WASHINGTON – Fears are mounting in the United States that the recent storming of the Capitol by extremists supporting President Donald Trump could be the start of a series of potentially armed and violent protests across the country ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The FBI told VOA that it is looking into data indicating that individuals or groups of individuals may attempt to provoke violence or commit criminal acts in connection with the planned transfer of power.
“While it is our standard practice to not comment on specific intelligence, the FBI supports our law enforcement partners at the state, municipal and federal levels,” the bureau said.
“We are focusing not on peaceful demonstrators, but on those who pose a threat to their safety in the form of violence and destruction of property,” the ministry continued.
The FBI newsletter, which was first received by ABC News and Yahoo News, contains similar warnings about possible violence in Washington DC and all 50 states.
“The FBI has received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington on January 16,” the bulletin says. “They warned that if Congress tried to remove the president with the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, there would be a massive uprising.”
The bulletin also warns that the group is calling for the storming of federal, state and local government buildings if attempts to remove Trump from office before his January 20 inauguration are successful.
Without commenting on specific threats, other government departments are also taking steps to improve security.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that it has instructed the Secret Service, which is responsible for protecting the president, to begin the operation to secure the inauguration procedure this Wednesday, six days ahead of schedule.
The ministry attributed this to “the events of the last week and the changing environment.”
Earlier on Monday, the US National Guard announced that it is ready to provide up to 15,000 troops to provide security assistance in connection with the inauguration on January 20.
Guard officials said 6,200 troops from six states arrived in Washington to support civilian authorities following the January 6 riots, when the Capitol was briefly seized by thousands of Trump-loyalist extremists, killing five people. Charges were brought against dozens of participants in the assault.
The National Park Service announced on Monday that the Washington Monument will be closed from January 11 until the end of the inauguration due to threats of violence.
The Washington and US federal authorities have called on law enforcement to ensure proper security during the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, preventing further attacks by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, who invaded the Capitol last week.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser called for a change in the approach to security following the recent “unprecedented terrorist attack.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff stressed that law enforcement must ensure that the inauguration is held safely.
Schiff told CBS that the threat of further violence in the final days of Trump’s presidency is one of the reasons for his removal from office.
“There is certainly a danger that the president will continue to incite his supporters to further violent actions aimed at ending the peaceful transfer of power,” Schiff said.
Ultra-right groups in chats and social networks praise the participants in the assault, calling them true patriots. There have also been calls on the internet for further protests ahead of the inauguration.
In the letter to and. about. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolff, which was made public on Sunday, Bowser urged the agency to “adjust its approach to the inauguration in several specific ways,” including a federal deployment plan.
Usually, hundreds of thousands of people come to the American capital on the occasion of the inauguration of the President, but this year the scale of the event was significantly limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump said last week that he would not be attending the ceremony.