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Democrats seek political dividends from Jan. 6 riot, says former FBI agent

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Pro-Trump supporters storm the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Getty Images file)

Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are desperately trying to reap political dividends from the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, according to a former American spy and whistleblower.

Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent and whistleblower, in an interview with Sputnik news agency on Tuesday said the Democrats are “trying their hardest to make hay out of the incident to their respective advantage”.

“They can probably claim some success in scoring political points - but it remains to be seen how much farther they can go with it", said Rowley, who was named one of TIME's Persons of the Year in 2002.

Former US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he was cancelling his January 6 press meet as the Democratic-led congressional panel has intensified its probe into last year's riot on the Capitol.

Trump said he called off the press briefing "in light of the total bias and dishonesty of the January 6th Unselect Committee of Democrats, two failed Republicans, and the Fake News Media".

A vast majority of Americans, around 60 percent, believe Trump's level of responsibility for the attack was either a "great deal" or a "good amount," according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll released on Saturday.

The committee tasked with investigating the events of the January 6 riot has issued dozens of subpoenas to Trump’s current and former associates.

The US House of Representatives had impeached Trump a week after the incident, dubbed a landmark stain on American democracy, for inciting an insurrection. The US Senate acquitted him.

Rowley said she doubted the attack on the Capitol would have much of a lasting impact, although it hurt American pride in its democratic institutions, accusing the press of “exacerbating perceptions of the situation.”

"Mainstream media did a good job, by constantly singling out the most bizarre/extremist elements, for instance, the multi-coloured 'Shaman', adorned with buffalo fur and horns, thus making the protesters look unhinged", Rowley stressed.

She said there is less possibility of Jan 6 like incidents repeating in the future, but “that doesn't mean the ever-more polarised country is not on the verge of a kind of 'civil war'”.

On Thursday, the US will mark first anniversary of the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol when pro-Trump supporters stormed the highly-fortified compound in an attempt to prevent the Congress from certifying the election win of Joe Biden.

At least seven people died in the incident, including a police officer, and more than 700 have been arrested for crimes related to the breach so far.

Both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are scheduled to give speeches marking the anniversary.

“Our party has to choose,” Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the vice chairwoman of the Jan. 6 committee and one of two Republican panel members, said in a TV interview on Sunday.

“We can either be loyal to Donald Trump or we can be loyal to the Constitution, but we cannot be both. And right now there are far too many Republicans who are trying to enable the former president,” said Cheney, who has been highly critical of Trump’s role in the riot.

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