“As he continues this incendiary rhetoric, he’s inciting his supporters and inflaming the situation,” says Chuck Hagel, Defense Secretary under President Obama and former Republican Senator from Nebraska who signed a recent letter with the other nine living former defense secretaries that Trump’s election fraud claims are dangerous. “I’m concerned about violence.”…

Even in Washington, a city well-accustomed to a wide variety of protests, the mix of participants expected on Wednesday is at once surreal and worrisome, say law enforcement officials and extremism analysts. Republican officials and MAGA celebrities will join far-right groups, conspiracy theorists and self-styled militias – all of which have different ideas about what, exactly, constitutes this “final stand.” While members of Congress are tweeting about “defending democracy,” some online forums and messaging app participants are discussing “armed Americans” seizing the capital, hanging politicians, how to evade D.C. gun laws, and urging protestors to bring “as much ammo as you can carry.”…

Some extremism researchers say this week’s rallies could attract larger numbers of more extremist participants than recent demonstrations, due in part to the apocalyptic importance these groups have given to Wednesday’s certification. Among the groups who have said they will attend are the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group that has become a fixture at recent pro-Trump rallies after pledging allegiance to Trump when he told them to “stand back and stand by” during a presidential debate in September, which was received as a call to arms.