OnPolitics: FBI searching for link between Trump allies, Jan. 6 suspects – USA TODAY


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Happy Monday, OnPolitics readers!In case you missed it this weekend: Former President Donald Trump dangled the prospect of pardons for supporters who participated in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, if he returns to the White House."If I run and if I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6th fairly," Trump said Saturday night during a rally. "And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly."His promise didn't go unnoticed: Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis is asking the FBI to assess the security of the local government complex as authorities prepare to empanel a special grand jury to investigate the former president's intervention in Georgia's 2020 election.Willis said her request was prompted by Trump's Saturday appearance in Conroe, Texas, where he referred to "radical, vicious, racist prosecutors."It's Amy and Chelsey with today's top stories out of Washington.FBI still on the hunt for link between Jan. 6 suspects and Trump's inner circleFederal investigators asked suspects in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack, including members of the far-right extremist group Oath Keepers, about possible links between Donald Trump, his inner circle and the rioters.Federal prosecutors questioned defendants facing the most serious offenses and those who played cursory roles in the attack about possible connections to the former president and those close to him as the Justice Department continues a wide-ranging prosecution that's netted more than 725 arrests.Though investigators tried to find a possible connection between Trump and efforts to halt Congress' counting of Electoral College votes, according to court records and interviews with defense lawyers, defendants told investigators they had no links to Trump.Why focus the Oath Keepers in this case? The Oath Keepers have been at the heart of conspiracy charges from the attack for allegedly coordinating their travel, participating in paramilitary training and communicating during the attack through encrypted apps.At least 56 people, including 23 members of the Oath Keepers, have been charged with conspiracy, and four have pleaded guilty. No charges yet: Trump and allies such as his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who spoke at his rally, haven't been charged criminally in the conspiracy. Trump's and Giuliani's lawyers argued in civil lawsuits stemming from the attack that they can't be held liable for the violent actions of people who listened to their speeches.Real quick: stories you'll want to readSenate primaries to watch ahead of 2022 midterms: Alabama, Arizona, Missouri and North Carolina are among those to keep an eye on leading up to November.CRT tip line?: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's new critical race theory tip line that encourages parents to report "divisive" teaching methods spurs controversy.Biden considers Childs for SCOTUS: The White House confirms U.S. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs is on Biden's short list, upholding his pledge to nominate a Black woman to the highest court.Biden doubles down on universal pre-K: The president is pushing for the policy in his $1.75 trillion infrastructure package.Russia and U.S. tussle over Ukraine during UN Security Council meetingA United Nations Security Council meeting Monday transformed into a war of words when Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the Biden administration of "whipping up tensions and rhetoric and provoking escalation" over Ukraine.Nebenzia also suggested to U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield that the country invited "nationalists, radicals, Russophobes and pure Nazis," into Ukraine’s capital Kyiv by ousting a Kremlin-friendly president in 2014.Thomas-Greenfield also said Russia is “attempting, without any factual basis, to paint Ukraine and Western countries as the aggressors to fabricate a pretext for attack," and referred to the over 100,000 Russian troops stationed at the Ukrainian border poised to invade.The Security Council meeting was the first open session in which countries involved in the Ukraine crisis spoke publicly. The meeting took place despite Moscow’s attempt to block it, but Russia’s veto power and relationship to key allies, such as China, make any formal action by the Council extremely unlikely.  Ukrainian Americans fear a "massacre": Americans with friends, family in Ukraine trust their resiliency, but know the costs will be dire if Russia invades.Kremlin says "no plans to invade": Ukrainians brace for the worst despite Russia's stated intent. The Kremlin has not confirmed whether its security demands amid NATO's eastward expansion will be met.Looking for more to read? Six historically black colleges and universities throughout the country received bomb threats for the second time within a month. — Amy and Chelsey
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