Capitol Security Heightened Over Threats Tied to Conspiracies

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The top House security officer alerted lawmakers Tuesday that there will be heightened security Thursday at the Capitol tied to conspiracy theories about March 4 being the “true inauguration day.”

Acting Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett said in a notice to members of the Congress that U.S. Capitol Police will have additional personnel posted on the Capitol grounds, adding to the bolstered security that’s been in place since the Jan. 6 insurrection by a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters.

March 4 had been the official day for presidential inaugurations until 1933, when the 20th Amendment to the Constitution designated Jan. 20 as the day a president is sworn into office following an election, according to the Library of Congress. People associated with the far-right conspiracy movement QAnon have been circulating the baseless claim that Trump would inaugurated on March 4.

“The significance of this date has reportedly declined amongst various groups in recent days. At this time, the USCP has no indication that groups will travel to Washington D.C. to protest or commit acts of violence,” Blodgett said in the notice obtained by Bloomberg.

Still, lawmakers and congressional staffers are being asked to carry identification, report any threats or suspicious activity, and keep emergency numbers on hand.

“The National Guard continues to maintain a presence on Capitol grounds to support the USCP with maintaining an increased security posture,” the notice says.

Capitol Police will also be stationed at Washington, D.C., area airports and Union Station to provide extra security on days with increased member travel.

Blodgett said his office and Capitol Police will continue, “to monitor information related to March 4th and potential protests and demonstration activity surrounding what some have described as the ‘true Inauguration Day.”’

The enhanced security around the Capitol, including razor-wire topped fencing and National Guard patrols, are staying in place for now as officials assess further threats. The acting chief of Capitol Police, Yogananda Pittman, told a House hearing last week that authorities were monitoring potential threats tied to President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress. The date for that speech hasn’t been set.

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