News & Politics

What You Need to Know About DC Inauguration Day Threats and Other Capitol Insurrection Fallout

A look at the state of play for the security of our city.

PHOTOGRAPH BY EVY MAGES

In the days after the deadly, pro-Trump insurrection attempt at the US Capitol, we continue to learn alarming new details about the January 6 attack as well as the potential for additional violence tied to next week’s inauguration of Joe Biden. Here’s what you need to know about the January 6 insurrection, the security threats related to Inauguration Day, and what federal and local leaders are doing to keep the city safe.

Missed warning

Though a senior FBI official has claimed earlier that the bureau had no prior knowledge that Pro-Trump extremists might seek to harm anyone at last week’s protests, The Washington Post reported Tuesday that FBI officials in Virginia issued an internal report on January 5 warning that extremists were planning to go to the nation’s capital in order to to carry out a “war.” According to The Post, the FBI document reads, “as of 5 January 2021, FBI Norfolk received information indicating calls for violence in response to ‘unlawful lockdowns’ to begin on 6 January 2021 in Washington. D.C…An online thread discussed specific calls for violence to include stating ‘Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and [Antifa] slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”

Armed protests planned for DC and elsewhere around Inauguration

The FBI is warning that armed protests are being planned in Washington and the capitals of all 50 states on and around Inauguration Day, according to the AP. “An internal FBI bulletin warned, as of Sunday, that the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, according to two law enforcement officials who read details of the memo to The Associated Press.”

Washington Monument closed as precaution

The Washington Monument was temporarily shut down Monday on account of “credible threats to visitors and park resources,” according to the National Park Service, which said it order more closures of roads, parking lots, and restrooms as required. The monument is scheduled to reopen on January 24.

As many as 15,000 National Guard members may come in for Inauguration

In an effort to prevent another deadly attack in the nation’s capital, as many as 15,000 National Guard members may be stationed in Washington for Joe Biden’s Inauguration next week, The Post reported. “Defense officials have since activated thousands of National Guard members, with 6,000 in the city as of Monday, said Army Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau,” The Post reported. “Up to 10,000 are expected to be deployed by Saturday, with the possibility for even more on the streets by the inauguration on Jan. 20, he said.”

Bowser, Hogan, Northam: Stay Home for Inauguration

Amid concerns over additional violence, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam are urging resident and would-be visitors to steer clear of Washington, DC, on Inauguration Day. “Due to the unique circumstances surrounding the 59th Presidential Inauguration, including last week’s violent insurrection as well as the ongoing and deadly COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking the extraordinary step of encouraging Americans not to come to Washington, D.C. and to instead participate virtually,” the three leaders said in a joint statement issued Monday. “In this very trying time, January 6 was a dark moment for our nation. But we know that we will get through this period because American ideals are stronger than one extreme ideology. Together, we will overcome extremism and get back to the work of our residents.”

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Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.