U.S. 'insurrectionists' should be added to no-fly list, top Senate Democrat says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Supporters of President Donald Trump who breached the U.S. Capitol should be banned from flying, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday, calling those in the mob insurrectionists who are a threat to national security.

FILE PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 8, 2020. REUTERS/Erin Scott/File Photo

Schumer said U.S. officials should place people who were inside the Capitol building on the federal “no fly” list.

“We cannot allow these same insurrectionists to get on a plane and cause more violence and more damage,” Schumer said at a news briefing.

He discussed the matter with FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin of the Washington office told a news conference on Tuesday that the Justice Department has identified more than 170 potential suspects in the Capitol violence to date and charged more than 70.

Asked about the possibility of adding suspects to the no-fly list, Steven M. D’Antuono, an FBI official who heads the Washington Field Office, said it is “something that we are actively looking at.”

Schumer said in a letter on Tuesday to the FBI and Transportation Security Administration, “it is an attempt to stop democracy as we know it, using domestic terrorism to assault our system of government, thereby qualifying these insurrectionists for the No-Fly List.”

Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday and sent lawmakers running for safety, interrupting Congress’ work of formally certifying the Electoral College vote in favor of Democrat Joe Biden. Trump has falsely claimed the Nov. 3 election was rigged since losing it by a substantial margin.

U.S. airlines and law enforcement agencies bolstered security at Washington-area airports last week after reports of disruptive behavior by some Trump supporters on flights into the region, which raised concern about their departure.

A flight attendants union said Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol should not be allowed to depart Washington on commercial flights after exhibiting “mob mentality behavior” on flights into the region.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu, David Shepardson and Tim Ahmann in Washington; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Alexandra Hudson and Matthew Lewis