The FBI has warned that “armed protests” are being planned at all 50 state capitols and the US Capitol leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next Wednesday.
WASHINTON D.C. (Agencies) – The FBI has confirmed the information indicating “armed protests” are being planned at all 50 state capitols and the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, according to an internal bulletin obtained by CNN.
Security measures are being stepped up ahead of Inauguration Day, with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies preparing for the possibility of more violence. The bulletin highlights that the U.S. Capitol siege was perhaps just the beginning of potentially violent actions from Donald Trump supporters who have been animated by his dishonesty about a stolen election.
“Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from January 16 through at least January 20, and at the U.S. Capitol from January 17 through January 20,” the FBI bulletin states. It also suggests credible threats of an “uprising” if Trump is removed via the 25th Amendment before Inauguration Day.
“On January 8, the FBI received information on an identified group calling for others to join them in ‘storming’ state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event POTUS is removed as President prior to Inauguration Day. This identified group is also planning to ‘storm’ government offices, including in the District of Columbia and in every state, regardless of whether the states certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump, on January 20,” the bulletin adds. The FBI is also tracking reports of “various threats to harm President-Elect Biden ahead of the presidential inauguration,” the bulletin states. “Additional reports indicate threats against VP-Elect Harris and Speaker Pelosi.”
The FBI said in a separate statement that its “efforts are focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals that are inciting violence and engaging in criminal activity,” and that its “focus is not on peaceful protesters, but on those threatening their safety and the safety of other citizens with violence and destruction of property.”
Meanwhile, the government held Continuity of Government Operations — a standard practice if someone tries to disrupt the transition that took on new urgency in light of threats surrounding this year’s inauguration.
The calls for new protests in Washington and states across the country have law enforcement and local officials bracing for possible violence in the coming days.
On Monday, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser urged Americans to avoid the city during Biden’s inauguration next week and participate virtually following last week’s deadly domestic terror attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Additional security personnel is expected to arrive in Washington to help with the inauguration. Law enforcement agencies in Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey will deploy to the US Capitol to assist against pro-Trump rioters expected in Washington for the inauguration.
The New York Police Department will also be sending officers to Washington to assist with the effort. The National Guard also has plans to have more than 15,000 troops to meet current and future requests for the inauguration, Gen. Daniel Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday.
The dramatic increase in troops comes as law enforcement in the nation’s capital and around the country brace for further extremist violence amid the transition of power.