SAN DIEGO — Like President Trump, the San Diego woman fatally shot by police as a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol had used Twitter to amplify her views, including false allegations that November’s election was riddled with fraud.

Ashli Babbitt, Ashli McEntee

Ashli Babbitt Maryland MVA/Courtesy of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office via AP

“Nothing will stop us….they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours….dark to light!” Ashli Babbitt wrote Tuesday, a day before she and thousands of other Trump supporters took part in the siege in Washington, D.C., to try to keep the president in power.

Capitol Police on Thursday identified Babbitt, 35, as the woman who was fatally shot by an unidentified officer. Bystander video shows she was trying to climb through the broken window of a barricaded doorway inside the Capitol when the officer fired.

On social media, Babbitt often ranted against the president’s frequent targets – illegal immigration, government mandates to contain the coronavirus and, most of all, Trump’s critics.

Her Twitter account promoted mainstream conservative views but also included references to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which centers on the baseless belief that Trump has been secretly fighting deep state enemies and a cabal of Satan-worshipping cannibals operating a child sex trafficking ring.

Read the full story here.

Mob at U.S. Capitol was encouraged by online conspiracy theories

CHICAGO — Every video the Louisiana man posts on Twitter and Facebook starts with a big smile and a wish for his thousands of followers to have a blessed day.

But as he drove to the nation’s capital Tuesday morning, he grew loud and angry talking about the presidential election.

“You aren’t going to wake up and see?” Christian Suprean, 42, said in one of a dozen videos that together have drawn more than 30,000 views on Twitter in recent days. “I think we won everything. I think we won everything!”

Suprean is one of thousands of President Trump’s fiercest supporters who, fueled by dozens of internet conspiracy theories about the November election, responded to online cries to join a “fight” on the president’s behalf Wednesday. In posts liked and shared thousands of times, far-right social media users openly hinted for weeks that chaos would erupt at the U.S. Capitol while Congress convened to certify the election results.

The president encouraged his Twitter and Facebook followers to attend Wednesday’s rally, at times using warlike imagery to urge supporters to show up. Minutes before they stormed the Capitol, Trump pressed his hopeless case to overturn the election in front of the crowd in a speech laced with conspiracy theories.

“The (cavalry) is coming, Mr. President,” said one of the president’s retweets on Jan. 1, sharing details about the rally.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Suprean said Trump’s calls on social media motivated him to drive 15 hours from Slidell, Louisiana, to Washington.

Read the full story here.

Trump condemns Capitol riot, finally concedes to Biden

WASHINGTON — President Trump conceded to President-elect Joe Biden and condemned the violent supporters who stormed the nation’s Capitol on Wednesday.

In a new video message, Trump said that now that Congress has certified the results, the “new administration will be inaugurated on January 20” and his “focus now turns to ensuring a smooth orderly and seamless transition of power.”

He also spoke out against the violence, calling it a “heinous attack” that left him “outraged by the violence lawlessness and mayhem.”

Trump did not address his role in inciting the violence. But he told his supporters that, while he knows they are “disappointed,” he wants them to know “our incredible journey is only just beginning.”

See the video on the story here.

Sedition charges possible for Capitol mob, prosecutor says

The top federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia says “all options are on the table” for charges against the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, including sedition.

APTOPIX_Electoral_College_Protests_66908

Supporters of President Trump are confronted by Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol on Wednesday in Washington. Some of them face charges. Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for D.C., says prosecutors plan to file 15 federal cases on Thursday for crimes including unauthorized access and theft of property, and investigators are combing through scores of evidence to bring additional charges.

He says 40 other cases had already been charged in a District of Columbia superior court.

The announcement comes a day after angry and armed protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol, forcing Congress members to halt the ongoing vote to certify Joe Biden’s election and then flee from the House and Senate chambers.

Police say more than 90 people were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday morning.

Former Attorney General Barr and Trump loyalist denounces president’s conduct

Former Attorney General William Barr says President Donald Trump’s conduct as a violent mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol was a “betrayal of his office and supporters.”

