Chance Seales spoke with former FBI Director James Comey on "Newsy Tonight" about the threat to the inauguration and how the ideology could persist even after the even goes on safely.
Chance Seales, Newsy Tonight host: You've said there's a very serious risk at this inauguration in 2021. What worries you most?
James Comey, Former FBI Director: It worries me that we have thousands of Americans who have been radicalized, convinced that their election has been stolen from them and they need to act and act violently on behalf of this distorted view of reality and that they have access to firearms and through all over the country. And so what we saw explode on Capitol Hill is a very real threat. Now I think we can lock it down and have locked it down in a good way for the inauguration. That's depressing in a way that we have to do that. But we can make the space safe, although that doesn't make the threat go away.
Chance Seales: So when you say it's very serious, it's more that this ideology that has spread that's become a poison to our body politics, that that's the risk rather than a physical risk in your estimation?
James Comey: I think it's both. I think the lie that has poisoned the minds of so many Americans has been particularly effective at radicalizing those who were already part of that conspiracy minded racist misogynist stew that we've always had in the basement in America now because they've been motivated and driven by the president of the United States. They exploded into the daylight. So it's both a threat to people's mind and their conception of reality. And because they have weapons and think they're on the side of the angels, it becomes a physical threat, one we can address in this country and have to take seriously. But that is real.
Chance Seales: The FBI is now saying, QAnon, they've picked up these, I don't know chattering people out there saying, "We should pose as troops during this inauguration." What is the bigger concern here? Is it a big concentrated attack in concert, or is it the lone wolves out there that say, If I do this, I'm going to inspire others?
James Comey: I think there's both dimensions to this threat. The disturbed individual with access to weapons, who thinks he or she needs to act, and then these groups the proud boys and others who are organized and seeking to engage in attacks against capitols and landmarks.