Tag Archives: Washington D.C.

Breaking news on mob storming U.S. Capitol building in D.C., injuries

Police clearing pro-Trump mob from US Capitol after rioters stormed halls of Congress

CNN, By Ted Barrett, Manu Raju and Peter Nickeas, Updated 4:26 PM ET, Wed January 6, 2021
Click the image to see the video on CNN website.

(CNN)Police are clearing supporters of President Donald Trump from the US Capitol after they breached one of the most iconic American buildings, engulfing the nation’s capital in chaos after Trump urged his supporters to fight against the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes that confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

Shortly after 1 p.m. ET hundreds of pro-Trump protesters pushed through barriers set up along the perimeter of the Capitol, where they tussled with officers in full riot gear, some calling the officers “traitors” for doing their jobs. About 90 minutes later, police said demonstrators got into the building and the doors to the House and Senate were being locked. Shortly after, the House floor was evacuated by police.

An armed standoff took place at the House front door as of 3 p.m. ET, and police officers had their guns drawn at someone who is trying to breach it. A Trump supporter was also pictured standing at the Senate dais earlier in the afternoon.

The Senate floor was cleared of rioters as of 3:30 p.m. ET, and an officer told CNN that they have successfully squeezed them away from the Senate wing of the building and towards the Rotunda, and they are removing them out of the East and West doors of the Capitol.

A woman is in critical condition after being shot in the chest on the Capitol grounds, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The sources could not provide further details on the circumstances of the shooting. Multiple officers have been injured with at least one transported to the hospital, multiple sources tell CNN.

It’s not clear if any of the individuals have been taken into custody.

Vice President Mike Pence was also evacuated from Capitol, where he was to perform his role in the counting of electoral votes.

Video from inside the Capitol showed Trump supporters marching through Statuary Hall. The US Capitol Police is asking for additional law enforcement for assistance, including federal authorities, per a source familiar. The source says there are several suspicious devices outside the Capitol building.

Trump has directed the National Guard to Washington along with “other federal protective services,” according to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

The entire DC National Guard has been activated by the Department of Defense following a pro-Trump mob breaching the United States Capitol.

“The D.C. Guard has been mobilized to provide support to federal law enforcement in the District,” said Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman. “Acting Secretary Miller has been in contact with Congressional leadership, and Secretary McCarthy has been working with the D.C. government. The law enforcement response will be led by the Department of Justice.”

The Department of Defense had earlier received a request from the US Capitol Police for additional DC National Guard forces but a decision has not been made, according to a senior defense official.

The official said DC National Guard was not anticipating to be used to protect federal facilities, and the Trump administration had decided earlier this week that would be the task of civilian law enforcement, the official said.

The shocking scene was met with less police force than many of the Black Lives Matter protests that rolled across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police officers last year. While federal police attacked peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square outside the White House over the summer, clearing the way for Trump to take a photo in front of a nearby church at the time, protesters on Wednesday were able to overrun Capitol police and infiltrate the country’s legislative chambers.

House and Senate leadership is safe and in an undisclosed locations, according to a person familiar. A separate lawmaker said House members have been evacuated to a location that this source would not disclose.

The US Capitol Police are working to secure the second floor of the Capitol first, and will then expand from there. Outside the Capitol, the DC Metropolitan Police Department continues to mass, but no major move has been made yet toward the crowd.

The Capitol police officer in the House chamber told lawmakers that they may need to duck under their chairs and informed lawmakers that protesters were in the building’s Rotunda. Lots of House members were seen wearing gas masks as they move between Capitol buildings. Members were calling family to say they are OK.

While the White House refused to comment on the protests, Trump said on Twitter, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”

Others inside the President’s orbit tweeted their calls for calm as the mob repeatedly attempted to take over the building.

Donald Trump Jr., the President’s son, said that his supporters who mobbed the Capitol were “wrong and not who we are.”

“Be peaceful and use your 1st Amendment rights, but don’t start acting like the other side. We have a country to save and this doesn’t help anyone,” he tweeted.

