Photo: WDIO-TV file|
Photo: WDIO-TV file|
Created: March 04, 2021 02:41 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) - Security is high outside the U.S. Capitol, with National Guard troops and Capitol Police officers on alert inside a massive black fence that surrounds the Capitol grounds and several neighboring buildings.
On one of the warmest days in weeks, the National Mall was almost totally deserted Thursday, save for joggers, journalists and a handful of tourists trying to take photos of the Capitol dome through the fence.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the Guard troops protecting the Capitol should stay as long as they are needed amid a new threat of another mob attack. The House wrapped up its work early amid reports of a threat on the Capitol on Thursday. Pelosi says a draft security review from the deadly Jan. 6 mob siege is making various recommendations to beef up Capitol security and is expected to be made public next week.
Law enforcement is on high alert after intelligence uncovered a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the Capitol again, just two months after the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection, when rioters smashed through windows and doors to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s victory. Five people died.
The new threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon supporters that former President Donald Trump will rise again to power on Thursday.
A top House Democrat says the threat of mob violence at the Capitol won’t stop Congress from doing its work. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York says, “Mob rule will not prevail. Domestic terrorism will not prevail. Democracy will prevail.” Jeffries says he thinks “there’s a reason for all of us to continue to be concerned about the heightened security environment.” Jeffries blames “a ‘big lie’ that Donald Trump perpetrated in respect to the election that has radicalized millions of folks across the country.”
A former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee who was among those briefed about a possible new threat against the Capitol says lawmakers are braced for it. Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas says he thinks “we’ll see some violence.”
But unlike on Jan. 6, the Capitol is now fortified against intrusions. McCaul says there’s razor wire and a National Guard presence that weren’t at the Capitol on Jan. 6 so he feels “very confident in the security.”
McCaul warns there could be another diversionary tactic - much like the pipe bombs discovered at the political campaign offices on Jan. 6 appeared to be an attempt to lure law enforcement away from the Capitol ahead of the insurrection.
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