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Queens congresswoman calls for FBI investigation into Parler’s role in Capitol assault

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney asks the FBI to launch a probe into Parler for the role it played in the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building. (Reuters/Leah Millis)

Western Queens Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is calling for a probe into the Parler app and its involvement in the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The unmoderated social media site was removed from web-hosting services after allowing pro-Trump supporters to coordinate plans for the storming of the building on the day Congress was attempting to certify President Joseph Biden’s election.

Maloney, the chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting a comprehensive investigation into the role that Parler played in the riots.

“I am writing to request that as part of the comprehensive investigation into the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conduct a robust examination of the role that the social media site Parler played in the assault, including as a potential facilitator of and incitement related to the violence, as a repository of key evidence posted by users of its site, and as a potential conduit for foreign governments who may be financing civil unrest in the United States,” Maloney wrote.

In the days and weeks prior to the storming of the Capitol, there was a rise of violent threats on Parler against elected officials for their role in certifying the election results, and later, against Congress and its constitutional role in counting electoral votes. Numerous Parler users have been arrested and charged with threatening violence against elected officials or for their role in participating in the attack directly.

Maloney cited one example of one recently unsealed complaint in which the Justice Department alleged that one conspirator in the insurrection posted a message on Parler that read:

“Headed to D.C. to give the GOP some backbone, to let them know this is their last chance to Stop The Steal, or they are going to have bigger problems than these coddled Antifa burning down their safe spaces. DC announced it is ‘banning guns’ when we storm the Capitol tomorrow. Very Illegal. Whether the police can enforce their gun laws depends on how many armed Patriots show up. Ironically, in the long list of firearms and weapons banned by the DC ordinance, tomahawks are not mentioned, meaning there is no prohibition against carrying a tomahawk as long as it is not used offensively! The tomahawk revolution — real 1776.”

Maloney is also asking the FBI to review Parler’s financing and its ties to Russia, given that the company has re-emerged on a Russian hosting service after being shut down by Amazon Web Services.

“In addition, as the Committee conducts its own investigation of these matters to inform its oversight and legislative efforts, I request a meeting with appropriate FBI officials on the status and scope of its review, consistent with protecting the integrity of law enforcement efforts on this front,” Maloney wrote.

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