WASHINGTON — The U.S. Justice Department and FBI announced charges Friday against an incoming West Virginia lawmaker, an Arkansas man who told the media he posed for photos on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and an Alabama man whose truck allegedly carried 11 molotov cocktails and a semiautomatic rifle to this week’s U.S. Capitol riots.

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Richard Barnett Washington County Sheriff’s Office via AP

The cases come as authorities in Washington continue working to identify members of the mob who stormed the Capitol – many of whom posted images of themselves on social media amid the mayhem.

A nationwide dragnet involving hundreds of prosecutors and agents from all 56 FBI field offices is involved in the effort, which “has the highest priority of the Department of Justice,” said Kenneth Kohl, a top official in the federal prosecutors office in Washington.

Investigators described a sprawling inquiry that could take months. District of Columbia police, for example, announced they had received about 17,000 tips from the public after posting images of people of interest in the break-in. The FBI also has been inundated with leads after posting more than 40 photographs asking for help identifying individuals.

Among 13 individuals facing federal charges in Washington was Richard Barnett, who was arrested Friday morning after turning himself in to local authorities in Arkansas.

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Seattle probes officers about Washington rally

Seattle’s police chief says two city officers were apparently in Washington, D.C., Wednesday when a violent mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the nation’s Capitol and that an investigation will be launched to find out whether they committed criminal acts.

The officers, who were not identified, have been placed on administrative leave.

In a statement late Friday, Adrian Diaz, the city’s interim chief, said the department supports constitutionally protected free speech, “but the violent mob and events that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol were unlawful and resulted in the death of another police officer.”

Diaz said the matter has been forwarded to the Office of Police Accountability, the city’s independent police watchdog, to see if department policies were violated or if illegal activity involving Seattle officers needs to be investigated.

“If any SPD officers were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, I will immediately terminate them,” Diaz said.

Internet detectives are identifying scores of rioters

While police and the FBI work to identify and arrest members of the mob, online detectives are also crowdsourcing information and doxing them – exposing the rioters to criminal prosecution, but also more immediate action from their bosses.

Supporters of President Trump crowd inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Associated Press/John Minchillo

Since most of the rioters stormed the Capitol maskless, online detectives had a unique opportunity to easily identify them. And many made it even easier – they live-streamed their participation and later bragged about their escapades.

Using journalists’ photos and videos, as well as live-streamed videos from rioters, untold Twitter users and Instagram accounts have been feverishly working since Wednesday to ID and name the participants who stormed down the halls of the Capitol, ransacking lawmakers’ offices and occupying the House Chamber.

Some, like the Instagram account @homegrownterrorists, amassed huge followings in a few hours. When posters believe they’ve identified someone, the images are updated with names and details about the person – like their social-media handle, hometown or job title.

The FBI has been attempting a similar tactic. The Washington field office tweeted dozens of images of rioters on Thursday, asking the public help identify people. Through early Thursday, police said they arrested 69 people from at least 20 states and the District for charges ranging from unlawful entry of public property, to violating curfew and assaulting a police officer. The department is also offering $1,000 reward for tips that lead to an arrest.

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Alaska Sen. Murkowski calls on Trump to resign, questions her future as a Republican

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Friday that Donald Trump should resign the presidency immediately and that if the Republican Party cannot separate itself from Trump, she isn’t certain she has a future with the party.

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Asked whether she intends to remain a Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, shown in June, said that depends on the party itself. Michael Reynolds/Pool via Associated Press

“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” Murkowski said during a 17-minute interview from her small Capitol office, steps away from the Senate chambers that were invaded by pro-Trump rioters Wednesday.

“I think he should leave. He said he’s not going to show up. He’s not going to appear at the inauguration. He hasn’t been focused on what is going on with COVID. He’s either been golfing or he’s been inside the Oval Office fuming and throwing every single person who has been loyal and faithful to him under the bus, starting with the vice president. He doesn’t want to stay there. He only wants to stay there for the title. He only wants to stay there for his ego. He needs to get out. He needs to do the good thing, but I don’t think he’s capable of doing a good thing,” she said.

