Capitol Police Increase Security Ahead Of March 4 Over 'Concerning' Conspiracy Theory

Wednesday, March 3rd 2021, 10:11 am
By: CBS News


The U.S. Capitol Police is bolstering security at the Capitol building this week amid "concerning" intelligence related to a far-right conspiracy theory that former President Donald Trump will retake power on March 4. That date marked Inauguration Day for presidents prior to 1933. 

In a security bulletin obtained by CBS News, House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett issued security guidance stating that his office is working closely with Capitol Police (USCP) to monitor potential protests and demonstrations related to what some have called the "true Inauguration Day" — however, the threat appears to have declined since the insurrection on January 6. 

"The significance of this date has reportedly declined amongst various groups in recent days," Blodgett said in a statement Tuesday. "At this time, the USCP has no indication that groups will travel to Washington, D.C. to protest or commit acts of violence."

As a precaution, and to ensure the safety and security of members of Congress and their staff, there will be a heightened police presence throughout the Capitol Grounds. 

"The Department is aware of concerning information and intelligence pertaining to March 4th and continues to work with all of our law enforcement partners," USCP said in a statement Tuesday night. "Based on the intelligence that we have, the Department has taken immediate steps to enhance our security posture and staffing for a number of days, to include March 4th."

"Additionally, the National Guard continues to maintain a presence on Capitol grounds to support the USCP with maintaining an increased security posture," Blodgett added. "We encourage all Members and staff to remain vigilant and to report suspicious activity to their local law enforcement authorities." 

Since the January 6 attack, during which rioters attacked police and threatened members of Congress and former Vice President Mike Pence, federal prosecutors have charged more than 300 people and arrested more than 280. A Justice Department official said this week that the department had opened files on approximately 540 subjects.

Several prominent followers of QAnon, a debunked and harmful online conspiracy theory, have been arrested in connection to the riot, which left five dead, potentially thwarting any future efforts to restore Mr. Trump's power. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers on Tuesday that the attack on the Capitol on January 6 was "domestic terrorism" — a threat which he said was "metastasizing" across the country.

Wray said that threats of "racially motivated violent extremism" have skyrocketed in recent years, and have been responsible for the "most lethal" attacks over the past decade. He said the bureau is pursuing approximately 2,000 active extremism cases, and that the number of arrests of white supremacists has nearly tripled in recent years.