An internal Capitol Police intelligence report issued three days before the January 6 riot warned that ‘Congress itself’ could be the target of MAGA protesters.
The report noted that Trump supporters saw January 6 – the day that Biden’s electoral college win would be certified by Congress – ‘as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election.’
‘This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent,’ the report warned. It continued that the rioters’ potential targets were ‘not necessarily the counter-protesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself.’
Meanwhile, Capitol Police confirmed Friday that they are investigating claims from Democratic congressional members, that Republican congress members gave Trump supporters ‘reconnaissance’ tours of the Capitol the day before the deadly January 6 riot.
Democrat Rep. Mikie Sherrill said earlier this week that she had seen ‘members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol … a reconnaissance for the next day,’ NBC News reported.
A Capitol Police intelligence report issued on January 3 said ‘Congress itself’ could be the target of protestors on January 6. Rioters are pictured outside the Capitol on January 6
The report did not appear to have been shared widely with other law enforcement agencies. Protesters are seen swarming the Capitol building on January 6
About 25,000 National Guard troops will be in Washington, DC, to help protect the Capitol during Biden’s inauguration. Troops are see patrolling the fence around the Capitol Saturday
The US Army said the National Guard will help backup other law enforcement agencies. Troops are seen at a road block on Saturday in Washington, DC
A National Guardsman is seen checking a car at a road block in Washington, DC, on Saturday. Troops have been sent to the city ahead of Biden’s inauguration
Members of the Pennsylvania 112th Infantry Regiment National Guard are seen at a road block Saturday in Washington, DC
Capitol Police chief Steven Sund, who resigned after the riot, had previously claimed that he had no idea that protesters would storm the Capitol.
Speaking to the Washington Post before the paper published the Capitol Police intelligence report, he said: ‘We looked at the intelligence. We knew we would have large crowds, the potential for some violent altercations. I had nothing indicating we would have a large mob seize the Capitol.’
The Washington Post said that the report did not appear to have been disseminated widely amongst other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, but security experts said that it should’ve alerted officials that there would be major security risks that day.
Sund said that in the lead up to January 6, he had asked top congressional security officials to declare an emergency and call in the National Guard, but the request had been denied.
Captiol Police are shown with guns drawn near a barricaded door during the January 6 riot
People are seen taking shelter in the House gallery as protesters tried to break into the House Chamber on January 6
The Capitol Police said they are investigating claims GOP lawmakers gave Trump supporters tours of the building the day before the riot. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (left) said she saw the tours and thought they were suspicious. Rep. Eric Swalwell was also suspicious of them (right)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) said criminal prosecution might be possible if Congress members helped rioters. Rep. Pete Sessions (right) tweeted, and deleted, that he had told ‘Stop the Steal’ supporters to ‘keep fighting’
A week and a half after the riot, however, the National Guard now has a major presence in Washington, DC, as razor wire fences have been put up around the Capitol Building grounds, while road blocks have also been set up.
The US Army confirmed Friday that up to 25,000 National Guard troops will be in Washington, DC, in preparation for Biden’s inauguration next week. They’ll be there to support ‘federal law enforcement mission and security preparations’ during the inauguration, to help protect the Capitol, according to The Hill.
The large number of armed National Guard members being sent to Washington comes as law enforcement agencies fear the threat of extremist violence across the country.
The FBI has received information that ‘armed protests’ are being planned at the Capitol and at all 50 state capitols in response to Biden’s inauguration, according to an internal document obtained by CNN.
The document stated that the armed protests were expected to take place from January 16 to at least January 20 in state capitols and in Washington from January 17 to January 20, according to CNN.
Federal authorities are said to be tracking dozens of people who are seen as posting possible concerns of violence that may be going to Washington for the inauguration, sources told the news organization. Security officials are also said to be concerned about cars that might be used to breach security.
On Saturday, National Guard members could be seen stopping cars on the road and speaking with drivers before letting them pass. Guardsmen were also seen patrolling the Capitol Building grounds, while also manning positions outside its fence.
