AP Archive – Jan 10, 2021
(6 Jan 2021) Two pardoned former advisors of President Donald Trump, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and former campaign advisor George Papadopoulos were among a parade of speakers at a pro-Trump rally just blocks from the White House Tuesday evening.
Hundreds of Trump supporters – many without masks – gathered in Freedom Plaza to cheer Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud a day before a congressional vote to affirm Joe Biden’s victory.
Trump pardoned Flynn after he was twice convicted of lying to the FBI in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
As temperatures dropped to the low 40s and a steady rain swept onto the streets, hundreds remained in the plaza into nightfall.
The rallies had local officials and law enforcement bracing for potential violent street clashes. Many businesses in downtown Washington boarded up their windows, fearful that the protest could devolve into the unrest seen in May and June when dozens of businesses were vandalized.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser called in National Guard troops to help bolster the city’s police force.
The protests coincide with Wednesday’s congressional vote expected to certify the Electoral College results, which Trump continues to dispute.
Trump tweeted support for his supporters and he is expected to personally address them in Washington on Wednesday during a rally on the Ellipse, just south of the White House.
Election officials from both political parties, governors in key battleground states and Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have said there was no widespread fraud in the election.
Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two challenges rejected by the Supreme Court.