House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the US Capitol on Friday. A US Capitol Police officer died after an incident where a man rammed two officers with a car at a security barrier.
At a press conference on Friday, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said that a Capitol Police officer died and another was injured after someone rammed a car into a barricade outside the US Capitol building on Friday.
According to Pittman, the suspect “exited the car with a knife in hand” and lunged at the officers. Pittman said that the suspect did not comply with a verbal command, and the officers opened fire, killing the suspect, she added.
The Capitol went into lockdown earlier Friday after Capitol Police texted an alert telling people in the complex to stay indoors because of an “external security threat.” Congress is in recess and neither the House nor the Senate are in session.
At the press conference, hours after the attack, Pittman said the security threat was “neutralized.”
A Capitol Police officer was suspended on Monday after a Capitol Hill staffer photographed a printed copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion at a security checkpoint inside Congress, according to The Washington Post.
A congressional aide spotted the infamous anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on the desk near a checkpoint, photographed the document and shared it with The Post. The checkpoint was near a 24-hour entrance of the Longworth House Office Building.
Acting Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman told The Post that the relevant officer was suspended pending an investigation.
“We take all allegations of inappropriate behavior seriously,” Pittman said. “Once this matter was brought to my attention, I immediately ordered the officer to be suspended until the Office of Professional Responsibility can thoroughly investigate.”
The House staff member who shared the photograph requested anonymity from The Post for fear of reprisal and said they were “extremely rattled” upon discovering the document out in the open.
According to the report, a date stamp on the document showed that it was printed in January 2019.
The staffer told The Post that in the wake of the January 6 insurrection, where rioters were photographed wearing and holding anti-Semitic imagery, they felt compelled to report what they saw.
In February, Capitol Police announced that they were investigating 35 officers for actions related to the insurrection, and six were suspended.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a centuries-old conspiracy theory targeting Jewish people born in Imperial Russia and claims to detail a meeting of all-powerful Jewish elders who create a plan for world control.
The text, though fraudulent, was a centerpiece to anti-Semitic ideology in Nazi Germany and has been routinely advanced by white-supremacist groups in the US since the 1920s, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
According to The Post, the Capitol Police officer’s copy of the Elders of Zion appeared to be sourced from a far-right and anti-Semitic Australian website called the Bible Believers Church.
Her statement belies the fact that the document has changed and expanded multiple times, hence the additional amendments.
The Constitution, which was written in 1787, established America’s national government and fundamental laws. It was ratified by nine of the original 13 states in 1788.
When the Constitution was first drafted, the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were not a part of the document. In December 1791, the Bill of Rights was ratified.
There have been 27 amendments to the Constitution, which includes the Second Amendment, which guarantees a right to keep and bear arms, the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, and the 17th Amendment, which mandated the direct election of Senators in each state.
The blowback was swift.
Charlotte Clymer, the director of communications at Catholics for Choice, called out Boebert for her lack of knowledge about women’s suffrage.
“Lauren Boebert is a member of Congress and doesn’t understand that we have literally rewritten/revised the Constitution 27 times to do things like abolish slavery and, you know, extend the right to vote and run for office to women … like Lauren Boebert,” she tweeted.
The GOP congresswoman, who has expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory while denying that she is a follower, has previously gone viral for her pro-gun political statements, including the release of an ad where she indicated that she would carry her handgun on the Capitol grounds.
During a virtual meeting this week, Boebert sported a backdrop with multiple firearms while the House Natural Resources Committee debated a proposed rule to ban firearms in its hearing room.
Boebert ridiculed the move, even calling for Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, the committee chair, to issue a personal security detail for her if she couldn’t carry a firearm.
While members of Congress can keep firearms in their offices, they cannot bring them inside the House and Senate chambers.
“This rule is absurd and discriminative,” Boebert complained. “This is a blatant violation of our constitutional rights.”
Despite Boebert’s objections, the rule was approved by a voice vote.
Several members of Congress have vowed to complete the presidential election certification after supporters of President Donald Trump violently clashed with police and stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday.
“Whatever it takes. These thugs are not running us off,” Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said, per Politico.
Congress convened around 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday to tally the Electoral College votes, a process that would confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. The joint session was abruptly halted for hours after mobs breached the Capitol grounds. The Capitol went into lockdown, and lawmakers were photographed huddled under chairs and in gas masks, before being evacuated from the House and Senate chambers when demonstrators placed themselves outside the doors.
Democratic senators reported that Hill staffers managed to save the electoral ballots shortly before they evacuated.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the siege “a shameful assault” on American democracy and said the electoral count will proceed on Wednesday night.
“We always knew this responsibility would take us into the night. The night may still be long but we are hopeful for a shorter agenda, but our purpose will be accomplished,” Pelosi said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the process will continue at 8 p.m. ET, according to CNN.
The House’s chief law enforcement officer, the Sergeant at Arms, announced a little after 5:30 p.m. that the Capitol had been secured, according to The Huffington Post. Capitol Police, joined by the Metropolitan Police Department and National Guard troops of DC and Virginia, helped secure the building.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who issued a harsh rebuke of President Donald Trump’s baseless election claims on the Senate floor earlier on Wednesday, has informed lawmakers that they should return to the chamber and “project strength after today’s catastrophe,” The Washington Post reported.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham echoed the calls on Twitter, saying: “The U.S. Senate must reconvene today and finish our constitutional work.”
He also called for “federal officials to form task force to identify those who breached the Capitol, vandalized our national institutions, and expect prosecutions to the fullest extent of the law.”
“We must not be intimidated or prevented from fulfilling our constitutional duty,” GOP Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted. “I urge my colleagues to move forward with completing the electoral count, to refrain from further objections, and to unanimously affirm the legitimacy of the presidential election.”
The rioters, donned in pro-Trump gear and several waving confederate flags, shattered windows, fought with police, entered the Capitol chambers, broke into lawmakers’ offices, stole memorabilia, and left threatening messages during the breach.
Lawmakers began condemning the violence on Twitter, while Trump neglected to offer a strong statement to end the protests. He wrote two tweets calling for supporters to “stay peaceful.”
The president, who has still refused to acknowledge his election defeat, encouraged his supporters to come to the nation’s capital on the same day of the vote certification in a show of protest.
Biden appeared on national television and urged Trump to “defend the Constitution” and demand an end to the chaos. Trump then posted a video online asking his supporters to “go home” while also telling them that they’re “special” and repeating his unfounded allegations against the election. Twitter and Facebook have taken down the video.
The turmoil appears to be a culmination of Trump falsely declaring for weeks that the election was rigged and mounting over 40 legal challenges to overturn the results, all of which were unsuccessful.
Tensions over the election in Washington, DC, intensified last week after dozens of GOP House members and at least 13 Republican senators, including Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, announced plans to object to the certification process. Critics called the move a last-ditch effort to challenge the outcome, though it would not have changed the election results.
“We also knew that we would be a part of history in a positive way, today, despite ill-founded objections to the Electoral College vote,” Pelosi said on Wednesday evening. “We now will be part of history, as such a shameful picture of our country was put out to the world, instigated at the highest level.”
“Durin the hours of the curfew, no person, other than persons designated by the Mayor shall walk, bike, run, loiter, stand, or motor by ar or other transports upon any street, alley, park or other public place within the District,” Bowser said in a statement.
Trump, who spoke at the rally before Congress convened, eventually called for his supporters to “remain peaceful,” but officials called for a stronger denouncement of the rioters.