U.S. Capitol Police prepare for far-right rally in support of Jan. 6 insurrectionists

U.S. Capitol Police warned Friday there have been threats of violence ahead of this weekend's rally by Trump supporters. It's being staged to support more than 600 people charged in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, and Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger says it's unclear how many people will show up, or just how serious the threats could be. Lisa Desjardins joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Well, it's been a little over eight months since the January 6, insurrection rocked the nation's Capitol.

    Tomorrow, conservative protesters will gather again not far from Congress to rally in support of those charged with crimes from the attack.

    We turn now to our congressional correspondent, Lisa Desjardins.

    Lisa, good to see you.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Good to be here.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    So, Capitol officials, we all remember, last time were roundly criticized for how unprepared they were for January 6. How are they preparing this time?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    It's completely different.

    And I will say I don't always have to do alliteration, but it helped me focus that there is a difference in strength, in the numbers of people that they will have at the ready. There is a difference in strategy. They have been briefing police officers in a way that's different than last time. And there is a very clear difference in structure.

    I want to show you what I mean. The Capitol Police have erected now the fencing around the Capitol. This is something that just was put up in the last 24, 30 hours. So they have proven that they can do this quickly. This is something, of course, that was up for months and months after January 6. They hope to take this down in next couple of days.

    But this is the main barrier between the Capitol itself and this protest. And there's something else I want to make people understand, is how — where this is happening exactly.

    Let's look at a map here of kind of overview of the Capitol. Now, that area in yellow, that is the protest area. It's just to the left, to the west of the Reflecting Pool. As we're looking at here at this here, to help orient people, the Washington Monument is to the left. The Mall goes all the way down to the left.

    So you see it's very close to the Capitol. That security fence is a tight fence. It is not the wide perimeter. It is the perimeter that hugs the Capitol exactly.

    So they feel, I think, that this — they don't have reason to do a wider perimeter. That's a sign of their security stance. And I also want to point out that at the top of that photo is the Supreme Court, which has a separate fence from the one in the Capitol, also protected tomorrow.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    A lot of fencing.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Yes. Yes.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    That says that they're expecting some kind of violence or something. What about the threat level? What are they concerned about?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Right.

    As you reported, there is chatter. And officials are making it clear that there is chatter from some who want to threaten the Capitol, want to threaten some people there. But Capitol Police are signaling that they don't think it's at the level that we saw on January 6, but they're being careful.

    They do say that they think perhaps one of the toughest — the things they're most concerned about is the interaction between protesters and counterprotesters.

    We reached out to talk to people who know about the militia community. And I want to play this by from Jared Holt. He's with The Atlantic Council. And he follows this closely.

  • Jared Holt, The Atlantic Council:

    What we're hearing from a lot of the extremist groups that have reached national prominence for their roles in the attack on January 6 is a resounding and almost uniform discouragement of their followers and supporters to attend the rally on Saturday.

    A lot of them are fearful that it's — by doing so, people who go will put themselves on the radar of federal intelligence or law enforcement.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    So that's one reason that law officials are hopeful that people will not come who want to be violent.

    But, of course, perhaps, it's also that people are in the shadows and don't want to communicate right now. So, we will just have to wait and see.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    So, this is a rally in support of the people who led the insurrection on January 6.

    Many of them have been arrested and tried. What is the latest on them?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Yes, it's a good time to update. Let's look at those arrests and all of those cases. As you put it, there are hundreds.

    First of all, there have been 40 misdemeanor guilty pleas, nine guilty pleas for felony cases largely involving assault on a police officer. So far, there have been only six trials. Six of those have gone to sentencing at this point.

    To put this all on perspective, that's — we're talking about roughly 60 cases there out of the more than 600 arrests. So this is to say that, while some of these cases have proceeded quickly, all of this will move slowly. We will still have many, many months, perhaps another year, of learning more about those who were involved and seeing their court cases play out.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Hard to believe it's been eight months.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    It has. That's right. It is hard to believe.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    You will be covering the rally tomorrow as well.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Yes.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    We hope for a very quiet, quiet day.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Lisa Desjardins, thanks for being here.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    You're welcome.

Listen to this Segment