Six Months Later, Biden Calls For ‘Courage’ In Investigating Capitol Attack

 In this file photo taken on January 6, 2021 riot police push back a crowd of supporters of US President Donald Trump after they stormed the Capitol building in Washington, DC. Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP.

 

Six months after the insurrection at the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump, President Joe Biden called on Congress to investigate the assault, calling it an “existential crisis” for democracy.

“Not even during the Civil War did insurrectionists breach our Capitol, the citadel of our democracy,” Biden said in a statement. “But six months ago today, insurrectionists did.”

“This was not dissent. It was disorder. It posed an existential crisis and a test of whether our democracy could survive — a sad reminder that there is nothing guaranteed about our democracy,” Biden  said of the January 6 attack, meant to disrupt a session of Congress called to certify Biden’s election win over then president Trump.

Biden called on “people of goodwill and courage” to investigate the riot and its origins and urged Democrats, Republicans and independents to work together.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month announced a special commission to investigate the Capitol assault, after a proposal to create an independent investigative committee — resembling the 9/11 commission — was blocked by Senate Republicans, who said existing congressional and law enforcement investigations were sufficient.

The new special commission, which will aim to centralize those multiple congressional committees, will have the power to summon witnesses and documents, but it risks being seen as partisan.

In this file photo ex-US President Donald Trump speaks following a section of the border wall in Alamo, Texas, on January 12, 2021.  MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

Trump gave a speech to supporters gathered for a rally outside the White House January 6, before much of the crowd marched to the Capitol and broke into the building during the session to certify Biden as president.

Trump had repeatedly and falsely claimed the election was marred by fraud and that victory was stolen from him.

The assault was stunningly violent and chaotic and left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump for an unprecedented second time over the riot, saying he instigated it but the Senate acquitted him.

AFP

North Korea Accuses Biden Of Pursuing ‘Hostile Policy,’ Warns Of Response

A photo combination of US President Joe Biden and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
A photo combination of US President Joe Biden and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

 

North Korea on Sunday accused US President Joe Biden of pursuing a hostile policy, dismissing “spurious” American diplomacy and warning of a response.

Biden had said Wednesday that his administration would deal with the threat posed by Pyongyang’s nuclear programme “through diplomacy as well as stern deterrence”.

The White House said Friday that the president was open to negotiations with North Korea on denuclearisation following the completion of a policy review, but Pyongyang said Biden had made a “big blunder”.

“His statement clearly reflects his intent to keep enforcing the hostile policy toward the DPRK as it had been done by the U.S. for over half a century,” Kwon Jung Gun, a foreign ministry official, said in a statement released by the official KCNA news agency.

“The U.S.-claimed ‘diplomacy’ is a spurious signboard for covering up its hostile acts, and ‘deterrence’ touted by it is just a means for posing nuclear threats to the DPRK,” Kwon added, using the official name of North Korea.

“Now that what the keynote of the U.S. new DPRK policy has become clear, we will be compelled to press for corresponding measures.”

The White House said Friday that its goal remains “the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.

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Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki gave little indication of what kind of diplomatic initiative this could entail but suggested that the president had learned from the experience of his predecessors, who struggled to deal with North Korea’s leadership and its nuclear weapons programme.

But Psaki said Washington would not “focus on achieving a grand bargain”, apparently referring to the kind of dramatic over-arching deal that former president Donald Trump initially suggested was possible when he met with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.

Neither would the White House follow the more standoffish approach espoused by Barack Obama, she added.

‘A political trick’ 

In a separate statement through KCNA Sunday, North Korea also accused the United States of insulting its leadership and its anti-coronavirus measures, referring to a State Department press release on April 28.

State Department spokesman Ned Price had issued a statement that day criticising North Korea’s human rights abuses and draconian Covid-19 curbs, describing it as “one of the most repressive and totalitarian states in the world”.

