According to The Washington Post, an online activist group known as Anonymous posted what it says are the private contact details of 22 Republican members of Congress. The group says the action is intended to convince the lawmakers to impeach President Trump.
The report says Anonymous published the cellphone numbers and email addresses of the Congress members to entice people to contact them in order to “forcefully condemn the president and call for Trump’s impeachment.”
According to the Post:
“Rob Pfeiffer, chief editor of online publication The Anon Journal, told The Washington Post this morning that the move was spurred by Trump’s contentious reaction to violent clashes in Charlottesville over the weekend. The president set off a furor after he made it clear he had no intention of backing down from his claims that “both sides” were to blame for the mayhem that left one woman dead and dozens of others injured.”
President Trump has been heavily criticized for not specifically condemning the neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan groups that attended a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.
The event, called “Unite the Right,” was a permitted rally in protest of the removal of a General Robert E. Lee statue from Lee Park. Counter-protesters, some from the activist groups Antifa and Black Lives Matter, were also in attendance. Violence broke out as the two groups clashed.
The president initially condemned the violence on “many sides,” then specifically called out the racially inflammatory groups by name on Monday. Many felt the condemnation was too late.
On Tuesday, the president reiterated his stance that multiple groups were responsible for the chaos in Charlottesville. The president’s stance is causing friction as many want him to only hold one group responsible for the illegal activity.
Calls for the president’s impeachment over his comments came from two House Democrats, Rep. Gwen Moore, (D-Wis.) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), later that day.
A trio of Democratic Congress members also unveiled a resolution to censure him for his handling of the violence stemming from the rally. Authored by Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler (N.Y.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.), the resolution says Trump’s response to the violence was inadequate and that he failed “to immediately and specifically name and condemn the white supremacist groups responsible for actions of domestic terrorism.”
According to the Post, the private information released by Anonymous Thursday was obtained by a group known as “AnonOps.” The Post writes:
“Pfeiffer said he did not know how the information was obtained, whether it was a leak or an online hack. He said some of the cellphone numbers, for example, had been verified as real. Among the politicians on the list were U.S. Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa.”
It has been almost two years since any significant action has been taken by the online activist hacking group. It did not involve itself in last year’s presidential campaign, as did online organizations WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0.
According to the Post, Pfeiffer said suspension of activity changed because the president “did something in the past few days” that “clicked” with the group.
On Sunday, a white supremacist site called The Daily Stormer went offline and blamed Anonymous. A small feud was ignited as Anonymous denied the charge, perhaps spurring them to involve themselves further into a controversy that began with white supremacist activities in Virginia.
Some Anonymous members have also initiated “Denouncement Day,” asking for people to tear down Confederate statues in 11 cities.
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