(Headline USA) The Pentagon is reviewing a police request to keep National Guard troops patrolling the U.S. Capitol for another 60 days following thinly supported claims of a “possible plot.”
Based on online rumors, authorities said they were worried a militia group might storm the building again, two months after a Jan. 6 uprising disrupted the certification of the Electoral College vote.
Another day, another Democrat hoax.
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) March 4, 2021
But critics—already seeing an unprecedented authoritarian power-grab by the newly empowered Left—feared that Democrat leaders could be mobilizing troops to suppress valid exercises of First Amendment rights as they railroad through a series of highly controversial, partisan bills and executive orders.
The cover story bore an eerie historic resemblance to the burning of the German Reichstag during the 1930s, which Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party used to scapegoat political rivals and seize full control of the government.
There were no signs of disturbance Thursday at the heavily secured building, with Capitol Police and Guardsmen on duty and the streets and grounds around the building closed off with an imposing razor-wire-topped fence erected after the Jan. 6 riot. There was also no evidence of a large group heading to Washington, despite the warning.
I don’t know a single Trump supporter that took this hoax seriously.
Because it’s stupid.
Only the Qanon conspiracy media & the insane Democrats that are desperate for any distraction away from their disgusting policies & an excuse for their military occupation of the Capitol. https://t.co/9tDxDoEi1j
— Marjorie Taylor Greene ?? (@mtgreenee) March 4, 2021
Still, the threat distressed law enforcement officials, who are grappling with how best to secure the Capitol after a dismal showing in January.
Several investigations are underway into security and intelligence failures, and lawmakers have asked for a long-term plan for when the Guard eventually withdraws.
Right now, there are about 5,200 remaining in D.C., the last of the roughly 26,000 who were brought in for President Biden’s inauguration—which also went off with no problems, despite panic-mongering that another attack was imminent.
Members of both parties have complained that the fence encircling the Capitol seals off access to constituents and the general public. That projects an image at odds with the seat of American democracy in an already surreal political climate of deep distrust due to media gaslighting and evidence of massive vote fraud during last November’s election.
The most recent threat supposedly was connected to supporters of QAnon.
Posts on internet message boards claimed that former President Donald Trump would rise again to power on March 4 and that thousands would come to Washington to try to remove Democrats from office. March 4 was the original presidential inauguration day until 1933, when it was moved to Jan. 20.
But Trump was miles away in Florida. In Washington, on one of the warmest days in weeks, the National Mall was almost deserted, save for joggers, journalists, and a handful of tourists trying to take photos of the Capitol dome through the fencing.
The House had been expected to have a light schedule but called off its session, staying in late Wednesday to wrap up its work in part because of the threat.
The Senate remained in session Thursday as it desperately sought to clear the way for the latest COVID-19 relief bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., publicly dismissed the “silliness” of the alleged plot to restore Trump, although it was likely she who elevated the alarm over it, requiring an enhanced security presence.
Pelosi continued to use the phony threat to bash the former president, whom she recently failed to convict for a second time after an alarmingly rushed impeachment effort.
“The threat of all the president’s men out there, we have to ensure, with our security, that we are safe enough to do our job, but not impeding” she incoherently claimed.
Online chatter identified by authorities included discussions among members of the Three Percenters, an anti-government militia group, concerning possible plots against the Capitol on Thursday, according to two law enforcement officials who were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
But federal agents found no significant increases in the number of hotel rooms being rented in Washington, or in flights to the area, car rental reservations or buses being chartered.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, was briefed by law enforcement about the possible threat and said lawmakers were braced for whatever might come.
“We have the razor wire, we have the National Guard. We didn’t have that January 6. So I feel very confident in the security,” he said.
But those measures aren’t permanent.
Some states have threatened to pull their Guardsmen amid reports that some troops had been made to take rest breaks in parking garages or served spoiled food.
Other Guardsmen have said they have been given good meals with accommodations for those on vegan or halal diets.
In Michigan, which sent 1,000 troops, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she did “not have any intention of agreeing to an extension of this deployment.”
Capitol police and other federal law enforcement agencies took heavy criticism from Congress in contentious hearings this week on their handling of the Jan. 6 riot.
Despite having dealt recently with several violent leftist riots in the city, police were ill-prepared for the mass of Trump supporters, some in tactical gear and armed.
Due to the earlier refusals of Democrats including Pelosi and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to allow for an extra Guard presence, it took hours for reinforcements to come.
Maj. Gen. William Walker, the commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, said more than three hours passed during the afternoon of the riot before he received word just after 5 p.m. that his troops could deploy.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press