POLITICS

House Democrats Express 'Grave Concerns' About Safety, 'Violent Threats' To Democracy

House committee chairs said "more must be done" to preempt potential attacks by “domestic violent extremists" ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration.

After meeting with the FBI on Tuesday, a group of top Democratic lawmakers expressed “grave concerns” about safety and said “more must be done” to preempt potential attacks by “domestic violent extremists.”

The Democratic chairs of five House committees ― homeland security, justice, oversight, intelligence and armed services — said in a statement that they were working closely with other congressional leaders and “all appropriate federal, state and local authorities” to address these security concerns.

“Based on today’s briefing [with the FBI], we have grave concerns about ongoing and violent threats to our democracy,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “It is clear that more must be done to preempt, penetrate, and prevent deadly and seditious assaults by domestic violent extremists in the days ahead.”

The joint statement was signed by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chair of the judiciary committee; Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chair of the intelligence committee; Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chair of the homeland security committee; Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), armed services committee chair; and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), oversight committee chair. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), a member of the oversight committee, was also a co-signee.

Although the statement did not detail specific threats, law enforcement has reportedly warned House Democrats of “multiple plots to harm lawmakers.” A Georgia man was arrested last week for threatening to kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; USA Today reported Tuesday that an Illinois man was charged with sending death threats to four U.S. House members.

The security warnings follow last Wednesday’s violent siege of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump. Lawmakers had gathered at the Capitol that day to formally certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory, but the rioters — some of whom stalked the halls looking for legislators — forced senators and House members to seek shelter and evacuate. Lawmakers eventually reconvened and certified Biden’s win.

The group of House committee chairs said Tuesday that the FBI “will prosecute every individual associated” with the riot, including “anyone who entered restricted areas outside the Capitol, as well as those who breached the Capitol itself.” 

“We demand full accountability not only to hold those perpetrators responsible, but to send a strong signal that future seditious activity will not be tolerated and will be met with the full force of the law,” the lawmakers said.