The protesters have breached exterior security barriers, and video footage shows protesters gathering and some clashing with police near the Capitol building. CNN’s team on the ground saw a number of protesters trying to go up the side of the Capitol building. Several loud flash bangs have been heard.

Protesters could be seen pushing against metal fences and police using the fences to push protesters back, while other officers reached over the top to club people trying to cross their lines.

Flash bangs could be heard near the steps of the Capitol as smoke filled the air. In some instances officers could be seen deploying pepper spray. Tear gas has been deployed, but it’s not clear whether by protesters or police, and people wiped tears from their eyes while coughing.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser just announced a citywide curfew from 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday until 6 a.m. ET Thursday.

Federal and local law enforcement are responding to reports of possible pipe bombs in multiple locations in Washington DC, according to a federal law enforcement official. It’s unclear if the devices are real or a hoax, but they’re being treated as real.

A pipe bomb was found at the Republican National Committee’s headquarters earlier Wednesday, an RNC official told CNN. The device was found on the ground outside, along the wall of the headquarters. It was safely detonated by the police, the RNC official said.

The Democratic National Committee was also evacuated after a suspicious package was being investigated nearby, a Democratic source familiar with the matter told CNN. The party had preemptively closed the building ahead of the protests, the source said, but a few security and essential personnel were evacuated.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.
CNN’s Pamela Brown, Phil Mattingly, and Daniela Diaz contributed to this report.

White supremacists gathering in D.C. in advance of inauguration

For D.C. protests, Proud Boys settle in at city’s oldest hotel and its bar

The Hotel Harrington and Harry’s Bar in downtown D.C. have been frequented by Proud Boys in recent months.
The Hotel Harrington and Harry’s Bar in downtown D.C. have been frequented by Proud Boys in recent months. (Craig Hudson for The Washington Post)
The Washington Post, by Joe Heim and Marissa J. Lang, Dec. 27, 2020

Located just five blocks from the White House, the Hotel Harrington is the city’s oldest continuously operating hotel and has a long-standing reputation as one of the most affordable in the heart of the District. But over the past few months, the Harrington has been gaining a new reputation: Proud Boys hangout.

The militant right-wing organization that vigorously supports President Trump, which has clashed in violent street battles with members of antifascist groups and others who oppose Trump, has made the Harrington its unofficial headquarters when members come to the District. Several hundred Proud Boys recently stayed at the hotel while in town for the Dec. 12 protest of Joe Biden’s election as president.

More protests by pro-Trump groups are planned in downtown D.C. on Jan. 6.

Wearing their signature black and gold colors, large numbers of the group spent much of the afternoon of Dec. 12 drinking openly and chanting on the street in front of the hotel at 11th and E streets NW. They ranged in age from late teenagers to 50- and 60-year-olds, though most appeared to be in their 30s and 40s. Others filled the outdoor patio at Harry’s, the hotel bar, where they had gathered on previous protest weekends and on the Fourth of July. Harry’s closed midafternoon, but the patio and street in front of it remained crowded throughout the night.

The repeated and growing presence of Proud Boys at the bar and hotel has unnerved some guests and workers, many of whom are Black and Hispanic and were intimidated by their presence, according to two employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

In the past three months, Harry’s has been cited three times for violating social distancing and mask regulations. The violations occurred on weekends when large numbers of Proud Boys and other pro-Trump supporters, in town for demonstrations, were in the bar.

For the hotel and the bar, there seems to be uncertainty about what steps they can or should take. Ann Terry, the general manager of the hotel, declined to comment. During a brief phone call, John Boyle, the owner of Harry’s, declined to comment other than to say that the bar closed early on Dec. 11 and 12 because of concerns over not being able to maintain coronavirus social distancing guidelines. The bar’s website announced it will be closed on Jan. 5 and 6.

Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, said in an interview, that in the past, the group’s members have stayed at the Harrington and frequented Harry’s because they’re accessible to downtown D.C. and close to the Trump hotel and the White House.

