Bloomberg.com ————–By Storm, House, Flatley —————Thurs., Mar.04, 2021
Law enforcement warnings that a militia group may be plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol on Thursday raised tensions again in Washington and helped prompt the House to cancel plans to meet for votes.
“We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4,” the U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement Wednesday. “We are taking the intelligence seriously.”
That alert followed a joint intelligence bulletin late Tuesday from the Homeland Security Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation about extremists discussing carrying out attacks at the Capitol from March 4 to March 6. Melissa Smislova, a senior Homeland Security official, told two Senate committees about the threat on Wednesday.
The police warning didn’t give specifics, citing the “sensitive nature of this information” that comes about two months after a Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by extremist supporters of then-President Donald Trump. That attack led to at least five fatalities.
Two congressional aides said the House canceled plans to vote on Thursday and is scaling back other events at least in part because of the threat. The Senate still plans to meet.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a member of House Democratic leadership said it was “not my understanding” that there was a link between the threat warnings and the decision to cancel Thursday’s session.
The March 4 timing coincides with the date linked to conspiracy theories about it being the “true inauguration day.” Presidents were sworn in on that date until the 20th Amendment to the Constitution shifted the ceremony to Jan. 20, in 1933.
The latest warnings caught many in Washington by surprise because they came a day after acting Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett told lawmakers that Capitol Police had no indication groups would travel to Washington to protest or commit acts of violence.