US Military Leaders issue rare warning to service members

America’s most senior military leaders have condemned the violent invasion of the US Capitol last week and reminded service members of their obligation to support and defend the Constitution and reject extremism in a statement that underscored the unprecedented challenges facing the country in the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection attempt by President Donald Trump’s supporters.

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“We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law.

The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection,” said the statement, released Tuesday and signed by America’s most senior general, Mark Milley, and the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff, which is comprised of the heads of each military branch.

The extraordinary statement underscores the scale of the challenge and the depth of the uncertainty and concern in Washington, where officials across the US security establishment scramble to deal with the aftermath of the chaos at the Capitol, and around the country, as all 50 states are preparing for possible violence.

At the same time, federal officials are determining how best to protect lawmakers in the seat of American democracy, as more information comes to light about Trump supporters’ plans to stage another attack and disrupt the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

These efforts are underway across security agencies at federal and local levels as Washington’s political drama continues to unfold. The House is expected to vote Wednesday on Trump’s second impeachment, as significant cracks began appearing in GOP support for the President.

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The President, meanwhile, insisted on Tuesday that he believes he bears no responsibility f

or the insurrection carried out by his supporters and has yet to explicitly call on them to refrain from launching another assault on the Capitol.

As Washington readies for any possibility, officials there unveiled security efforts ranging from immediate and concrete steps by the US Capitol Police, which announced road closures around the Capitol that will last indefinitely, to a massive forensic effort by the Justice Department to reconstruct the events of January 6 and the perpetrators behind crimes committed that day.

Federal investigators told reporters Tuesday the scope and the scale of that wide ranging probe is unprecedented in FBI and Justice Department history and is creating a picture of the insurrection that will “shock” people. That work unfolds even as investigators say they are also focused on preventing future attacks.

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