He said that the corner in front of the hotel and bar has remained a gathering point for the Proud Boys, but that the group had outgrown Harry’s because it wasn’t big enough to accommodate all of its members who attended the most recent protest, which he said numbered about 1,000.

Tarrio said the group’s members would not stay at the hotel or go to the bar if the businesses asked them to stay away.

“Of course not. I wouldn’t want to go somewhere, a private business where I’m unwelcome,” he said. “There’s many other options.”

Tarrio said he wasn’t aware of reported incidents of Proud Boys refusing to wear masks inside the bar or hotel but said “for the most part, we’re not big on masks.”

Since opening in 1914, the 250-room Harrington has billed itself as an affordable tourist hotel, hosting tens of thousands of visitors to the District over the past 106 years. It was also a family business. Charles McCutcheon, the owner of the hotel until he died earlier this year, was the grandson of its co-founder. Many employees of the hotel have been there for generations.

For some of them, a longtime employee said, there is a fear that the hotel’s reputation is being tarnished by the Proud Boys’ repeated presence at the hotel and bar.

“It’s sad that they feel so comfortable here because obviously nobody who works here supports this stuff,” the employee said.

As dark approached on the night of Dec. 12, members of the Proud Boys donned Kevlar helmets, bulletproof vests, protective forearm coverings and large rucksacks. Many carried long poles, long-handled black flashlights and collapsible batons. Some carried cases of beer. They departed the hotel in packs and began marching through the District’s downtown chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “F— antifa!”

The group made repeated efforts to approach Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House, where they hoped to encounter a smaller number of antifascists and others who had gathered to voice their opposition to Trump and keep his supporters from removing signs or artwork critical of the president and memorializing Black people killed by law enforcement.

D.C. police spent much of the night trying to keep the groups apart and at one point established a police line along 15th Street NW. Unable to break through the barrier, a group of Proud Boys doubled back to the hotel holding a Black Lives Matter banner from a nearby church. They carried it in front of the Harrington and lit it on fire as members circled the flames yelling and hooting.

City officials later said four churches in downtown D.C. had Black Lives Matters signs removed and damaged. Tarrio told The Washington Post he was among those responsible for tearing down and burning the signs.

For the most part, police were successful in keeping the groups apart, but there were skirmishes. At least four people were stabbed during a melee near Harry’s. Police have declined to comment on the political affiliations of those involved.

In the days after the protest, District leaders expressed concerns about the Proud Boys’ presence.

“These Proud Boys are avowed white nationalists and have been called to stand up against a fair and legal election,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said. And D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) said a beautiful weekend “was ruined by white supremacists who came to our city seeking violence.”

Bowser said that the city had encouraged Harry’s to close early for the protest weekend and that the bar was not open after 4 p.m. on either Dec. 11 or Dec. 12. The mayor declined to draw a connection between the violence late that Saturday and the bar around which Proud Boys and other Trump supporters continued to gather through the night.

But D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto (D), who represents the ward in which Harry’s is located, said the bar’s complicity in allowing “hate groups” to gather should not be overlooked.

“I am angered and troubled by the violence committed by white supremacists in our city and in Ward 2 over the weekend and last month,” Pinto wrote in a statement to The Post. “Harry’s disregard for public health guidance as these hate groups have gathered in their establishment without masks and without being socially distant before taking to the streets and further jeopardizing the health and safety of District residents is absolutely unacceptable.”

Pinto said she would like to see greater enforcement of the District’s coronavirus protocols and would “encourage local businesses to protect our residents first,” though she did not elaborate on how businesses such as Harry’s might do so. Boyle did not respond to Pinto’s comments.

Harry’s Bar at Hotel Harrington, which opened in 1914 and hosts tens of thousands of visitors each year, has recently become a popular spot for members of the Proud Boys.
Harry’s Bar at Hotel Harrington, which opened in 1914 and hosts tens of thousands of visitors each year, has recently become a popular spot for members of the Proud Boys. (Craig Hudson for The Washington Post)

In all, Harry’s has been cited for flouting the city’s mask ordinance three times since October.

