'High alert': State capitols prepare for pro-Trump violence after FBI warning
States are not taking any chances as federal officials warn of looming violence ahead of the inauguration.
State officials are acting quickly to protect their capitol buildings after a cryptic FBI bulletin warned that armed protests are being planned across the country in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The bulletin, obtained Monday by ABC News, stated that “armed protests” were “being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January.”
It continued, “The FBI received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, DC on 16 January. They have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment, a huge uprising will occur.”
The news comes days after pro-Donald Trump extremists attacked the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, leaving five people dead.
The riots were incited hours earlier by Trump himself, who called on his supporters to march on the Capitol where lawmakers were assembled to certify Biden’s Electoral College victory, suggesting he would be with them and telling them they would never take back the country with “weakness.”
Across the nation, state capitols rush to amplify security measures in light of the looming violence.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday that he plans to deploy the National Guard to protect the capitol building in the days ahead of Biden’s inauguration.
He told the media that he would announce his full plans on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there would be “increased security during that period of time” that the FBI’s bulletin warned about.
In Albany, state and local law enforcement authorities prepared for the possibility of unrest at the capitol, closing it to the public and closing a portion of State Street in the capital’s downtown area to traffic.
State troopers are also patrolling the halls inside the New York Capitol.
Beau Duffy, State Police spokesperson, said, “Given recent events in Washington and across the country, the New York State Police has, out of an abundance of caution, taken steps to harden security in and around the State Capitol in Albany. These restrictions are in place until further notice.”
At the California State Capitol in Sacramento, law enforcement officials are implementing “additional safety measures.”
“In light of recent armed protests at the U.S. Capitol, additional security measures are being implemented in the Assembly, though we will not be disclosing the nature of those security measures publicly,” Alisa Buckley, chief sergeant at arms of the California Assembly, told the Los Angeles Times.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday, “Everybody is on high alert in terms of just making sure that everybody is safe and protected. … I can assure you, we have a heightened, heightened level of security.”
In Hartford, Capitol Police are working with the state’s agencies to ramp up security to protect the state capitol building.
“We’re increasing our patrols with our K-9 officer who’s a bomb-detecting dog, we’re checking those areas and we’re also working very closely with a lot of other agencies — Hartford police, state police and FBI for additional possible manpower,” said Capitol Police’s Officer First Class Scott Driscoll.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has authorized the state National Guard to aid capitol law enforcement’s security efforts in Madison.
In Lansing, the state’s Capitol Commission on Monday voted unanimously to ban the open carrying of firearms and weapons inside the capitol building.
State police are also amping up security, with Michigan State Police public affairs director Shanon Banner saying Monday, “I can confirm that out of an abundance of caution, we are increasing our visible presence at the Capitol for the next couple of weeks starting today.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has activated as many as 750 National Guard troops to help state police to secure the capitol building in Olympia.
The governor said Friday, “The actions we saw in both Washington, D.C. and Olympia earlier this week were completely unacceptable and will not be repeated in our state capital again.”
A “large number of Washington State Patrol troopers” will join the National Guard, Inslee added.
On Monday, Idaho not only locked the doors to its House and Senate chambers in Boise, but also sent state troopers to guard the entrances.
At the federal level, in Washington D.C, law enforcement officials are set to deploy up to 15,000 National Guard troops to the U.S. Capitol, where lawmakers are set to vote Wednesday to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection, related to last week’s attack. Trump will become the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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