Murkowski said that while “there may have been many, many, many, many good Americans who came to Washington, D.C., because they felt strongly in support of this president,” the president incited them to storm the Capitol after a speech near the Washington Monument.

Even before Election Day, the president refused to say whether he would accept the election results, Murkowski said, and then tried to overturn the results.

“I will attribute it to the president, who said, even after his vice president told him that morning, ‘I do not have the constitutional authority to do what you have asked me to do. I cannot do it. I have to protect and uphold the Constitution.’ Even even after the vice president told President Trump that, he still told his supporters to fight. How are they supposed to take that? It’s an order from the president. And so that’s what they did. They came up and they fought and people were harmed, and injured and died,” Murkowski said.

Asked whether she intends to remain a Republican, Murkowski said that depends on the party itself.

“Well, you know, there’s a lot of people who actually thought that I did that in 2010, think that I became an independent. I didn’t have any reason to leave my party in 2010. I was a Republican who ran a write-in campaign and I was successful. But I will tell you, if the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me,” she said.

The U.S. Senate is now split 50-50 between Republicans and Democratic-aligned senators, and the tie-breaking vote will be held by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

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West Virginia state lawmaker charged with participating in Capitol riot

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia state lawmaker has been charged with entering a restricted area of the U.S. Capitol after he livestreamed himself with rioters, the Justice Department announced Friday.

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Damage is apparent in the early-morning hours Thursday after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington the day before. Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

Ken Kohl, a top deputy federal prosecutor in Washington, announced the charge against Derrick Evans on a call in which he presented dozens of new charges against members of a mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.

It wasn’t immediately announced if Evans is in custody. Several other state lawmakers across the country traveled to Washington, D.C., for demonstrations this week but it’s unknown if any other elected official joined the mob of Donald Trump supporters attacking the U.S. Capitol.

A growing number of Republicans and Democrats said they want to expel Evans from the legislature if he does not resign. His attorney, John Bryan, said late Thursday that the delegate didn’t commit a crime and doesn’t plan to resign.

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Trump says he won’t attend Biden’s inauguration

WASHINGTON — President Trump said Friday he won’t attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, undercutting his message a day earlier that he would work to ensure a “smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power” to his successor.

Trump offered no clues for how he would spent his final hours in office, and will be the first incumbent president since Andrew Johnson to skip his successor’s swearing-in. Traditionally, the incoming and outgoing presidents ride to the U.S. Capitol together for the ceremony, as a symbol of the nation’s peaceful transition.

Trump’s comments come two days after a violent mob of his supporters occupied the Capitol for several hours as lawmakers were tallying the electoral votes that certified Biden’s victory.

Biden will become president at noon on Jan. 20 regardless of Trump’s plans.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump tweeted. The move had been widely expected, as Trump for months falsely claimed victory in the election and promulgated baseless claims of voter fraud. His own administration said the election had been fairly run.

Vice President Mike Pence is still expected to attend the inauguration.

Biden’s transition team had no immediate comment on Trump’s announcement. But Jen Psaki, the president-elect’s incoming White House press secretary, said last month that whether Trump attended the inauguration was not top of mind for Biden.

Facebook, Twitter could face punishing regulation for their role in U.S. Capitol riot, Democrats say

WASHINGTON – Facebook, Google and Twitter are staring down the prospect of harsh new regulations in Washington, as politically ascendant Democrats in Congress pledge to take fresh aim at Silicon Valley for its role in stoking the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol this week.

The violent mob that stormed the House and Senate, leaving the two chambers in lockdown, has emboldened party lawmakers who say that social media sites failed to heed their repeated warnings – and then did too little, too late, in response to President Donald Trump and his incendiary online rhetoric. Trump on Friday resumed tweeting, praising his supporters as “great American patriots” and pledging they would not be “disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”

In the months to come, some Democrats now are promising to use their powerful new perches – and their control of the White House and Congress starting in a matter of days – to proffer the sort of tough new laws and other punishments that tech giants have successfully fended off for years. Their seething anger could result in major repercussions for the industry, opening the door for a wide array of policy changes that could hold Facebook, Google and Twitter newly liable for their missteps.

