An investigation is underway after a Utah high school teacher posted a tweet following the Capitol riots calling for the killing of Republican senators.
The tweet was made by Parowan High School humanities teacher Brian Townsend. A concerned parent posted a screenshot of the tweet on an Iron County School District Facebook group, saying that Townsend’s tweet was “not appropriate” and “unacceptable.”
Townsend’s tweet, dated February 13, said, “I only hope that next time a president incites a riot at the Capitol, more Republican senators are killed.”
WITHIN HOURS OF the storming of the Capitol on January 6, the FBI began securing thousands of phone and electronic records connected to people at the scene of the rioting — including some related to members of Congress, raising potentially thorny legal questions.
Using special emergency powers and other measures, the FBI has collected reams of private cellphone data and communications that go beyond the videos that rioters shared widely on social media, according to two sources with knowledge of the collection effort.
In the hours and days after the Capitol riot, the FBI relied in some cases on emergency orders that do not require court authorization in order to quickly secure actual communications from people who were identified at the crime scene. Investigators have also relied on data “dumps” from cellphone towers in the area to provide a map of who was there, allowing them to trace call records — but not content — from the phones.
When questioned by Senator Josh Hawley about if he considers Antifa and Black Lives Matter attacks on the courthouse in Portland to be “domestic terrorism,” Joe Biden’s Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland said he might not, because those attacks happened at night.
Garland said that his personal definition of domestic terrorism is the use of violence or threats of violence to interrupt the democratic process, therefore, attacks on buildings at night probably don’t count.
What took place at the Capitol on January 6 was undoubtedly a politically motivated riot. As such, it should not be controversial to regard it as a dangerous episode. Any time force or violence is introduced into what ought to be the peaceful resolution of political conflicts, it should be lamented and condemned.
But none of that justifies lying about what happened that day, especially by the news media. Condemning that riot does not allow, let alone require, echoing false claims in order to render the event more menacing and serious than it actually was. There is no circumstance or motive that justifies the dissemination of false claims by journalists. The more consequential the event, the less justified, and more harmful, serial journalistic falsehoods are.
A federal magistrate judge has turned down prosecutors’ effort to block a man accused of participating in the Capitol riot from using Twitter and Facebook, but ordered him to end his involvement with a business he founded that the Justice Department says promotes and glorifies violent protests.
The defendant, John Sullivan of Utah, has maintained that he attends raucous demonstrations as a journalist, sharing videos through his Insurgence USA website and social media platforms. Sullivan’s defense attorney even filed invoices with the court showing that CNN and NBC each paid Sullivan’s firm $35,000 last month for rights to video he filmed of chaotic scenes outside and inside the Capitol, including the deadly shooting of protester Ashli Babbitt by a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
However, prosecutors contend that Sullivan is not a mere bystander or chronicler of protests. Instead, they say, he actively encourages violence, telling viewers how to make Molotov cocktails and evade identification by police. He was arrested last month on charges stemming from the Jan. 6 riot, including interfering with police during a civil disorder. Sullivan was later hit with an additional charge: obstruction of Congress.
At a hearing on Tuesday afternoon on Sullivan’s release conditions, Washington-based Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather split the difference between prosecutors seeking to eliminate Sullivan’s presence on the United States’ most popular social media platforms and a defense lawyer who decried what he said was an assault on his client’s constitutional rights.
“I am rejecting the broader prohibition on Twitter and Facebook and encrypted social media platforms,” Meriweather said, also ordering that Sullivan be taken off of 24-hour location monitoring via GPS.
The media has now backed off a claim that they’ve made now for more than a month: that Officer Brian Sicknick was killed after being hit by a fire extinguisher during the Capitol riot.
Now, we reported back on Jan. 10, a few days after, that there wasn’t evidence to support the claim at that time, that he collapsed several hours later after he had gone back to his office and texted his brother that he was fine after the riot. Authorities said he had no blunt trauma injury so the story about the fire extinguisher doesn’t stand up and they have yet to find any incident in the evidence that they’ve combed that they believe could be a precipitating incident. His family says he died from a stroke at the hospital.
Now there’s another story that may just have been debunked. You may recall the infamous picture of a man climbing over seats in the Capitol gallery of the Senate chamber holding what appeared to be zip ties or flex cuffs. That beamed around the world with people suggesting this was proof of an intent to kidnap lawmakers.
Well, not so much.
Now, this is one of those times where the picture or the video appears clear but actually isn’t.
But in this particular case, the story of the zip ties was distorted out of all reality because the guy didn’t actually bring them to the Capitol. According to prosecutors, the man found them on a desk that he happened to encounter once he got inside the Capitol. He took them apparently to ensure the Capitol Police couldn’t use them on the protesters, according to the prosecutors.
So no, he wasn’t bringing them in to kidnap lawmakers. But the picture has been pointed to and used innumerable times to suggest a kidnapping plot.
Fresh off a humiliating repudiation by the US Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has decided to double down in her quest to, Captain-Ahab-like, pursue President Trump to the ends of the earth to exact her vengeance.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that the House would move to establish an independent commission to investigate what led to a mob storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 — one similar to the body that studied the 9/11 attacks for 15 months before issuing a sweeping 585-page report.
Two days after former president Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate of inciting the deadly attack, Pelosi (D-Calif.) signaled in a letter to Democratic colleagues that the House would soon consider legislation to form a commission to “investigate and report” on the attack and interference in election proceedings, as well as an appropriation to pay for enhanced security features on the Capitol grounds.
The GOP’s commonsense move would be to tell her that she can have her commission but that no one from the GOP will have anything to do with what is clearly a smear campaign. Unfortunately, that is not the way the GOP operates. If there is a chance to preen and profile before television cameras, our GOP senators can’t resist the catnip no matter the obvious agenda of such a commission.
Exactly one month since rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, fallen Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick’s official cause of death has not been released and no one has been charged with his death.
Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Robert J. Contee III confirmed at a news conference Thursday that the investigation into Sicknick’s death is ongoing, stressing that police continue to comb through video evidence, in the latest update provided by authorities.
Contee, speaking vaguely, also suggested Sicknick’s injuries may not have been immediately visible. “That determination is made by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, so MPD’s role in that is to make sure that the medical examiner has all of the evidence they need to make that determination,” he said. “In this situation, with the Capitol insurrection, there were hundreds of videos and all of that kind of stuff — that stuff is being gone through and funneled over to them.”