The storming of the U.S. Capitol last week has left millions of Americans wondering about the health of their democracy. Now imagine the damage if this is followed by political violence across the country leading up to the inauguration.
That’s the worry caused by an FBI warning about armed protests planned for all 50 states and the U.S. Capitol starting Jan. 16—with a threat of a “huge uprising” if President Trump is removed via the 25th amendment.
The warning comes via an internal FBI bulletin that reads in part: “On 8 January, the FBI received information on an identified group calling for others to join them in ‘storming’ state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event POTUS is removed as President prior to Inauguration Day. This identified group is also planning to ‘storm’ government offices including in the District of Columbia and in every state, regardless of whether the states certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump, on 20 January.”
It’s hard to know what to make of this without insight into the actors, but after last week governors, mayors and police will have to take it seriously. That means mobilizing the resources and manpower to keep law enforcement from being overwhelmed.
The moment also requires calls for restraint and nonviolence from both the left and right. Steve Scalise, the second-ranking Republican in the House and himself a victim of a politically motivated shooter, makes his plea nearby for politicians to tone down rhetoric that can inspire violence.
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