The attack on Paul Pelosi is the latest threat to US democracy

American politics fester in violence, intimidation, and inhumanity as another election looms amid growing risks to political figures, all of whom pose grave threats to democracy.

New details Monday about the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband strongly suggest the alleged attacker had political motives and add to news reports that he was involved with social media conspiracies and election denials.

According to a federal affidavit, the defendant, David DePape, who will be charged Tuesday, told investigators he planned to kidnap a third-degree federal official and break his "kneecap" if he lied. In her absence, she said, her husband Paul Pelosi ended up "taking punishment instead" for allegedly hitting the 82-year-old woman in the head with a hammer, breaking her skull.

This version of events will be tested in court and it is too early to attribute any particular piece of political rhetoric to what happened. But the incident has left extremist politicians who use harsh words – but refuse to take responsibility for their words – even more vulnerable.

Perhaps the most remarkable by-product of the attack that appears to be aimed at the speaker is that it generates conspiracy theories and its own rhetorical atrocities. Once again, the wild and malicious torrent of falsehoods and misinformation circulating on social media and the ideological right creates alternative realities meant to obscure the truth, prevent accountability, and further pollute political discourse.

But such an increase in conspiracies and insensitive comments is not limited by the fringes on the internet; they also come from the likes of one of former President Donald Trump's sons and Republican Kari Lake, who is seeking governorship on the main battleground in Arizona. Lake appeared to mock Paul Pelosi for his attack and the security at his home. That anyone can find humor in physical attacks is troubling, especially given America's recent history of political violence.

Catalog of violence in politics

Pelosi's attack, which prosecutors in the case and outside criminal experts have described as politically motivated, did not happen in a vacuum. Suella Braverman 'risked life' with 'migrant invasion' claim day after firebomb attack Suella Braverman has been accused of putting her life at risk after claiming the south coast was facing an "invasion" by migrants, a day after the firebomb attack in Dover. 

The refugee charity described the comments of the embattled interior minister as "despicable" and "inhuman", while Labor accused him of using "grossly irresponsible" language that did not take public safety seriously.

The row erupted as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak came under increasing pressure over his decision to reappoint Braverman to the role last week, just days after he stepped down for breaching the ministerial code.

Hours before the "invasion" statement, he faced further questions over his resignation after he was forced to admit that he sent official documents to his personal email account six times, in clear violation of the rules. Braverman, who was also at the center of controversy earlier this month when he said it was his "dream" to send a plane full of migrants to Rwanda, defended his handling of the Kent asylum center crisis in the Commons.

He told MPs: "Let's be clear about what's really going on here: the British people deserve to know which side is serious about stopping the invasion of our south coast and which side is not.

“Around 40,000 people have arrived on the south coast this year alone. Many of them are facilitated by criminal gangs, some of them are actually members of criminal gangs.

"So let's stop pretending that they are all refugees in trouble. The whole country knows that's not true."

He also acknowledged the asylum system was "broken."

“We have to be straight with the community. Illegal migration is out of control and too many people are interested in playing the political game, hiding the truth rather than solving problems.”

The Joint Council for Immigrant Welfare called his comments "despicable" and added: "He put lives at risk."

Refugee Action said that the day after the petrol bomb attacks on innocent people "this rhetoric is putting so many people in danger" including refugees, Home Office staff, charity staff and volunteers.

Clare Moseley, from refugee charity Care4Calais, said: “For Suella Braverman to use language like 'invasion', to describe refugees - people fleeing conflict - is offensive. They know what it's like to be attacked. We're lucky most of us don't."

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “For a secretary of the interior to use seditious language on purpose the day after the petrol bomb attack at the initial processing center is utterly irresponsible. This is more evidence that Suella Braverman does not take public safety or national security seriously.”

It is estimated that there were more than 4,000 people at the Manston site near Ramsgate, not the intended maximum of 1,600. As his condition worsened, one 16-year-old said he was forced to sleep on top of the leftover lunch box, while another said he was shouted at for asking for something to eat.

Earlier, Conservative MP Roger Gale alleged that conditions in Manston had been "deliberately" caused by the Home Office, accusing his own government of "dog whistle politics", while Caroline Nokes, the former Conservative immigration minister, warned the "chaos" at the center would end with multiple charges. law against the government.

David Normington, a former senior civil servant in the Home Office, said Braverman might have broken the ministerial code, for the second time in a month, if he had deliberately decided not to book hotels to cope with overcrowding.

Braverman was forced to deny that he had "blocked" the use of the hotel to defuse the situation at the center after his predecessor Priti Patel effectively blamed him for the crisis.

The interior secretary told lawmakers that the use of another 30 hotels had been "agreed" since he took office. However, he was worried about the scale of its use.

Several "four-star" companies are used to accommodate migrants, he said, and the average Home Office spends £150 per person per night, and a total of £6.8 million a day, to accommodate people in hotels. "By my standards, it's a pretty good hotel," he added.

He also agreed with Conservative MP Lee Anderson's suggestion that some migrants could "get in a canoe and go straight back to France" if they believe accommodation in Britain is not good enough.

Patel suggested the matter occurred under the supervision of his successor, in particular highlighting the use of hotel rooms. “There was never any overcrowding when he was there. What will happen is, if it gets to the point where people become concerned about his condition, we will sign more hotels," said a source close to Patel.

The former interior minister considered it "the right thing to do", the source told the PA news agency.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael said the "scandal-ridden" interior minister "has no credibility anymore".

"These refugees are not an invasion, they are people who want to build a life for themselves and their families, contribute to our society and economy, and support themselves instead of relying on help."

SNP MP Anne McLaughlin said she was "disgusted ... to hear a minister of the interior deliberately use inflammatory language about vulnerable asylum seekers" and that the remarks were "shameful".

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