The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General announced Friday that it would be investigating how it and law enforcement agencies prepared for and responded to the Capitol Building riot and siege.
‘The DOJ OIG review will include examining information relevant to the January 6 events that was available to DOJ and its components in advance of January 6; the extent to which such information was shared by DOJ and its components with the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal, state, and local agencies; and the role of DOJ personnel in responding to the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6,’ Inspector General Michael Horowitz said, according to Fox News.
It is among one of multiple investigations being carried out by the inspectors general, which includes reviews of responses by departments of Homeland Security and Defense and the Interior Department, which oversees the Park Police.
On Wednesday, Sherill and more than 30 other congressional Democrats signed a letter asking Capitol Police and the House and Senate’s acting sergeants at arms to investigate the ‘suspicious behavior and access given to visitors to the Capitol Complex’ on January 5, the day before the deadly riot.
Sherill tweeted that many of the signers, as well as their staffers, who had observed the supposed Capitol tours included people ‘who have served in the military and are trained to recognize suspicious activity.’
Members of Pennsylvania 112th Infantry Regiment National Guard check a car at a road block on Saturday in Washington, DC
Members of the National Guard are seen Saturday securing the area near the Capitol for possible protest ahead of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration
National Guard members are seen with their vehicles securing the area near the Capitol, ahead of Biden’s inauguration
A National Guard member is seen Saturday at a barrier that’s been put up around US Capitol grounds following the riot
Police and armed National Guard members are seen at a checkpoint in Washington, DC, ahead of the inauguration
Police and National Guards are seen manning a gated security checkpoint Saturday in Washington. With inauguration just days away, there’s been a noted increase in security personnel around the city
The ‘extremely high number of outside groups’ inside the Capitol building on January 5, Sherill wrote, was ‘unusual for several reasons, including the fact that access to the Capitol Complex has been restricted since public tours ended in March due to the pandemic.’
The people who were seen on the tour, according to the letter, ‘appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House’ and noted that people who later attacked the Capitol had an ‘unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex.’
Given the timing of the tours and the attack, the Democratic congressmen asked that any ties between the two groups of people be investigated.
On Friday, two days after the letter was sent, a Capitol Police spokesperson confirmed to NBC News that ‘it is under investigation.’
At least 19 people have been arrested and charged in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot, during which five people died, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick who was killed by rioters.
The House impeached Trump for inciting the riot Tuesday.
If members of Congress were found to have helped the rioters in any way, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that they be subject to possible criminal prosecution.
‘When we’re talking about security, we have to talk about truth and trust,’ Pelosi told reporters at a press conference.
‘In order to serve here with each other, we must trust that people have respect for their oath of office, respect for this institution.’
Pelosi added that ‘If in fact it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection, if they aided and abetted the crime, there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress in terms of prosecution for that.’
A list of GOP lawmakers who were supposedly seen giving tours of the Capitol to Trump supporters on January 5 has not been made public, however they have been given to the Capitol Police.
Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell tweeted as ‘evidence’ Monday that Republican Rep. Pete Sessions had ‘met with terrorists who attacked Capitol and killed an officer. He told them to “keep fighting.” They listened.’
Swalwell included a screenshot of a tweet that Sessions had deleted on January 7 as ‘evidence.’
In the tweet, Sessions had written on January 3: ‘Had a great meeting today with folks from “Stop the Steal” at our nation’s Capitol. I encouraged them to keep fighting and assured them that I look forward to doing MY duty on January 6th.”‘
Sessions has not commented on the tweet. He was, however, one of the 100 Republicans in the House who voted against accepting Biden’s electoral college wins in Arizona and Pennsylvania after the riot.
Although she was not publicly named as having been on the list, Republican Rep. Rep. Lauren Boebert denied that she had been involved in the tour allegations Thursday, claiming that as a result of them, she has received ‘death threats and hundreds of vile phone calls and emails.’