Renewed fears of political violence grip Capitol Hill ahead of right-wing rally

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(CNN)Lawmakers and law enforcement officials are growing concerned about the possibility of violence and unrest on Capitol Hill as two key dates approach next month: a right-wing rally in support of the jailed January 6 rioters and the 20th anniversary of 9/11.Those fresh fears come as the community is still reeling from a recent bomb scare near the complex involving a man critical of Democrats, including President Joe Biden. The event ended without incident, but still sent a chill through Capitol Hill and provided law enforcement yet another example of the risks of a toxic political climate.Now, as security preparations ramp up for a “Justice for J6” rally planned for September 18 on the Capitol grounds, serious discussions are underway about reinstalling the temporary fencing around the Capitol’s perimeter, according to multiple sources familiar with the planning.

Some members of Congress are also amplifying their warnings that far-right conspiracy theories, extremist online rhetoric and the GOP’s continued embrace of former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election could lead to more politically motivated attacks that could impact Capitol Hill and beyond.”You don’t get an insurrection on January 6 and all threats of violence go away. In fact, the fear is that future planning will produce other violent acts,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, a Pennsylvania Democrat.”I’m most concerned for my staff … and I also worry for the Capitol Police,” she added. “They are strained, they have been heroic and they saved all of our lives at great peril to themselves.”Capitol Hill has been deeply shaken and scarred by the deadly insurrection and another incident earlier this year when someone rammed a car into a police barricade, killing one officer and injuring another. The charged environment has led lawmakers to invest in body armor and security systems, while the US Capitol Police is in the process of opening field offices in cities around the country. Members and even police officers who defended the Capitol on January 6 have faced death threats.

Some members of Congress are also amplifying their warnings that far-right conspiracy theories, extremist online rhetoric and the GOP’s continued embrace of former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election could lead to more politically motivated attacks that could impact Capitol Hill and beyond.”You don’t get an insurrection on January 6 and all threats of violence go away. In fact, the fear is that future planning will produce other violent acts,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, a Pennsylvania Democrat.”I’m most concerned for my staff … and I also worry for the Capitol Police,” she added. “They are strained, they have been heroic and they saved all of our lives at great peril to themselves.”Capitol Hill has been deeply shaken and scarred by the deadly insurrection and another incident earlier this year when someone rammed a car into a police barricade, killing one officer and injuring another. The charged environment has led lawmakers to invest in body armor and security systems, while the US Capitol Police is in the process of opening field offices in cities around the country. Members and even police officers who defended the Capitol on January 6 have faced death threats.

No one was harmed during the five-hour standoff and police said the suspect, Floyd Roseberry, did not possess a real bomb.The law enforcement source added that some people with underlying behavioral health issues who spend too much time on the internet may be susceptible to disinformation narratives — especially alarming when some of that content is propelled by public officials.”We have to take it really seriously. There are a lot of really disturbed people out there. … It’s scary,” said Rep. Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat who was trapped in the House chamber while rioters breached the building on January 6. “And unfortunately, there are not enough people in legitimate roles of authority on the Republican side to say that it’s all nonsense.””The mistake of January 6 cannot be repeated,” he added.

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