Sotomayor to Deliver VP Oath to Kamala Harris: Inaugural Update
(Bloomberg) -- Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in on Inauguration Day by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. A Virginia man was arrested Friday at a security checkpoint near the U.S. Capitol carrying an unregistered handgun and ammunition, according to police. House committees probing the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol asked federal authorities for documents and other materials.
There are four days until Joe Biden’s swearing in.
Harris to be Sworn In by Justice Sotomayor (5:50 p.m.)
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in on Inauguration Day by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, according to a transition official.
Sotomayor is the first Latina on the Supreme Court, and Harris will be the first woman and first Black and South Asian person to be the second-in-command.
She will be sworn in on two Bibles: one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black supreme court justice, and another owned by Regina Shelton.
Shelton ran an after-school program Harris participated in, and Harris has said she is like a second mother to her. Harris took the oath of office when she became attorney general of California and when she was sworn in as a U.S. senator on Shelton’s Bible.
While the new president is traditionally sworn in by the chief justice, vice presidents throughout history have taken their oaths from senators, House speakers and even outgoing vice presidents.
More recently, the duty has fallen on associate justices of the Supreme Court. Justice Clarence Thomas swore in Vice President Mike Pence, and Sotomayor performed the function once before — for Biden’s second inaugural as vice president in 2013. -- Emma Kinery and Gregory Korte
Man Stopped at DC Checkpoint With Pistol, Ammunition (4:01 p.m.)
A Virginia man was arrested Friday at a security checkpoint near the U.S. Capitol carrying an allegedly unregistered handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, according to police.
Wesley Allen Beeler of Front Royal, Virginia, was arrested by U.S. Capitol Police at about 6:30 p.m. Friday, according to a police report. He was stopped on E Street and North Capital Street about a half-mile from the Capitol building.
Beeler, 31, was carrying an unregistered Glock 17 9-millimeter pistol along with ammunition, including more than 500 9mm rounds and 21 shotgun shells, according to the police report. CNN, citing a person it didn’t identify, said he also had unauthorized inaugural credentials.
Efforts to reach Beeler were unsuccessful. However his mother, Charlotte Beeler, said in a telephone interview that her son carries a weapon for his job as a security officer, his occupation for many years. Ms. Beeler also said that she hadn’t been in contact with him since Friday, when he had been headed to work.
A Capitol Police spokeswoman, Eva Malecki, didn’t respond to a request for information about the incident. -- Miles Weiss
House Panels Seek Documents on Capitol Assault (2:15 p.m.)
Four committees of the House of Representatives on Saturday sent a letter to several national security agencies requesting documents and briefings related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as well as panels responsible for homeland security, the judiciary and oversight signed the letter, which was sent to the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
“Security and logistical preparations before January 6 were not consistent with the prospect of serious and widespread violence,” according to the letter. “Yet, according to media accounts that have surfaced in recent days, federal and other authorities earlier on possessed -- and may have shared with some parties -- intelligence and other information forecasting a dire security threat against the Congress’s meeting to certify the election results.”
Had the reports been acted on, the outcome, which left at least five people dead, may have been different, the letter reads. The committees intend to determine whether there were systematic failures and come up with ways to best address domestic violent extremism. -- Emma Kinery
Prisons Locked Down as Guards Deploy to Washington (1:50 p.m.)
The Federal Bureau of Prisons says it has put its institutions on lockdown “in light of current events occurring around the country.”
“The hope is that this prudent measure is for a short period,” according to a statement from the agency, which cares for more than 150,000 inmates. It said there was no specific warning or prison incident that triggered the decision, which it termed “precautionary.”
Some of the bureau’s personnel, including special operations units trained to respond to riots, have been deployed to Washington and deputized by the U.S. Marshal’s Service in the wake of last week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol.
“In coordination with the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Prisons made plans to send specially trained officers to Washington this week to assist the Department if and as determined to be needed,” Justin Long, a spokesman for the bureau of prisons, said in a statement. -- Emma Kinery
Fringes of Social Media Speculate on Troops in D.C. (10:50 a.m.)
Followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory and other far-right supporters of President Donald Trump have been speculating on social media about the large troop presence in Washington ahead of next week’s inauguration. Some, who don’t believe Trump lost the election, are saying its a coup in the making by Biden; others suggest it’s part of Trump’s master plan.
Posts on networks such as Telegram and Gab used images of the National Guardsmen to argue “something is happening” in the nation’s capital.
Some users on these networks allege without substantiation that the troop buildup is part of a plan by Trump to interrupt Biden’s inauguration at the last minute, while others are using it to further discredit the president-elect’s victory.
“Those 25,000 armed troops in DC are definitely not temporary,” far-right activist and former congressional candidate Laura Loomer wrote on Telegram. -- Daniel Zuidijk
Commuter Lines to DC Suspend Service (9:40 a.m.)
The Maryland Department of Transportation is suspending its MARC commuter train service ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration amid threats of unrest.
All service on the Penn, Camden and Brunswick lines will not run, starting Sunday and lasting through the Jan. 20 events. Trains will be back in service on Thursday.
To ramp up security efforts, Washington’s MetroRail and MetroBus have adjusted their hours and closed several downtown D.C. subway stations. Many roads in downtown D.C. have also been closed, from K Street NW to the National Mall, and spanning as far as the U.S. Capitol in some areas.
Four bridges connecting Virginia to the District will be closed to traffic: Roosevelt Bridge, I-395 Bridge and the 14th St Bridge will all close Tuesday; the Arlington Memorial Bridge is already closed. All will remain so through Thursday. -- Emma Kinery
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