- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 4, 2021

The deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol was a “watershed” moment for the White supremacist movement that will inspire future attacks within the coming months, a panel of counterterrorism terrorism experts told Congress on Thursday.

In the first public hearing on the assault on the Capitol, members of the House Homeland Security Committee pressed for answers about how to prevent future attacks.

The experts said domestic terrorists and white supremacists view the Jan. 6 attack as a rallying point because it was the closest they’ve come to fulfilling their fantasy of overthrowing the government.

“For [White supremacists] the sight of congressmen and congresswoman cowering under tables, confederate flags and Nazi symbols being paraded through the building was nothing short of a victory,” Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive officer of the Anti-Defamation League, said in his testimony.

Elizabeth Neumann, a former top official at the Department of Homeland Security, said it is “highly likely” that a terror attack inspired by the Capitol assault will occur within the next few months.

She said domestic terrorists will likely move on to soft targets such as infrastructure, media, tech, elected officials and law enforcement.

Republicans didn’t push back against claims that White supremacists were among the mob of pro-Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s election win. The mayhem resulted in the death of five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.

Instead, Republicans drew comparisons between the Capitol assault and violence during last summer’s protests against police brutality. Demonstrators burned and looted businesses, assaulted officers and rioted in the street in major cities across the country while protesting racial injustice.

“We must also speak out against more than 570 protests last year that turned violent resulting in 2,385 looting incidents, 624 arson incidents, and more than 2,000 police officers that were injured,” said Rep. Kat Cammack, Florida Republican.

Democrats blamed former President Donald Trump, saying his rhetoric incited the Capitol rioters. Mr. Trump headlined a rally in protest of Mr. Biden’s election victory that ended moments before the attack began.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas Democrat, said Mr. Trump’s words “emboldened” those who carried out the assault.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pushed to create a bipartisan commission to investigate how the mob was able to storm the building. The panel, modeled after the 9/11 commission that probed security weaknesses exposed by the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, also would review the rise of domestic terrorism.

Rep. John Katko of New York, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, has introduced a bill that would create such a panel.

“A bipartisan commission insulated from daily news and partisan politics can provide an accurate, thorough history of the events of Jan. 6,” Mr. Katko said.

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