“They bear major responsibility for ignoring repeated red flags and demands for fixes,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who stands to play a key role leading a tech-focused congressional panel in the coming months. The lawmaker faulted Facebook, Google and Twitter for failing to act as the riots unfolded “until well after there was blood and glass in the halls of the Capitol.”

“They have done enduring damage to their own credibility,” Blumenthal added in an interview, “and these events will renew and refocus the need for Congress to reform big tech.”

The visceral reaction in Washington followed a riot that left lawmakers and staff members cowering for cover as bands of Trump supporters vandalized one of the three branches of American democracy. Members of Congress have feared for years that Trump’s vitriolic online rhetoric threatened to carry catastrophic consequences, only to live the experience personally in the waning days of his presidency.

Facebook has since suspended Trump’s account indefinitely, and Twitter blocked him from posting for 12 hours, a suspension that lifted Thursday morning. Google, which owns YouTube, joined the other tech giants in announcing policies that resulted in the removal of one of Trump’s earlier videos that repeated falsehoods about the 2020 election even as the president urged rioters at the time to remain calm. The companies before this week also had pledged to take more aggressive action to crack down against harmful content and the groups, such as the far-right Proud Boys, that helped perpetuate it.

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Republican Sen. Sasse says he would consider articles of impeachment passed by House

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Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. speaks during a televised debate against Democratic challenger Chris Janicek at NET, Friday, Sept. 4, in Lincoln, Neb. Justin Wan/Lincoln Journal Star via AP

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said that Trump had “acted shamefully” and that he would “definitely consider” any articles of impeachment approved by the House — but stopped short of calling for Trump’s immediate removal from office in Friday morning media interviews.

The comments from Sasse, who has been far more vocal in his criticism of Trump than most Republicans, come as the Democratic-led House is considering voting on impeachment articles against Trump as early as next week in response to Wednesday’s takeover of the Capitol by his supporters.

“Donald Trump has acted shamefully,” Sasse said on “CBS This Morning.” “He has been in flagrant dereliction of his duty, and he will be remembered for having incited this and for having drawn more division into an already divided people. That is who Donald Trump is. That is what his legacy is going to be.”

Pressed on what should happen procedurally, Sasse said he would “definitely consider whatever articles [the House] might move,” calling what Trump had done “wicked.”

But Sasse said the most important question isn’t what happens to Trump in his remaining days in office.

“The most important question is … how we bring the country back to together,” he said.

In a separate interview, Sasse blamed Trump for the violence at the Capitol.

“It was ransacked by a mob that was incited by the president of the United States,” Sasse told syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt. “The president had a rally hours before this happened where he is telling them to go to the Capitol and go wild. … The guy is addicted to division. This is a deep brokenness in his soul.”

Sasse voted against removing Trump from office at his Senate impeachment trial last year.

Rep. Clark says House could vote to impeach Trump by middle of next week

Rep. Katherine M. Clark (D-Mass.), a member of the House leadership, said Friday that the chamber could vote to impeach Trump by the middle of next week if Pence does not initiate proceedings for the Cabinet to remove him from office under the 25th Amendment.

Calling Trump “a traitor” in the wake of Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol by some of his supporters, Clark said on CNN that “we can act very quickly when we want to.”

Clark holds the title of assistant speaker, the No. 4 leadership position in the House caucus.

House Democrats are scheduled to discuss the prospect of moving on impeachment during a conference call on Friday.

“Donald Trump needs to be removed from office,” Clark said. “And we are going to proceed with every tool that we have to make sure that happens to protect our democracy … We have a president who incited a seditious mob to storm the Capitol. … We have a president who has turned on us. He is a traitor.”

If Trump is impeached for a second time by the House, it is unclear whether the Republican-controlled Senate would hold a trial before he leaves office on Jan. 20.

