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Lawmakers won't be anywhere near Saturday's 'Jan. 6' rally outside the Capitol

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Republicans and former President Donald Trump will be nowhere near a rally planned for Saturday at the Capitol building by those who sympathize with the hundreds of Jan. 6 rioters charged and, in some cases, held in extended custody for trespassing and other offenses.

The House and Senate won’t be in session during the “Justice for J6 Rally.”

The entire campus has been surrounded by fencing, and other security measures are firmly in place to keep rally-goers from accessing the building.

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Former Trump campaign staffer Matthew Braynard planned the event in solidarity with those charged with rioting at the Capitol on Jan. 6 when the House and Senate convened to certify Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

As many as 700 people may attend the rally on Saturday, officials said.

But big conservative names are staying away, and some are warning the event is a trap for those who show up.

Trump said in a statement that the Jan. 6 protesters under prosecution for their actions that day are “being persecuted so unfairly. However, he told the Federalist the Saturday rally was “a setup” that would result in harassment of attendees or low attendance overall.

“If people don’t show up, they’ll say, ‘Oh, it’s a lack of spirit.’ And if people do show up, they’ll be harassed,” Trump told the media outlet.

Other conservative luminaries will also skip the event.

Aides for Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who criticized the extended imprisonment of some of the rioters, said they don’t plan to go. Law enforcement officials said Friday they do not know any lawmaker who plans to attend.

Republicans are increasingly eager to distance themselves from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and any possible repeat of the violence and disturbing images from that day, which they fear will be linked to their party forever.

Republicans opposed creating a special committee to examine the riot because they believe Democrats will use the panel to keep the riot in the news and promote the idea that Republicans were to blame because many of them voted to challenge Biden’s electoral victory, citing voter irregularities.

Despite what is expected to be a small crowd size on Saturday, Capitol and D.C. police are not risking a repeat of Jan. 6, when hundreds of protesters stormed past police and into the Capitol, many of them violently, and took over the building while lawmakers and staff ran for their lives.

Capitol Police resurrected a ring of nonscaleable fencing to keep people off the grounds entirely and will be ready with riot gear and extra police.

Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said Friday there have been “some threats of violence” associated with the rally.

He told reporters at a press conference that law enforcement is concerned violence could also erupt if counterprotesters show up and the two sides clash.

“We are concerned about, more than anything, is the possibility of counterdemonstrators making it to this demonstration and there being violence between these two groups,” Manger said.

In addition to extra police, the Pentagon has approved 100 National Guard troops to be deployed if needed.

The rally will take place at the bottom of the west side of the Capitol, outside the fencing.

Rally organizers told attendees to wear red, white, and blue and carry signs supporting the "J6 prisoners.”

“Do not wear or bring political, candidate, or another organization’s paraphernalia. This includes clothing or banners supportive of President Trump or President Biden,” organizers advised.

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More than 600 people have been charged in the Jan. 6 riot, many for trespassing and disorderly conduct. More than three dozen are in jail.

Gaetz, Greene, and Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, have called on the Department of Justice to release the jailed rioters, who they say are political prisoners subjected to extreme punishment, including beatings and solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

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Tags: News, Congress, Capitol, January 6, Donald Trump, Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz

Original Author: Susan Ferrechio

Original Location: Lawmakers won't be anywhere near Saturday's 'Jan. 6' rally outside the Capitol

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