Former Department of Homeland Security intelligence analyst Daryl Johnson, who in 2009 authored an internal report warning that right-wing extremism was on the rise in the United States, warns that political violence will worsen in the wake of last week’s insurrection against Congress, which took place at President Donald Trump‘s behest.
“This Capitol insurrection that we just had last week — some people were like OK, this is the climax of the story. No, it’s not. This is ushering in a new phase of violence and hostility,” Johnson said in an interview with NBC News. “This isn’t the final chapter of a movement that’s dying out.”
Asked about his reaction to the attack, Johnson said, “Over the summer, spring and fall we had two other capitol buildings, in Michigan and Idaho, that were overrun and breached by the same type of people. It was not beyond the realm of possibility that these people will do a similar thing to try to stop the election. I thought it was going to be at another state capitol building, but it ended up being the U.S. Capitol. So it wasn’t a surprise. But it was shocking to see what was going on and how the crowd was incited and turned into this violent mob.”
Johnson noted that President Trump, who incited the insurrection that killed five, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, has been “the major contributor to stoking the fears and spreading lies and disinformation and promoting conspiracy theories.”
“So he’s definitely poured a lot of fuel on this fire. This fire was already raging when he came into the office, and he just took it to a whole new level,” he added.
But he cautioned that the Capitol attack isn’t so much the “climax” of a violent story but the “ushering in” of “a new phase of violence and hostility.”
Johnson recommended that the government should fund organizations led by those who have been de-radicalized themselves “and can develop strategies on how to do outreach and pull people out.”
Impeachment proceedings are currently underway. Earlier this morning, Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters that the House intends to immediately send impeachment articles to the Senate and expedite the president’s removal from office. Last night, reports indicated that Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the outgoing Senate Majority Leader, supports the impeachment proceedings and blames Trump for losing control of the Senate following Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff’s wins in the highly publicized Georgia runoff elections.
“For years we have been asked to turn a blind eye to the criminality, corruption, and blatant disregard to the rule of law by the tyrant president we have in the White House,” Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). “We as a nation can no longer look away.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar: "For years we have been asked to turn a blind eye to the criminality, corruption, and blatant disregard to the rule of law by the tyrant president we have in the White House. We as a nation can no longer look away." pic.twitter.com/mzykgVHwxE
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 13, 2021
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.