The US Capitol building is being closely guarded today after federal authorities warned they have intelligence showing a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the Capitol. Security has been ramped up in response to the potential plot. The threat comes almost two months after a mob loyal to former US president Donald Trump stormed the building in January.
US officials alerted lawmakers to the possible threat on Wednesday.
Security has been enhanced in response to the possible threat and the House changed its schedule in light of these warnings.
A vote planned for Thursday was moved to Wednesday night to avoid being in session on March 4.
The Senate however is still expected to be in session debating the Covid-19 relief bill.
Police claim the threat is linked to a far-right conspiracy theory.
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Federal law enforcement is on high alert today (March 4) after an intelligence bulletin this week warned of a group of violent militia extremists discussing plans to take control of the US Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers on or around Thursday.
The date is central to a fringe conspiracy theory among supporters of former president Trump.
Some of those involved believe today is the “real” inauguration and that he will somehow regain power.
Supporters of an extremist conspiracy theory known as QAnon falsely believe Thursday will mark Mr Trump’s return to the White House for a second term.
March was the date US presidents were inaugurated until 1933.
Mr Trump underwent a second impeachment trial off the back of claims he incited the violence at the US Capitol.
The attack took place on January 6, when lawmakers were inside moving to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
The riot led to the deaths of five people, including a police officer.
The head of the Capitol police force later resigned from his position.
So far, around 300 people have been charged with federal crimes for their roles in the riot.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security’s new intelligence bulletin outlined the threat in the US.
The statement reads: “As of late February, an unidentified group of militia violent extremists discussed plans to take control of the US Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers on or about March 4 and discussed aspirational plans to persuade thousands to travel to Washington DC to participate.”
The statement adds: “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.
“Due to the sensitive nature of this information, we cannot provide additional details at this time.”
Federal agencies in the US have made a concerted effort to increase communication in the run-up to March 4.
The authorities are working to avoid the same communication failures for which they faced backlash in the wake of the Capitol attack in January.
The FBI has warned of extremist online “chatter” about attacking the Capitol on March 4 or 6.
House security is no longer anticipating protests or violence from groups travelling to Washington on Thursday, the sergeant, Timothy Blodgen, reported.