Capitol Police officer dies of injuries suffered in riots

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol flown at half-staff following the death of a Capitol Police officer from injuries he suffered in the attack on the Capitol by a violent pro-Trump mob.

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U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick United States Capitol Police via Associated Press

Officer Brian D. Sicknick died Thursday due to injuries sustained while on-duty, physically engaging with protesters at the U.S. Capitol, the statement said.

Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday as Congress was tallying the Electoral College votes to confirm Democrat Joe Biden won the election. Sicknick returned to his division office and collapsed, the report said. He was taken to a hospital and later died.

The death will be investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the USCP, and federal law enforcement. Sicknick joined the Capitol police in 2008.

Democratic leaders of the House Appropriations Committee said the “tragic loss” of a Capitol police officer “should remind all of us of the bravery of the law enforcement officers who protected us, our colleagues, Congressional staff, the press corps and other essential workers″ during the hourslong takeover of the Capitol by pro-Trump protesters.

Trump silent, press secretary calls riots ‘appalling’

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says President Donald Trump’s administration found the siege of the U.S. Capitol to be “appalling, reprehensible and antithetical to the American way.”

But while McEnany’s statement to the press Thursday broke the White House’s silence a day after the violence, Trump himself remained quiet.

McEnany, for the first time, said that the White House was committed to the “orderly transition of power” to President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration. She also took pains to try to draw a distinction between the “violent rioters” and other Trump supporters who attended the president’s rally in Washington just before the siege of the Capitol.

But McEnany took no questions. And the impact of the statement would likely be muted, as Trump has long said that only he speaks for his White House.

The president has yet to condemn the violence that was meant to stop the congressional certification of Biden’s victory.

Head of U.S. Capitol Police to resign

The head of the U.S. Capitol Police will resign effective Jan. 16 following the breach of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Chief Steven Sund said Thursday that police had planned for a free speech demonstration and did not expect the violent attack. He said it was unlike anything he’d experienced in his 30 years in law enforcement.

He resigned Thursday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on him to step down. His resignation was confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly.

The breach halted the effort by Congress to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Protesters stormed the building and occupied for hours. The lawmakers eventually returned and finished their work.

Police to take extra precautions at state capitols when legislatures reconvene

State lawmakers and police are taking extra precautions at state capitol buildings as legislatures in most states return to session.

Pro-Donald Trump demonstrators have rallied outside numerous capitols since the Nov. 3 election, and some groups have said they want a large presence when lawmakers return. Trump has falsely claimed that widespread voter fraud cost him the election and has convinced many of his supporters that President-elect Joe Biden will be illegitimate.

Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol has heightened concerns.

In Washington state, a pro-Trump group has said it will try to get inside the capitol building in Olympia when lawmakers return to work on Monday.

In Oregon, the state police said it is aware of rumors that armed groups are considering taking over the capitol and warned that anyone attempting that would be arrested.

In Michigan, where several men were charged last fall in separate plots to kidnap the governor and storm the statehouse in hopes of inciting a civil war, police briefly closed the capitol on Thursday after a man called to make a bomb threat.

Police identify 3 people who died of medical emergencies on grounds of Capitol

District of Columbia police have identified the three people who had medical emergencies and died during the storming of the Capitol.

They are 55-year-old Kevin Greeson, of Athens, Alabama; 34-year-old Rosanne Boyland, of Kennesaw, Georgia; and 50-year-old Benjamin Philips, of Ringtown, Pennsylvania.

Police Chief Robert Contee would not go into detail about the exact causes of their deaths and would not say if any of the three was actively involved in breaching the Capitol building on Wednesday.

Contee would only say that all three “were on the grounds of the Capitol when they experienced their medical emergencies.”

Greeson’s family says he had a heart attack. They described him as a supporter of President Donald Trump’s but denied that he condoned violence.

The Capitol Police say a fourth person, identified as Ashli Babbitt, was shot by an employee of Capitol Police while the rioters were moving toward the House chamber. She died at a hospital.

The siege at the Capitol by Trump loyalists came as Congress was certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.


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