Capitol Police confirm security fence will go up ahead of pro-insurrectionist rally

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Intelligence reports warn that far-right extremist groups might attend a Sept. 18 rally in support of Jan. 6 rioters.

Ahead of a scheduled rally in support of people charged with crimes in connection with the riot by supporters of Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Capitol Police have confirmed that they will reinstall a temporary fence around the building.

Speaking with reporters on Monday, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said that he has briefed congressional leadership ahead of the "Justice For J6" rally that's scheduled to take place on Saturday, Sept. 18, at Union Square, the park near Capitol Hill, and said, "The fence will go up a day or two before, and if everything goes well, it'll come down very soon after."

The "Justice for J6" rally is being organized by Matt Braynard, a right-wing political operative who served as the data chief for Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. In 2017, Braynard founded a nonprofit political organization called Look Ahead America, which says its mission is to "register, educate, and enfranchise" the "millions of rural and blue-collar patriotic Americans who are disaffected and disenfranchised from the nation's corridors of power."

In the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election, however, Braynard and Look Ahead America promoted discredited conspiracy theories about voter fraud, claiming to have uncovered data that showed illegal voting that took place in Georgia. No evidence of voter fraud was found in Georgia.

But ever since the Jan. 6 insurrection, Braynard has shifted his organization's focus to rewriting the narrative of that day's events. In the past several months, Braynard has hosted a number of small rallies in support of the 600-some people who have been arrested since the riot at the Capitol, including a rally in mid-July at the D.C. Central Detention Facility that drew about 100 people.

In late July, Braynard went on Steve Bannon's podcast and announced plans for a larger rally at the U.S. Capitol to "push back on the phony narrative that there was an insurrection." On Sept. 1, the Associated Press reported that federal officials had collected intelligence suggesting that far-right extremist groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers were planning on attending the rally, although on Telegram and other encrypted social media platforms, official Proud Boys groups have signaled that they won't be attending the rally and have discouraged their members from doing so.

Two lawmakers who have previously expressed sympathy for the Jan. 6 insurrectionists — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) — have opted to not attend Braynard's rally, Politico reported on Sept. 8. Others, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), have not said whether they would be attending.

The American Independent Foundation reached out to spokespeople for Gaetz and Gosar about the rally, but neither had responded as of publication.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.