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The United States Capitol Building was breached by protesters during a The United States Capitol Building was breached by protesters during a "Stop The Steal" rally in support of President Donald Trump, Washington, D.C., Jan. 1, 2021 (Photo by John Nacion for STAR MAX/IPx via AP images).

Deplatforming Pro-Trump Extremists Could Drive Them Underground

Friday, Jan. 15, 2021

The son of a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge. A masonry worker from Des Moines, Iowa. A one-time Cleveland educator who said a day after the siege that she was “switching paths” to expose the “global evil of human trafficking and pedophilia.” A guy wearing a knit cap bearing the logo of the Chicago Fire Department, known on Twitter only as #extinguisherman for the footage showing him wielding an extinguisher near the steps where Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick was beaten to death. These are the new anti-heroes of American democracy’s violent convulsions.

There are hundreds more pro-Trump supporters implicated in the political violence at the Capitol building last week. Authorities have reportedly charged at least 70 people and opened investigative files on 170 others. Many of the leads have come from crowdsourced clues in a deluge of social media posts on Twitter, Facebook and, before it was taken down, Parler, the social media network popular with the far right. Given the dire warnings from the FBI about forthcoming planned armed marches in Washington and in state capitals across the country, we may soon be drowning in details of the virtual lives of thousands of more radicalized Americans by Inauguration Day next week, and probably beyond. ...

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