APTOPIX_Trump_Barr_20197

Attorney General William Barr speaks during a news conference, Monday, Dec. 21 at the Justice Department in Washington. Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP

In a statement to The Associated Press, Barr said Thursday that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”

Barr was one of Trump’s most loyal and ardent defenders in the Cabinet.

His comments come a day after angry and armed protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol, forcing Congress members to halt the ongoing vote to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s election and then flee from the House and Senate chambers.

Barr resigned last month amid lingering tension over the president’s baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into Biden’s son.

Capitol Police chief: Force had ‘robust plan’ to deal with unrest; 14 arrested

Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund made his first public remarks Thursday morning on his agency’s response to the riot, saying police had “a robust plan established” to deal with protesters and did not acknowledge any deficiencies in the police performance, even after a mob overwhelmed the Capitol.

Sund, who has been Capitol Police chief since 2019 after 25 years with D.C. police, also confirmed that Ashli Babbitt, 35, of San Diego, was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer as protesters were nearing the House chamber.

Sund said “the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol was unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington, D.C.” He said Capitol Police “and our law enforcement partner responded valiantly when faced with thousands of individuals involved in violent riotous actions.”

A U.S. Capitol Police officer walks past damage in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, after protesters stormed the Capitol. Associated Press/Andrew Harnik

Sund also said his officers responded to two pipe bombs, at both the Democratic and Republican headquarters, and a possible car bomb on First Street SE, and that they were able to disable all of them. He said the Capitol Police arrested 14 people — most for unlawful entry of the U.S. Capitol — and are “continuing to review surveillance video” and other material to identify other suspects. Most of the arrests are people from outside of the region, including Florida, Georgia and New Jersey, and charges also included weapons charges and assaulting a police officer.

The statement said 18 local, state and federal agencies and the National Guard helped respond to the siege, that more than 50 Capitol and D.C. police officers suffered injuries, and “several USCP officers have been hospitalized with serious injuries.”

The statement does not explain why rioters were able to gain access to the Capitol and were then able to rampage through the historic landmark.

“The actions of the USCP officers were heroic given the situation they faced,” Sund said.

He said the Capitol Police were “conducting a thorough review of this incident, security planning and policies and procedures.”

Read more on the actions of the Capitol Police.

Trump banned from Facebook indefinitely

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post Thursday that the social media giant was banning Trump indefinitely, a sign of escalated actions by tech giants in the face of growing social unrest at end of Trump’s term in office.

“We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” he wrote. “Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.

Read the full story here.

Schumer, GOP rep among those calling for Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is calling on President Donald Trump’s Cabinet to remove him from office following Wednesday’s violent assault on the Capitol by the president’s supporters.

In a statement Thursday, Schumer said the attack on the Capitol “was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president.” He added, “This president should not hold office one day longer.”

Schumer said Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet should invoke the 25th Amendment and immediately remove Trump from office. He added, “If the vice president and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president.”

Schumer’s statement comes after Republican Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger also called on the Cabinet to remove Trump from office.

Kinzinger made the remarks Thursday in a video posted to Twitter, responding to the violent mob that stormed Congress on Wednesday in an attempt to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win over Trump.

Kinzinger says, “the president is unfit. And the president is unwell.”

He went on to say Trump “must now relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntarily.”

The 25th Amendment allows for the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to declare the president unfit for office. The vice president then becomes acting president.

Read more about the 25th Amendment here.

Questions raised about Capitol Police’s inability to secure Capitol building

WASHINGTON – After a violent mob supporting President Donald Trump’s undemocratic effort to overturn the Electoral College results terrorized the Capitol complex Wednesday, questions abound over how that mob breached the Capitol Police security posture.

Congress_Electoral_College_91945

U.S. Capitol Police with guns drawn stand near a barricaded door as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, in Washington. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The opaque federal police force said last week that it had a comprehensive plan to keep Congress safe while lawmakers certify the Electoral College win by Joe Biden. But what transpired was a failure, according to Rep. Tim Ryan, chairman of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Committee, the panel that oversees Capitol Police funding.

