Trump throws security cordon over Washington ahead Biden's inauguration

By AdvocateNews on 12/01/2021

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A security cordon has been thrown over Washington DC, the US seat of power, where President-elect, Joe Biden is supposed to be inaugurated as the 46th President on the next one week.

Dailymail, reports say that President Donald Trump, declared a state of emergency in city as police revealed three plots to attack the Capitol ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration - including the 'largest armed protest in American history.'   

It comes as the FBI alerted its staff to possible uprisings at capitols in all 50 states ahead of Inauguration Day, particularly if Trump is removed from office before Biden enters the White House. 

Trump's declaration allows the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate with local authorities as Democrats had been furiously demanding.

On Monday night, the new chiefs of Capitol Police told House Democrats they were looking into three separate plans, including one described as 'the largest armed protest ever to take place on American soil.'

But the most concerning is said to involve armed rioters encircling the Capitol and blocking Democrats from entering - killing them if necessary - so that Republicans can take command of government.

Another protest is being planned in honor of Ashli Babbitt, the USAF veteran who was shot at point blank range by a police officer as she tried to clamber into the Speaker's Lobby during the Trump mob's siege. 

'It was pretty overwhelming,' one Democrat told Huffington Post of the police briefing. 

Meanwhile the FBI's internal memo warned of a group which was calling for the 'storming' of state, local and federal government buildings, as well as court houses if Trump is removed from office.

The bulletin came to light just as Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced an article of impeachment accusing Trump of incitement to insurrection, five days after the mob of the president's supporters stormed the Capitol, leaving five people dead in a futile bid to overturn the general election.   

More than 6,000 members of the National Guard were deployed to Washington, DC, over the weekend, with dozens of them standing guard over the Capitol during Monday's proceedings.

Capitol Police told Congress that it was preparing for up to tens of thousands of Trump supporters arriving in the days ahead, including possible violence to take control of the White House and the Supreme Court.

Working alongside their colleagues in the National Guard, the police are said to have told Democrats that they had agreed on rules of engagement in the eventuality of an armed demonstration.

They do not plan to shoot anyone unless fired at first, but they added that there were exceptions to the rule.

The police urged caution on lawmakers about leaking any specifics to the press because Big Tech had so successfully 'cut off main communications' that many could now only learn of plans through traditional media. 

One member remarked that the Silicon Valley gagging order on Trump's supporters 'might ultimately save lives.' 

But as the Capitol Police expressed confidence it was making sufficient plans to combat any violent uprisings, some lawmakers questioned whether this was the case given the lax security last week.

One Democrat told the police chiefs that there was clear evidence that some in the police department could be 'in league with the insurrectionists who love to carry their guns.'

'You can't just let them bypass security and walk right up to Biden and Harris at inauguration,' this lawmaker told HuffPost. 

A further area of Democrat speculation surrounded whether the Trump administration was preventing federal law enforcement from lending its expertise to the police. 

The member told the HuffPost: 'I don't think anyone has confidence that the folks at the Pentagon, that may or may not even be needed for some of this, or the Department of Homeland Security, where we don't even know who's in charge, are going to be cooperative.'

The National Park Service said Monday it would close the Washington Monument and other area facilities beginning today and lasting through January 24.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is reportedly considering sending as many as 13,000 guardsmen to secure the area on Inauguration Day. Prior to last week's breach, officials had planned to deploy roughly 7,000 guardsmen. 

The hardened-up security plans come after the Department of Defense said it was aware of 'further possible threats posed by would-be terrorists in the days up to and including Inauguration Day', Congressman Jason Crow (D - Colorado) said in a statement Sunday after speaking with Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy about security preparations. 

The Department of Homeland Security is working with the Defense Department, local DC authorities and inauguration officials to sharpen the law enforcement response in the coming days, including by erecting non-scalable fencing and security checkpoints around Capitol Hill. 

'Now that it happened people will take it much more seriously,' a senior DHS official told CNN in reference to last week's violence. 'Now, the planners, they are all going to take it much more seriously.'  

Federal and local authorities have faced fierce criticism for their perceived failure to crack down on Wednesday's insurrection despite evidence that they knew it was coming. 

Hundreds of people might now face federal charges in the wake of last week's Capitol breach, DC's acting US attorney said in an interview with NPR over the weekend, saying a massive, 24-hour-a-day hunt was on to identify suspects and bring charges against them.

