Trump Issues Emergency Declaration for Event: Inaugural Update
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump has approved an emergency declaration for the District of Columbia. Facebook says it is banning the phrase ‘Stop the Steal’ from its platforms due to its use by Trump supporters advocating violence. The House transportation chairman wants to fine disruptive passengers on flights.
There are nine days until Biden’s inauguration.
Trump Approves Emergency Declaration for Washington (7:44 p.m.)
Trump has approved an emergency declaration for the District of Columbia with the approach of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and in the wake of the assault on the U.S. Capitol last week.
Trump, according to a statement released by the White House on Monday night, authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to “identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.”
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser had asked Trump to declare a “pre-emergency disaster” and for the Homeland Security to establish a “security and federal force deployment plan.”
Earlier Monday, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, resigned. He is to be replaced by Pete Gaynor, the administrator of FEMA. The White House statement did not mention Gaynor’s new role. -- John Harney
Facebook Bans ‘Stop The Steal’ Rallying Cry (5:46 p.m.)
Facebook Inc. says it will remove posts that include the phrase “stop the steal” from its services, citing an “ongoing risk of violence associated with the term” following last week’s storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Facebook banned a “Stop the Steal” group from its service after November’s U.S. election, but the phrase has become a rallying cry for Trump supporters who allege, without evidence, that Biden and the Democrats stole the election. Facebook is blocking the phrase as part of enforcing its policy that forbids “coordinating harm.”
The move comes days after the company suspended Trump’s accounts on both Facebook and Instagram until at least the Jan. 20 inauguration. A spokesperson said it may “take some time” for the company to scale up its efforts to remove the phrase from Facebook’s properties, but that it has “already removed a significant number of posts” using the term. -- Kurt Wagner
Lawmakers Urge Protesters Disrupting Flights be Fined $35,000 (4:45 p.m.)
House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio is urging the Federal Aviation Administration to take steps to prevent unrest on commercial airline flights ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Citing media reports of unruly passengers on flights to and from Washington since the riot at the Capitol, Democrats DeFazio, of Oregon, and Representative Rick Larsen, a Washington state Democrat and chairman of the aviation subcommittee, wrote to FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson. They said the agency should consider levying fines of as much as $35,000 per violation for passengers who disrupt flights with politically motivated protests.
“We also urge you not to hesitate to refer violations of criminal laws, including violations of the prohibition on interference with crew members’ performance of their duties, to the Justice Department for prosecution as well as to other appropriate Federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Transportation Security Administration,” they wrote. -- Keith Laing
FBI Warns of Threats to All 50 State Capitals (4:19 p.m.)
The FBI issued a warning that there are plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals beginning on Jan. 16 and at the U.S. Capitol starting on Jan. 17. The protests may continue through inauguration day on Jan. 20, according to a law enforcement official.
The news came as the Department of Homeland Security announced that security efforts for the inauguration will begin a week early.
Acting Homeland Security Director Chad Wolf said that last week’s storming of the Capitol and “the evolving security landscape” led to the decision to begin security for the inauguration on Jan. 13. The efforts were originally slated to begin on Jan. 19.
Wolf said the decision came at the recommendation of Secret Service Director James Murray, adding that local, state and federal partners will work together during the extended security operations. -- Chris Strohm
Biden ‘Not Afraid’ of Taking Oath of Office Outside (2:53 p.m.)
Amid threats of further violence, President-elect Joe Biden said he is not worried about holding his inauguration in front of the U.S. Capitol.
“I’m not afraid of taking the oath outside,” he said Monday.
Speaking to reporters in Delaware, the president-elect said he wants to make sure that members of the mob that stormed the Capitol last week are held accountable, adding that the “vast majority” of lawmakers from both parties agree.
“I think it’s critically important that there be a real serious focus on holding those folks who engaged in sedition and threatened people’s lives and debased public property, caused great damage, that they be held accountable,” he said. -- Josh Wingrove
National Guard to Send 15,000 to Guard Capital During Inauguration (2:21 p.m.)
The National Guard has received approval to deploy as many as 15,000 personnel to Washington before and during Joe Biden’s inauguration, as law enforcement in the nation’s capital and around the country brace for violence during the transition of power.
The deployment is a significant increase from the 6,200 National Guard members from six states and the District of Columbia that have already been mobilized in the wake of last week’s attack on the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters.
Ten thousand of the troops are due to arrive by Saturday and will stay through Jan. 20.
“We’ve received support requests from the Secret Service, Capitol Police and Park Police,” Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday. “Our troops have been requested to support security, logistics, liaison and communication missions.”
It has yet to be determined whether guard units will be armed while on the District’s streets, but they will have access to lethal weapons at their commanders’ discretion, Guard commanders told the AP Friday.
“We want our individuals to have the right to self defense,” Hokanson said, calling it an “ongoing conversation.” -- Sophia Cai
Park Service Shuts Down Washington Monument Tours Amid Threats (12:39 p.m.)
The National Park Service is shutting down tours of the Washington Monument until after Biden’s inauguration.
Amid “credible threats to visitors and park resources,” an agency statement said it will close the D.C. monument through Jan. 24.
The National Park Service will also temporarily close other facilities, such as parking areas and roads, noting that the groups that breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 “continue to threaten to disrupt” the inauguration.
The agency said the temporary closures could be extended if threats persist, potentially affecting public access to roads, parking areas and restrooms within the National Mall, which stretches from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, and nearby monuments. -- Peyton Forte
Maryland Plans to Send National Guard for Inauguration (12:20 p.m.)
Maryland expects to add “several hundred more” troops to its National Guard force helping to protect U.S. Capitol in neighboring Washington, D.C., Governor Larry Hogan says. The state already has sent 500 Guard members to Washington, the Republican governor added.
Hogan, who was stymied in efforts to send troops to help during last week’s attack on the Capitol, said he will be speaking with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and the FBI.
Without giving specifics, Hogan said the state government is taking additional security measures at the state house complex in Annapolis.
Officials are dealing with “tons of security issues” in state and in U.S. capital, he said at a briefing. -- Todd Shields
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