File photo:  U.S. President Joe Biden listens during a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate with 40 world leaders in the East Room of the White House on April 22, 2021, in Washington, DC. Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images/AFP

 

“The ‘human rights issue’ touted by the U.S. is a political trick designed to destroy the ideology and social system in the DPRK,” the North Korean foreign ministry said in the statement.

And in a third statement issued Sunday, Kim Jong Un’s powerful sister Kim Yo Jong lashed out at South Korea over a recent anti-Pyongyang leaflet campaign by a defector group.

Activist groups have long sent flyers critical of the North Korean leadership over human rights abuses and its nuclear ambitions across the Demilitarized Zone dividing the peninsula, either flying them by hot air balloon or floating them across rivers.

The leaflets have infuriated Pyongyang, which issued a series of vitriolic condemnations last year demanding Seoul take action and upped the pressure by blowing up an inter-Korean liaison office on its side of the border.

The South Korean parliament rapidly passed a law criminalising the leaflet campaigns in December, raising concerns over freedom of speech.

But a defector group said it flew 500,000 leaflets near the DMZ last week in defiance of the law.

Kim Yo Jong blamed South Korean authorities for not stopping them.

“We regard the maneuvers committed by the human wastes in the south as a serious provocation against our state and will look into corresponding action,” she said.

AFP

Woman Shot Dead In US Capitol Was A Veteran And Trump Supporter

Protesters gather outside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/AFP

 

The woman who died Wednesday of a bullet wound during the violent storming of the US Capitol was shot by police, authorities said.

The only fatality tied to Wednesday’s unrest was the woman, reportedly a dedicated Donald Trump backer and air force veteran who was among a throng of supporters of the president that invaded the US legislature.

Washington police chief Robert Contee said three other people, one woman and two men, had died Wednesday in the area around the Capitol, but did not link those deaths to the violence.

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Each of the three “appeared to have suffered medical emergencies which resulted in their deaths,” Contee told reporters.

Contee said 52 people had been arrested Wednesday, 26 of them on the grounds of the Capitol, for curfew violations, unlawful entry and weapons charges.

Fourteen police were injured, one seriously after he was pulled into a crowd and assaulted, he added.

 

Damage is seen inside the US Capitol building early on January 7, 2020, in Washington, DC, after supporters of US President Donald Trump breached security and entered the building during a session of Congress. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP

 

He also said two pipe bombs had been discovered near the Capitol, one at Democratic Party offices and the other at Republican Party offices.

In addition, a vehicle was discovered parked on Capitol grounds with a long gun and Molotov cocktails inside.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser announced an extension of the city’s state of emergency for 15 days through the January 20 presidential inauguration of Joe Biden, amid fears Trump and his supporters will continue to threaten violence over their unsupported claims that Biden’s election win was fraudulent.

“I know that I speak for all of us when I say that we saw an unprecedented attack on our American democracy incited by the United States president, and he must be held accountable,” Bowser said.

Trump was blamed for the death of the woman, one of the thousands of supporters he urged to descend on the Capitol after a midday rally at the White House in which he told them that he lost the November 3 election due to massive fraud.

They flocked to the Congress just as it opened a joint session to certify Biden as the election winner.

– Strong Trump supporter –
The dead woman was identified in US media as Ashli Babbitt, a backer of the president from San Diego, California who had served in the United States Air Force.

 

U.S. Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

 

She was shot amid chaotic and violent scenes inside the Capitol building, where some security personnel drew their guns to protect lawmakers as protesters advanced.

“She was a strong supporter of President Trump,” San Diego TV station KUSI reported, citing the woman’s husband.

Babbitt identified herself as a veteran on her Twitter account and noted her love for the US. She had recently retweeted messages in support of Trump and from those coming to Washington for Wednesday’s rally.

“Nothing will stop us….they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours….dark to light!”, she wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.

“I really don’t know why she decided to do this,” her mother-in-law reportedly told the station about her trip to Washington to join pro-Trump protests.

AFP