Politics

Police preparing for possible militia 'plot to breach the Capitol' in Washington on Thursday

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Key Points
  • The U.S. Capitol Police Department said Wednesday it has obtained intelligence showing a "possible plot to breach the Capitol" on Thursday "by an unidentified militia group."
  • "We are taking this intelligence seriously," Capitol Police said in a press release, which also said that authorities are prepared for potential violence.
  • The disclosure of the possible threat comes nearly two months after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, when thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump invaded the halls of Congress, and disrupted the confirmation of President Joe Biden's election.

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The U.S. Capitol Police Department said Wednesday it has obtained intelligence showing a "possible plot to breach the Capitol" on Thursday "by an unidentified militia group."

"We are taking this intelligence seriously," Capitol Police said in a press release, which also said that authorities are prepared for potential violence.

"Due to the sensitive nature of this information we cannot provide additional details at this time."

The alert came a day after the Homeland Security Department and the FBI sent an intelligence bulletin to state and local law enforcement agencies warning that some domestic groups have "discussed plans to take control of the U.S. Capitol and remove democratic lawmakers on or about 4 March," a senior law enforcement official told NBC News on Wednesday.

Disclosures of the possible threat come nearly two months after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, when thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump invaded the halls of Congress and disrupted the confirmation of President Joe Biden's election.

Five people died in connection with that attack, among them Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

March 4 is seen as a significant date by some extremists, particularly among followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, because until 1937 it was the date for presidential inaugurations. Some QAnon followers believe that Trump will be able to retake power that day.

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The joint bulletin sent by Homeland Security and the FBI says that "domestic violent extremists" or "militia violent extremists" were emboldened by the Jan. 6 attack, and present a higher risk now because of that.

The bulletin says that extremists have a continued "perception of election fraud and other conspiracy theories associated with the presidential transition, which may contribute to (Domestic Violent Extremists) mobilizing to violence with little or no warning."

Trump has falsely claimed for months to have lost the election to Biden because of widespread ballot fraud. No such fraud has been found.

Capitol Police said in their statement Wednesday that they are "aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex."

"We have already made significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public and our police officers," police said in their statement.

"Our Department is working with our local, state, and federal partners to stop any threats to the Capitol."