In the meantime,  DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said she is 'extremely concerned' about security on Inauguration Day in a letter to acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf over the weekend. She wrote that the event 'will require a very different approach to previous inaugurations given the chaos, injury and death experienced at the US Capitol during the insurrection'.   

On Monday the National Park Service announced that the National Mall and Memorial Parks will be shuttered until January 24 'in response to credible threats' after last week's riots.  

Monday's FBI bulletin said the bureau is aware of plans for armed protests in every single state between January 16 and 20 - with one major demonstration slated to take place in Washington, DC, on January 17.

It said an 'identified armed group', which was not named directly, intends to travel to the nation's capital ahead of the protest on January 16. 'They have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment a huge uprising will occur,' the bulletin stated, according to ABC News correspondent Aaron Katersky. 

Twitter cited online chatter about a 'proposed secondary attack' on the US Capitol and its counterparts in all 50 states when it moved to suspend Trump's account on Friday.  

'Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021,' the company wrote in a blog post, without offering further detail.

Twitter was believed to be referring to the same chatter cited in the FBI bulletin.  

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are set to be sworn in on the west front of the US Capitol on January 20 before participating in a Pass in Review on the east front and then receiving a traditional escort to the White House by representatives from every branch of the military. 

Biden's team has remained adamant that the inaugural events, which were paired down prior to the MAGA riots to avoid drawing large crowds rife for transmission of coronavirus, should go forward despite last Wednesday's events.  

'We are confident in our security partners who have spent months planning and preparing for the inauguration, and we are continuing to work with them to ensure the utmost safety and security of the president-elect,' a senior Biden inauguration official said last week.

'This will mark a new day for the American people focused on healing our nation, bringing our country together and building it back better.' 

Trump on Saturday said he would not attend the inauguration, becoming the first president since 1869 to skip his successor's swearing in. Vice President Mike Pence is still expected to be there. 

The inaugural committee has been making last-minute changes to security plans in light of what occurred last week. 

The event will undoubtedly look far different from previous years, when hundreds of thousands of people - and in some cases, millions of people - took to the streets to celebrate the start of a new administration. 

In a letter sent Sunday, Mayor Bowser asked the Trump administration to issue an emergency declaration for DC, citing intelligence suggesting that more violence is likely in the lead-up to the inauguration. 

In another letter to acting DHS Secretary Wolf on Saturday, Bowser called for the 'National Special Security Event' period - a designation which allows for greater law enforcement resources and cooperation - to be extended from January 11 to 24. The period was originally slated for January 19 to 21. 

On Monday Wolf announced that the period would begin six days early on January 13. He did not say if it would be extended past the 21st.  

Bowser also asked Wolf for the DHS to cooperate with other federal entities - including the Defense Department, Congress, the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice - to form a security perimeter fortified by troops around federal property. 

She said doing so would allow DC's Metropolitan Police Department to focus on its normal civic duties. 

Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, echoed Bowser's concerns in a statement following his conversation with FBI Director Christopher Wray on Saturday.

'The threat of violent extremist groups remains high and the next few weeks are critical in our democratic process with the upcoming inauguration at the U.S. Capitol to swear in President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,' said Schumer, a New York Democrat.

'Given that the same incendiary, dangerous rhetoric online that occurred before Jan. 6, which proved to be a warning of the insurrectionist attack, has only escalated since, I impressed upon Director Wray the vitalness of the FBI to work with other federal and state agencies to remain highly proactive and extremely vigilant to defend our democracy.'

Adam Schiff, chairman of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, on Monday said he expected law enforcement to ensure a safe event.

'I think that there certainly may be violence, but I have to imagine, hope and pray, that this time the Capitol Police, the National Guard, will be prepared, will understand the risks,' Schiff, a California Democrat, told CBS This Morning. 

Schiff said the threat of more violence in the last nine days of Trump's term was a reason to swiftly remove the incumbent, who fired up thousands of loyalists in a speech before Wednesday's rampage. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced articles of impeachment on Monday morning. 

'There's certainly a danger that the president will continue to incite his followers to further violent activity, aimed at stopping the peaceful transition of power,' Schiff said.

Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli on Thursday insisted that the previous day's Capitol breach would be a 'one-time event' and assured that Inauguration Day will be kept under control.  
-Daily Mail

Posted 12/01/2021 8:54:46 PM

 

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