How key states plan to secure their Capitol buildings ahead of possible pro-Trump armed protests


(CNN) States across the country are stepping up security in their capitals before the FBI warned that “armed protests” were planned in all 50 state capitals.

An internal FBI bulletin obtained by CNN warns that armed protests are planned in state capitals from Saturday at least until inauguration day next Wednesday. The bulletin also suggests that there are threats of an “uprising” if Trump is impeached before that date.

To complicate matters, the FBI bulletin was not made public but was leaked to reporters. Federal law enforcement has yet to hold a press conference detailing the attack on Capitol Hill or making plans to ensure the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. And the purge of Twitter and Facebook accounts promoting violent protests has made it difficult for the public to understand the scale of the problem.

The startling warning, just days after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, urges states to step up security in the event of a similar attack in state capitals. Although many capitals are closed due to coronavirus restrictions, the warnings are especially heavy in states that allow people to openly carry firearms or in those where President Trump has falsely claimed fraud.

Here’s a look at how prepared several states are at the center of Trump’s bogus fraud claims:

Michigan bans open porterage on Capitol Hill

Protesters carrying arms gathered at the Michigan Capitol on May 14, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan.

In Michigan, the State Capitol Commission banned the open carrying of firearms inside the State Capitol building in Lansing starting Monday.

The move was a response to the U.S. Capitol Riot as well as the spring incidents in which heavily armed protesters crowded inside the State Capitol to protest lockdowns related to the pandemic. In addition, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, has been the target of an alleged domestic terrorist plot by members of right-wing militias.

However, the policy change only affects public areas 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 commission’s policy.

“The action by the Capitol Commission to ban open carrier weapons on the Capitol is a good start, but more action is needed,” Whitmer said in a statement Monday.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel warned that the commission’s settlement did not mean the Capitol was safe.

“My job is not to provide state employees and residents or other visitors to our Capitol with a false sense of security, especially given the current state of affairs in Michigan and the country,” she said in a tweet. “I repeat, the Michigan Capitol is not secure. “

Shanon Banner, spokesperson for Michigan State Police, said they were aware of the online promotion of the march in state capitals and would continue to monitor security threats .

“Our safety planning is fluid and adjustments are made as needed, day-to-day,” 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 starting today. “

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor also asked Governor Whitmer to activate the Michigan National Guard to provide additional security and crowd control measures around the State Capitol on Sunday and inauguration day.

“Last week’s horrific scene on Capitol Hill was an attack on our democracy and shows that we must be well prepared for acts of violence as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. “

Wisconsin permits state national guard

On Monday, workers begin boarding the Wisconsin State Capitol building in Madison.

Governor Tony Evers has authorized the State National Guard to support the Capitol Police in Madison, the governor’s office said in a press release on Monday.

“Members of the Wisconsin National Guard will mobilize for active state service in support of safety and security efforts at the State Capitol in Madison,” the statement read. “The Wisconsin National Guard will play a supporting role with local authorities and lead a security mission to the site. “

According to the release, the troops are trained to respond to requests for assistance on short notice and are part of the Wisconsin National Guard Response Force.

“The mobilized troops will serve in a state of active state service in support of the Capitol Police. To protect operational security, the Wisconsin National Guard will not discuss troop numbers, movements, timelines, equipment, tactics, or procedures.

In addition, the first-floor windows of the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison were closed on Monday ahead of possible protests.

Pennsylvania says Capitol is closed to the public

A spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said he was aware of planned protests, but noted that the State Capitol complex in Harrisburg has been closed to the public since December due to the pandemic.

“Capitol Police will continue to work with state and local law enforcement to keep the peace in the Capitol complex in Harrisburg,” Press Secretary Lyndsay Kensinger said.

Governor Wolf said Thursday that approximately 1,000 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard have been activated to support the DC National Guard in support of civilian authorities in Washington DC. The Pennsylvania National Guard has approximately 19,000 members in all.

“Members of the Pennsylvania Guard are well trained and well prepared to assist our communities, the Commonwealth and the country in any way possible,” said Acting Adjutant General Gen. Mark Schindler. “We are also very fortunate that our Guard members have extensive experience working alongside the DC National Guard in past presidential training events and inaugurations. “

Georgia opens legislative session with security

The Georgia State Troopers stand guard outside the Capitol on the first day of the Atlanta legislative session on Monday.

The Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta has seen protests that have raised security concerns in the past. Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was helped out of Capitol Hill as a precaution last week as a small group of pro-Trump protesters gathered outside, according to CNN affiliate WXIA .

The state began its 2021 legislative session on Monday with enhanced security around the building, including a new fence and armed guards.

The Georgian Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said it was aware of reports of possible armed protests in the coming days.

“We are in communication with our partners and will continue to do what is necessary to ensure safety and security,” said GBI Director of Public Affairs Nelly Miles.

Atlanta Police said they are also working with their partners on security.

CNN’s Amanda Watts, Zachary Cohen, Whitney Wild, Lauren del Valle, Caroline Kelly, Rob Frehse, Raja Razek, Alec Snyder and Jason Morris contributed to this report.


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