During a segment on CNN This Morning, anchor Poppy Harlow and co-anchor Sara Sidner invited CNN law enforcement analyst Andrew McCabe to discuss the recent incident where a man bearing a Nazi flag attempted to crash through barricades at the White House to kill Joe Biden. The man was subsequently arrested and charged with various offenses, including threatening harm to the president and destruction of federal property.
McCabe, a former FBI Deputy Director, attributed the incident to white supremacy and drew a connection between this attack and the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6th. Harlow expressed concern about the intentional nature of the act and the disturbing contents found on the suspect.
McCabe emphasized that the charges themselves indicated the deliberate nature of the act and suggested that the prosecutors must have had a factual basis to accuse the individual of attempting to harm or kill the president. He speculated that evidence collected from the truck, including a potential notebook or online postings, might have provided additional proof of the suspect’s intent to target the White House.
Sidner then raised the issue of the prevailing threat posed by white supremacism and far-right extremists in the country. McCabe concurred with her assessment, highlighting that the FBI and Homeland Security officials had consistently identified domestic violent extremists, particularly those motivated by anti-Black racial sentiments, as the primary terrorist threat in the United States.
He drew a parallel between the man carrying the Nazi flag at the White House and some individuals involved in the January 6th Capitol attack, noting the presence of similar extremist symbols, such as Confederate flags and Nazi flags.
McCabe clarified that while it was difficult to determine the extent of coordination between these events, the commonality of ideology indicated a thread of racially-motivated extremism in the country, which was now targeting government institutions. He stressed the importance of recognizing and addressing this alarming trend, given the focus of security professionals on combating such threats.
POPPY HARLOW: People are waking up to this. What should they be thinking? Because the Secret Service is saying this may have been intentional. And then you look at the contents of what this suspect apparently had on him.
ANDREW MCCABE: Well, Poppy, I think that the charges alone speak to the intentionality of the act. Right? So prosecutors have to have a factual basis to be able to charge this person with those, with trying to, attempting to kill or maim the president. They’ve got to have probable cause to be able to do that. So they have some information or evidence that indicates very clearly that this was an intentional act.
That’s coming not just from obviously the physical things that we see, the the video of the, of the truck ramming the barricade, but likely even from material they collected from within the truck. We’ve heard that there’s been a notebook. There may be writings or statements or maybe postings online, things like that, that are telling them that this person’s intent was, in fact, to target the president or someone in the White House, which is, you know, particularly, particularly concerning.
SARA SIDNER: Andrew. For, for so, so long, we’ve been hearing not only from the president, but but even the FBI director that white supremacism, far right wing extremists are the biggest threat to this country and its safety. And then you look at the contents of this person’s backpack and you can’t help but think, I guess they’re right.
ANDREW MCCABE: That’s absolutely right, Sarah. I mean, we’ve heard this again and again from the director of the FBI, from the secretary of Homeland Security and others testifying in front of Congress that this is the number one, certainly the number one terrorist threat that they’re tracking right now, that is domestic violent extremists, and particularly domestic violent extremists who are motivated by anti-Black racial sentiments. Right. So this fits very neatly within that warning that we’ve heard again and again.
And I think you have to draw a line from this apparent attack on the White House by someone bearing a Nazi flag to at least some of the people, it’s hard to say how many, but some of the people involved in the January 6th attack on the Capitol. How do we know that? Because some of those folks were carrying the same sort of symbols, Nazi flags, Confederate flags, things like that, that show you a commonality of ideology.
It doesn’t mean that they all know each other and they were all planning those two events together. But it shows you there is a thread of extremism, and particularly racially-motivated extremism in this country that is also now directed at institutions of government.
So these are things that our security professionals are very focused on right now. And as we saw last night, for good reason.
POPPY HARLOW: It’s terrifying! Andrew McCabe, thank you for all that.