On Oct. 10, an investigator from the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration noticed a server was not wearing a mask as he waited on tables filled with patrons who were also barefaced though they were not actively eating or drinking, according to the ABRA incident report.

The investigator issued Boyle a warning and noted that Boyle said it “would not happen again.”

A month later, on the night before the “Million MAGA March,” a city investigator reported patrons were not wearing masks and were moving about the bar freely, gathering in large groups and flouting social distancing requirements. Outside the bar, he wrote, more than 50 people were gathered listening to loud music and drinking in the street. The investigator called the situation “unacceptable” and issued Harry’s a $1,000 fine.

Boyle “admitted that he lost control of the establishment,” according to the ABRA report. The investigator found “the establishment was basically operating as normal prior to Covid.”

The next day, after thousands of Trump’s most ardent supporters packed D.C. streets and marched to the Supreme Court, many gathered at Harry’s to celebrate.

Dozens of maskless people were gathered outside the bar, waiting to be seated, the ABRA investigator wrote, while patrons inside crowded around small tables and moved freely around the establishment without donning face coverings.

The ABRA investigator slapped Harry’s with another $1,000 fine, its second in as many days.

Patrick Young, 37, spent most of Dec. 12 at Black Lives Matter Plaza, poised to defend the space in which racial justice activists have gathered for months.

Throughout the day, he said, he saw “marauding bands of Proud Boys” try to make their way past police lines and into the plaza.

He was worried that as the night wore on, and as far-right agitators imbibed more, the threat of violence would increase, he said.

The next day, he called Harry’s Bar, asking to speak with the owner. To Young’s surprise, Boyle answered the phone.

“I told him I was very concerned that the bar was becoming a base of operations for the Proud Boys,” said Young, an organizer with the activist coalition ShutDown DC.

It and other local social justice groups have for weeks encouraged their members to call Harry’s and encourage the bar to denounce the Proud Boys and close during large pro-Trump gatherings.

Downtown hotels also received calls and emails from D.C. residents and activists imploring them to deny service to visiting Trump supporters.

ShutDown DC organizers said they will continue to lobby business owners and city officials to do more. Harry’s, they said, will remain priority No. 1. The group launched an online petition this week calling on ABRA to revoke the bar’s liquor license.

“As long as people are coming into our community with the expressed intent of terrorizing our friends and neighbors, we are going to work to keep each other safe,” Young said.

Peter Hermann and Julie Tate contributed to this report.

Review of 30,000 climate studies: Starkest Warning Yet on Global Warming

Repost from The New York Times
[Editor: Huge news worldwide – for more, see:
UN News Centre, ‘Leaders must act’, urges Ban, as new UN report warns climate change may soon be ‘irreversible’;
CBS News (interview with professor Michio Kaku), U.N. panel issues grim report on climate change;
TIME, UN: Phase Out Fossil Fuels By 2100 Or Face ‘Irreversible’ Climate Impact, hope;
NBCNews, Climate Change Dangers Are ‘Higher Than Ever’: UN Report
– RS}

U.N. Panel Issues Its Starkest Warning Yet on Global Warming

By JUSTIN GILLIS, NOV. 2, 2014
Machines digging for brown coal in front of a power plant near Grevenbroich, Germany, in April. Credit Martin Meissner/Associated Press

COPENHAGEN — The gathering risks of climate change are so profound that they could stall or even reverse generations of progress against poverty and hunger if greenhouse emissions continue at a runaway pace, according to a major new United Nations report.

Despite growing efforts in many countries to tackle the problem, the global situation is becoming more acute as developing countries join the West in burning huge amounts of fossil fuels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said here on Sunday.

Failure to reduce emissions, the group of scientists and other experts found, could threaten society with food shortages, refugee crises, the flooding of major cities and entire island nations, mass extinction of plants and animals, and a climate so drastically altered it might become dangerous for people to work or play outside during the hottest times of the year.

“Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems,” the report found.

In the starkest language it has ever used, the expert panel made clear how far society remains from having any serious policy to limit global warming.

