even cursory safety precautious as the most violent extremists in America flocked to a protest at the U.S. Capitol, one specifically demanding the overthrow of U.S. government, is that Trump’s installed loyalists conspired to do so. This is not a shocking conspiracy theory; it is what Trump’s installed loyalists have done as Trump has committed all number of other crimes and manipulations. Trump’s top officials stonewalled Congress, refusing to provide testimony after they witnessed Trump attempting to extort a foreign leader for his own benefit, and assisted him afterward in purging from government those that did testify.
The lack of security at the Capitol was an intentional act. We do not yet know how many officials participated, but it required the cooperation of at least several. All the others should be investigated for gross incompetence. It is one thing to be caught unaware by a violent planned attack that was widely being warned of beforehand. It is another to refuse to provide rescue during the attack, as congressional leaders and the vice president hid in safe rooms and called various agencies warning that there were injuries, possibly deaths, and that many other lives were now in danger.
That is treason, and should result in more than mere resignations.