“Reminder that the U.S. Presidential Inauguration day is on January 20th. That is the next date on the calendar that the Pro-Trump and other nationalist crowds will potentially converge on the Capitol again,” a white supremacist Telegram channel posted.
On Wimkin, another platform, a group calling itself “Million Militia March” issued this call: “IF OUR COUNTRY DIES on 1/20, it won’t be the only thing that dies. President Trump will die, they will hang him, if not by a rope they will end him in some way. Don Jr. too. Eric too. Ivanka. Barron. The First Lady. They will not leave ANY Trump free to avenge what they have done to their father. THEY FOUGHT FOR US. What are WE going to DO?”
"I am very concerned for the inauguration," said Art Acevedo, the police chief in Houston who heads the Major Cities Chiefs Association. "Between now and Jan. 20, the strongest possible measures have to be put in place. They (security officials) need to imagine the unimaginable. Whatever they had planned before needs to multiply by tenfold."
Right-wing extremists are using channels on the encrypted communication app Telegram to call for violence against government officials on Jan. 20, the day President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated, with some extremists sharing knowledge of how to make, conceal and use homemade guns and bombs.
The messages are being posted in Telegram chatrooms where white supremacist content has been freely shared for months, but chatter on these channels has increased since extremists have been forced off other platforms in the wake of the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.
Telegram is a Dubai-based messaging service that does little moderation of its content and has a sizable international user base, particularly in eastern Europe and the Middle East.
In the days since the Capitol attack, for example, a U.S. Army field manual and exhortations to "shoot politicians" and "encourage armed struggle" have been posted in a Telegram channel that uses "fascist" in its name.
Chris Sampson, chief of research at the defense research institute Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics and Radical Ideologies, said his group is focused on and concerned about users of the channel and has alerted the FBI about it. (TAPSTRI is run by Malcolm Nance, an NBC News terrorism analyst.)
“When they start calling for assassinations, when they start calling for action versus sharing information, we flag them a little higher," said Sampson. "Some channels merely swap information, but then they accelerated into conversations of where to be.”