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Biden’s White House orders assessment on violent extremism within U.S.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / JAN. 6
                                Smoke fills the walkway outside the Senate Chamber as supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by U.S. Capitol police officers inside the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS / JAN. 6

    Smoke fills the walkway outside the Senate Chamber as supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by U.S. Capitol police officers inside the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6.

WASHINGTON >> President Joe Biden on Friday ordered the director of national intelligence to work with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the threat from domestic violent extremism, a sign of how seriously the new administration is taking the issue in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

The request comes only days after Avril Haines, newly installed director of national intelligence, pledged to members of Congress during her confirmation hearing that she would help with just such an assessment.

The new intelligence work began as people charged in the mob attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump continued to appear in court. On Friday, a federal magistrate judge in Dayton, Ohio, ordered Donovan Crowl, an accused rioter linked to the far-right group the Oath Keepers, detained until his trial, citing the safety of the community.

Domestic terrorism and violent groups are a thorny issue for intelligence agencies like the CIA, which are limited to tracking attempts by foreign governments or organizations to influence extremist groups in America.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have more leeway to investigate domestic groups and homegrown terrorism.

Growing concern about these groups is also reflected in the tough stances judges have taken with those arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 riot.

On Friday in Arkansas, a magistrate judge denied bail to Peter F. Stager of Conway, Arkansas, ordering that he remain in custody until trial. Stager, 41, was taken into custody on Jan. 14 and charged with obstructing law enforcement officers, a felony, after officials identified him as the person seen attacking a police officer on the steps of the Capitol in a widely viewed video, according to the criminal complaint.

Another accused rioter, Scott Kevin Fairlamb, was arrested Friday in New Jersey, after various tipsters submitted evidence to law enforcement.

And in New York, a federal magistrate judge denied bail on Friday for Jeffrey Sabol, a geophysicist from Colorado accused of dragging a police officer down the stairs outside the Capitol and allowing another rioter to beat the officer with an American flag.

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