Ahead of Donald Trump’s second trial, federal law enforcement officials have been examining a number of death threats made against members of Congress, including concerning talk about targeting and killing legislators outside the US Capitol.
The attack on the Capitol has forced federal officials to beef up security measures and the inauguration of Joseph Biden was marked without the presence of a crowd for the first time in the history of the United States. The event was not marred by the presence of armed protesters, yet these threats to lawmakers buttress the continued potential for violence.
These latest threats have sparked concerns that armed protesters could stage a return, prompting the US Capitol police and other federal law enforcement to insist that thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington till the Senate proceeds with plans for Trump’s trial.
The threats have mainly been posted online and in chat groups and vary wildly in credibility and specificity. A US security official revealed that the threatening messages include plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official.
Preparing for the Worst
Law enforcement officials are already beginning to prepare for the possibility of armed protesters returning to the capital during Trump’s trial.
A heavy security presence was put in place in Washington ahead of Biden’s inauguration which included several hundreds of additional law enforcement personnel and scores of military checkpoints. Much of that security apparatus is no longer in place, yet the law enforcement officials are hoping to count on the availability of about 7,000 National Guard members.
The Guard Bureau revealed that the number of Guard members in D.C. is less than 20,000 as of Sunday. All but about 7,000 of those will go home in the coming days.