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Pelosi Vows To Protect Capitol As Congress Braces For ‘Justice For J6’ Rally

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at September 8, 2021

Topline

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday pledged to keep the U.S. Capitol “intact” as lawmakers and law enforcement prepare for a rally later this month to demand the release of Capitol riot defendants, which has raised concerns about a repeat of the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Key Facts

Asked during a press conference about preparations being taken ahead of the rally, planned for September 18 on the West Lawn of the Capitol complex, Pelosi declined to offer specifics but said, “We intend to have the integrity of the Capitol be intact.”

Pelosi also confirmed law enforcement will brief Congress on the rally – first the House Administration Committee and then members of congressional leadership – adding that she’ll make future announcements about the event.

A Capitol Police spokesperson told Forbes they are “working with our local, state, and federal partners” to prepare for the rally, after chief Tom Manger said in a statement the department is “closely monitoring” September 18.

The D.C. Metropolitan Police will have an “increased presence around the city where demonstrations will be taking place,” spokesperson Brianna Burch told Forbes, adding that they are prepared to close streets.

The rally has Congress on edge coming eight months after January 6, but some have professed defiance: House staffer Mark Greenbaum told Forbes he has “strong confidence” in the Capitol Police to keep the Capitol safe, stating of the rally-goers, “These losers will not deter me one iota from working here.”

The rally’s organizer, former Trump campaign aide Matt Braynard, has claimed a “perfect safety record” across a dozen rallies held to support those charged in the Capitol riot, and urged attendees at the Capitol rally to be “respectful and kind” to law enforcement.

Key Background

Hundreds of Trump supporters, emboldened by former President Donald Trump’s baseless election fraud claims, stormed the Capitol on January 6 in an effort to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 Electoral College victory. The violence led to Trump’s second impeachment and spawned a wide-reaching House select committee investigation.

Tangent

Despite Braynard’s calls for non-violence, law enforcement reportedly still fears the event could escalate into a repeat of the Capitol attack. An intelligence evaluation from the Capitol Police said it is “not unreasonable to plan for violent altercations” given the views of the rally-goers, according to Roll Call.

Crucial Quote

“Now these people are coming back to praise the people who are out to kill. Out to kill members of Congress, successfully causing the deaths… of our law enforcement,” Pelosi said of the rally, telling reporters, “Understand how strongly we think about this.”

Big Number

1,000. That’s the approximate number of assaults on federal officers that were captured on body camera footage of the January 6 attack, federal prosecutors said in a court filing last week. Nearly 600 individuals have been charged for the riot.

Surprising Fact

Defending those being prosecuted for theCapitol riot has become a popular cause for  some Republicans in Congress, with Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and other members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus rallying outside the Department of Justice in July to protest their treatment. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) landed in hot water earlier this month for calling them “political hostages” and vowing to “bust them out.”

What To Watch For

There have been discussions about reinstalling the security fence around that Capitol complex that was erected in the wake of January 6 and taken down in July, according to WUSA9 and the Associated Press, which reported that members of far-right groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are planning to attend. Asked Wednesday whether the fence will be put back up, Pelosi said, “Not necessarily.”

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