Doing so would require leaving the vast majority of the world’s reserves of fossil fuels in the ground or, alternatively, developing methods to capture and bury the emissions resulting from their use, the group said.

If governments are to meet their own stated goal of limiting the warming of the planet to no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius, above the preindustrial level, they must restrict emissions from additional fossil-fuel burning to about 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide, the panel said. At current growth rates, that budget is likely to be exhausted in something like 30 years, possibly less.

Yet energy companies have booked coal and petroleum reserves equal to several times that amount, and they are spending some $600 billion a year to find more. Utilities and oil companies continue to build coal-fired power plants and refineries, and governments are spending another $600 billion or so directly subsidizing the consumption of fossil fuels.

By contrast, the report found, less than $400 billion a year is being spent around the world to reduce emissions or otherwise cope with climate change. That is a small fraction of the revenue spent on fossil fuels — it is less, for example, than the revenue of a single American oil company, ExxonMobil.

The new report comes just a month before international delegates convene in Lima, Peru, to devise a new global agreement to limit emissions, and it makes clear the urgency of their task.

Appearing Sunday morning at a news conference in Copenhagen to unveil the report, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, appealed for strong action in Lima.

“Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in their message,” Mr. Ban said. “Leaders must act. Time is not on our side.”

Yet there has been no sign that national leaders are willing to discuss allocating the trillion-ton emissions budget among countries, an approach that would confront the problem head-on, but also raise deep questions of fairness. To the contrary, they are moving toward a relatively weak agreement that would essentially let each country decide for itself how much effort to put into limiting global warming, and even that document would not take effect until 2020.

“If they choose not to talk about the carbon budget, they’re choosing not to address the problem of climate change,” said Myles R. Allen, a climate scientist at Oxford University in Britain who helped write the new report. “They might as well not bother to turn up for these meetings.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific body appointed by the world’s governments to advise them on the causes and effects of global warming, and potential solutions. The group, along with Al Gore, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its efforts to call attention to the climate crisis.

The new report is a 175-page synopsis of a much longer series of reports that the panel has issued over the past year. It is the final step in a five-year effort by the body to analyze a vast archive of published climate research.

It is the fifth such report from the group since 1990, each finding greater certainty that the climate is warming and that human activities are the primary cause.

“Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, and in global mean sea-level rise; and it is extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” the report said.

A core finding of the new report is that climate change is no longer a distant threat, but is being felt all over the world. “It’s here and now,” Rajendra K. Pachauri, the chairman of the panel, said in an interview. “It’s not something in the future.”

The group cited mass die-offs of forests, such as those killed by heat-loving beetles in the American West; the melting of land ice virtually everywhere in the world; an accelerating rise of the seas that is leading to increased coastal flooding; and heat waves that have devastated crops and killed tens of thousands of people.

The report contained the group’s most explicit warning yet about the food supply, saying that climate change had already become a small drag on overall global production, and could become a far larger one if emissions continued unchecked.

A related finding is that climate change poses serious risks to basic human progress, in areas such as alleviating poverty. Under the worst-case scenarios, factors like high food prices and intensified weather disasters would most likely leave poor people worse off. In fact, the report said, that has already happened to a degree.

In Washington, the Obama administration welcomed the report, with the president’s science adviser, John P. Holdren, calling it “yet another wake-up call to the global community that we must act together swiftly and aggressively in order to stem climate change and avoid its worst impacts.”

The administration is pushing for new limits on emissions from American power plants, but faces stiff resistance in Congress and some states.

Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton University and a principal author of the new report, said that a continuation of the political paralysis on emissions would leave society depending largely on luck.

If the level of greenhouse gases were to continue rising at a rapid pace over the coming decades, severe effects would be avoided only if the climate turned out to be far less sensitive to those gases than most scientists think likely, he said.

“We’ve seen many governments delay and delay and delay on implementing comprehensive emissions cuts,” Dr. Oppenheimer said. “So the need for a lot of luck looms larger and larger. Personally, I think it’s a slim reed to lean on for the fate of the planet.”