“There were clearly enormous, strategic and planning failures by the Capitol Police, by the Sergeant at Arms and anybody else who was a part of coordinating this effort here,” said Ryan, an Ohio Democrat. “This is the United States Capitol building with the United States Congress in session handling the presidential election process.”

The mob broke windows, infiltrated both the Senate and House chambers, and offices of lawmakers, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. The rioters caused Congress’ deliberations to be delayed by hours and the campus went into a lockdown.

A woman shot at the Capitol was later pronounced dead at a hospital, according to Dustin Sternbeck, communications director for the Metropolitan Police Department. He said more details, such as how that incident happened, would be available in the future.

At a late afternoon press conference, MPD Police Chief Robert J. Contee III said five weapons were recovered along with 13 arrests. None of those arrested were D.C. residents, Contee said. The Capitol Police provided no information on this front.

It is unclear how the Capitol Police force — with 1,879 sworn officers and a budget of $515.5 million — was unable to protect Congress. And lawmakers want that to be examined.

Read the full story here.

Defense Department activates National Guard to help Capitol police

The Defense Department has formally activated roughly 6,200 members of the National Guard from six northeastern states to help support the Capitol Police and other law enforcement in Washington in the wake of the deadly riot Wednesday that rocked the U.S. Capitol.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller signed orders activating the National Guard from Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland for up to 30 days. A defense official said the goal is to have Guard members help secure the U.S. Capitol and the surrounding area through the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The Guard members are arriving over the next several days. A total of 6,200 have been activated, but the exact number of troops that will actually get to the city may be less than that, depending on who is available in each state. The Guard won’t be armed, but will have riot gear and protective clothing, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide troop details.

The orders come a day after angry and armed protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol, forcing Congress members to halt the ongoing vote to certify Biden’s election and then flee from the House and Senate chambers.

Four people died in the melee, including a protester who was shot by police. The vote was later completed after the building was cleared.

D.C. police have arrested 69 people since Wednesday afternoon

D.C. police said they arrested 69 people from at least 20 states and the District from Wednesday afternoon through early Thursday, most on curfew and unlawful entry charges. It wasn’t immediately clear if the unlawful entry charges relate to the breach of the U.S. Capitol. One person arrested is a juvenile.

That brings to at least 79 the number of people arrested by D.C. police since Tuesday afternoon. The numbers do not include at least one arrest by the U.S. Park Police for a firearms violation at Freedom Plaza.

Four of the people arrested since Tuesday are District residents. More than a dozen are from Pennsylvania, seven are from North Carolina, 10 are from Maryland and seven are from Michigan. Other states of origin include Texas, California, Arizona, Florida and Wyoming.

Since Tuesday, D.C. police have arrested at least six people on firearms charges, including several at Freedom Plaza and one aboard a multicolored school bus from North Carolina that police stopped after receiving a tip. Police said they found a rifle and a handgun and ammunition on board.

Police said they encountered a vehicle parked near L’Enfant Plaza with a long rifle and a molotov cocktail inside a cooler. Authorities also have said they uncovered two pipe bombs.

Details of many of the charges filed by D.C. police were not available Thursday morning, but additional information is expected when the suspects appear in court. At least one man, from Maryland, was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

Mulvaney, worked in Trump administration since 2017, resigns as envoy to Northern Ireland

President Donald Trump’s former acting White House chief of staff resigned his post as special envoy to Northern Ireland on Thursday, saying “I can’t do it. I can’t stay.”

Mulvaney joined a growing list of Trump administration officials who are leaving following the violent riot at the Capitol on Wednesday. The riot occurred after Trump addressed a massive rally in Washington fueled by the president’s repeated allegations that he lost the November election because of election fraud, which is not substantiated. A mob breached the Capitol building just as lawmakers were working to certify Electoral College votes in the election, sealing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Mulvaney said he called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday night to tell him that he was resigning. He served as acting White House chief of staff from January 2019 until March 2020. Before that, he was director of the Office of Management and Budget.

“I can’t do it. I can’t stay,” Mick Mulvaney told CNBC, which was first to report the resignation. “Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in.”

 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.