FBI Warns “Armed Protests” Planned in 50 State Capitals and Washington DC

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Even as federal investigators continue to hunt down suspects in last week’s attack, the bulletin underscores concerns that the U.S. Capitol siege may have been just the beginning of potentially violent actions by supporters of President Donald Trump who were driven by his lies about a stolen election.

“Armed demonstrations are planned in the 50 state capitals from January 16 to January 20 at least, and the US Capitol from January 17 to January 20,” says the FBI bulletin. It also suggests that there are threats of an “uprising” if Trump is impeached via the 25th Amendment before inauguration day.

On January 8, the FBI received information about an identified group calling on others to join them in storming state, local and federal courthouses and administrative buildings in case POTUS was found. removed from his functions of president before the day of the inauguration. This identified group is also planning to ‘storm’ government offices, including the District of Columbia and all states, regardless of whether states have certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump, on Jan. 20, ”added the bulletin.

The FBI is also tracking reports of “various threats to harm President-elect Biden prior to the presidential inauguration,” the bulletin said. “Additional reports indicate threats against VP-elect Harris and President Pelosi. ”
ABC News was the first to publish the FBI newsletter.

The FBI said in a separate statement that its “efforts are focused on identifying, investigating and disrupting individuals who incite violence and engage in criminal activity” and that “the focus is not on on peaceful demonstrators, but on those who threaten their safety and the safety of other citizens with violence and destruction of property. ”

The government, meanwhile, has instituted government business continuity – a common practice in the event someone attempts to disrupt the transition which has taken on a new emergency in light of threats surrounding this year’s inauguration.

According to a senior administration official, the interagency rehearsal was intended to ensure a seamless chain of command in the event of a national emergency in the days leading up to the inauguration and on that day. Monday’s rehearsal heavily focused on “preparing in case someone tries to disrupt or stop the inauguration,” the official said.

Calls for further protests in Washington and states across the country are pushing law enforcement and local officials to prepare for more possible violence in the days to come.

DC Mayor urges people to avoid nation's capital as Secret Service begins preparations for grand opening and 15,000 troops may arrive in city

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday urged Americans to avoid the city at Biden’s inauguration next week and to participate virtually in the wake of last week’s deadly domestic terror attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Bowser, a Democrat, stressed that she feared more violent actors could potentially come to the city as the inauguration nears, saying: “If I ‘ am afraid of anything, it is for our democracy. , because we have very extreme factions in our country that are armed and dangerous. ”

“Trumpism will not die on January 20,” said Bowser, who asked Trump and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to declare a pre-disaster statement for DC. The White House said in a statement Monday evening that Trump had approved the declaration of emergency requested by Bowser.

The mayor had told CBS “Face the Nation” on Sunday that she would also ask the Department of Homeland Security to start a “special national security event” schedule earlier than scheduled, as well as include the U.S. Capitol in their coverage area for the inauguration.

Resignation of DHS secretary

Security preparations were further complicated when Wolf, one of the main people coordinating the effort, resigned on Monday.

In one of his final acts, Wolf said on Monday that he tasked the US Secret Service to begin national special security operations for Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, instead of January 19, the day before the inauguration. by Biden.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf resigns;  FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor Takes Over

“Our federal, state and local partners will continue to coordinate their plans and position resources for this important event,” he added.

A Department of Homeland Security official told CNN that breaching the Capitol would strengthen response and planning for the inauguration.

“Now that it’s happened, people will take it a lot more seriously,” the official said, referring to last week’s violence. “Now, planners, they’re all going to take this a lot more seriously. ”

Additional security guards are expected to arrive in Washington to help with the unveiling, CNN has learned.

Law enforcement agencies in Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey who deployed to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to help propel pro-Trump rioters expect to send officers to Washington, DC, for the inauguration.

The New York Police Department will also send 200 officers to Washington to help with the effort, according to Detective Christopher Pisano, a spokesperson.

The National Guard plans to have up to 15,000 National Guard troops to meet current and future groundbreaking demands, said General Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard bureau, on Monday. The dramatic increase in troops comes as law enforcement in the nation’s capital and across the country brace for further extremist violence amid the transition of power.

Security intensifies across the country

Law enforcement is also stepping up state-level security in preparation for potentially violent protests leading up to Biden’s inauguration.

Shanon Banner, spokeswoman for Michigan State Police, said she is aware of the state capitals march being promoted online and continues to monitor security threats.

Michigan State Capitol Commission prohibits open carrying of firearms inside the State Capitol Building

“Our safety planning is fluid and adjustments are made as needed on a day-to-day basis,” Banner said. “The security enhancements that can be put in place include visible and invisible measures. In general, we do not discuss security measures, but I can confirm that as a precaution we are increasing our visible presence on Capitol Hill for the next few weeks from today. ”

The Michigan State Capitol Commission also banned the open carrying of firearms inside the state Capitol building on Monday, effective immediately.

The policy change only affects the public spaces inside the building and does not change the policy on the Capitol grounds, nor prohibit the carrying of concealed pistols under license that follows state laws, according to the policy. of the commission.

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, citing armed protests at the Michigan State Capitol in April and recent violence at the U.S. Capitol, said the commission should recognize the need for an all-gun ban.

This story was updated with additional developments on Monday.

CNN’s Vivian Salama, Geneva Sands, Barbara Starr, Christina Carrega and Devan Cole contributed to this report

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