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Army investigating officer for attending pro-Trump rally in D.C.

Army investigating officer for attending pro-Trump rally in D.C.

An Army officer is under investigation for joining last week's rally in support of President Donald Trump and the subsequent deadly riot at the U.S. C

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An Army officer is under investigation for joining last week’s rally in support of President Donald Trump and the subsequent deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to an Army spokesperson.

Emily Rainey talks to WRAL in Southern Pines, N.C., in May 2020.WRAL

Emily Rainey, a 30-year-old psychological operations officer stationed at Fort Bragg, told the Associated Press she led 100 members of a conservative advocacy group in North Carolina to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday “to stand against election fraud.”

“I was a private citizen and doing everything right and within my rights,” Rainey told the AP on Sunday.

Army spokesperson Maj. Dan Lessard told NBC News that the Army opened a new investigation into her participation in the rally and subsequent riots.

“We are aware of her presence at the event and we are investigating her involvement to determine the exact extent. It’s not clear at this time that she has violated any laws or regulations by her presence or actions, that’s why we investigate to determine the facts.”

Lessard said there is currently no evidence that any other service members joined Rainey.

Although Rainey had reportedly resigned after the investigation into her participation in the rally was launched, Lessard said she submitted a letter of resignation in October and was approved in November to separate from the Army in April 2021.

“Since this was before, it was not tied to the events in D.C. at all,” Lessard said.

NBC News was unable to reach Rainey via text messages or phone calls made Monday and her voicemail was full.

Rainey denied entering the Capitol building and told the AP she and her group, the Moore County Citizens for Freedom (MCCF), are “peace-loving, law-abiding people who were doing nothing but demonstrating our First Amendment rights.”

A day after the Capitol riot, the MCCF shared a video of an unmasked group of peaceful protesters waving American and Trump flags and singing the national anthem.

“This is what a peaceful protest looks like. They should pray we stay that way,” the post reads.

MCCF’s Facebook page was one of many that helped promote the Washington, D.C., rally, sharing videos of baseless election fraud conspiracy theories alongside posts promoting chartered trips to Wednesday’s gathering to oppose the Electoral College certification of president-elect Joe Biden.

The rally, where Trump spoke, culminated with thousands of his supporters storming the U.S. Capitol Building. Five people died as a result of the mob overtaking the halls of Congress, including a Capitol police officer who was attacked by rioters and later died of his injuries.

In a video post introducing herself as “Emily Grace,” Rainey said MCCF is nonpartisan group which “means that we don’t align ourselves or answer to any political party.” The group lists its number one issue as “reopening North Carolina to pre-Covid standards” and opposes mask and vaccine mandates.

For the “10 million MAGA march,” according to its Facebook event page, MCCF charged members $70 each for a coach bus to and from Washington, saying that the Republican party provided the rental.

“The GOP has rented a bus for January 6. We are leaving the Belk Plaza at 4:00AM and arriving at Freedom Plaza around 9:30 AM. Leaving DC at 6:00 PM,” the event description reads.

Earlier this summer, Rainey had a minor run-in with law enforcement that she broadcast as part of a social media protest.

NBC affiliate WRAL reported that Rainey was charged with property damage and banned from a playground after she filmed and shared a video of herself pulling the caution tape off of a playground that was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“All you freedom fighters, this is for you,'” Rainey said into her camera before tearing down the caution tape.

Speaking to WRAL, Rainey said “healthy people should have their constitutional rights to gather and to play with their children at the park.”

Police told WRAL that Rainey tore the tape down on two prior instances and that the misdemeanor charges came after she ignored two prior police warnings.

Lessard said the Army command was aware of Rainey’s park protests last year and “took appropriate administrative action” at that time.

The Associated Press contributed.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Nbcnews.com

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