FBI memo warns law enforcement across U.S. of possible armed protests at 50 state capitols

Tom Winter and Andrew Blankstein
Members of the Washington State Patrol stand guard outside the Washington State Capitol Building as the 2021 Legislative session begins in Olympia, Washington, January 11, 2021.
Lindsey Wasson | Reuters

The FBI has sent a memo to law enforcement agencies across the country warning of possible armed protests at all 50 state capitol buildings starting Jan. 16, and also says an armed group has threatened to travel to Washington, D.C. the same day and stage an uprising if Congress removes President Donald Trump from office, according to a senior law enforcement official.

The memo includes information provided by the ATF, DEA, Defense Department, Park Police, and the U.S. Marshals, among other agencies, according to the official. Some of the information came from social media, some from open source, and some from other sources of information.

The memo was first reported by ABC News.

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The senior law enforcement official says the FBI's National Crisis Coordination Center distributed the update to law enforcement agencies as a summary of threat information they've received following last Wednesday's deadly mob attack on the Capitol.

While the memo discusses possible threats discussed by online actors for Jan. 16 through the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20, it doesn't mean that law enforcement agencies expect violent mass protests or confrontations in every state.

For instance, a spokesperson for the FBI in Boston says, "At this point in time, the FBI Boston Division is not in possession of any intelligence indicating any planned, armed protests at the four state capitals in our area of responsibility. (ME, MA, NH, and RI) from January 17-20, 2021."

The spokesperson added, "As always, we are in constant communication with our law enforcement partners and will share any actionable intelligence."

The memo says that the armed group that has discussed traveling to Washington on Jan. 16 said there would be a huge uprising if Congress tries to remove Trump via the 25th Amendment. Law enforcement officials point out that Congress can't remove a president via the 25th Amendment.