US Capitol Police are monitoring three separate plots to disrupt next week’s inauguration of President-election Joe Biden, including one that includes besieging the legislature building and assassinating lawmakers, US media reported Tuesday.
The reports said police briefed Democratic House members on Monday night about the plans.
The first is being branded the “largest armed protest ever to take place on American soil,” according to Huffington Post.
The second is a mass demonstration in memory of Ashli Babbitt, the supporter of US President Donald Trump who was killed last week during the riots at the Capitol, the report said.
The third and most concerning plot, according to Huffington Post, “would involve insurrectionists forming a perimeter around the Capitol, the White House and the Supreme Court, and then blocking Democrats from entering the Capitol ― perhaps even killing them ― so that Republicans could take control of the government.”
The report said tens of thousands were potentially set to participate. It said organizers plan to kill Democrats as well as Republicans who haven’t supported Trump’s failed attempts to overturn the election results.
The report refrained from mentioning who was behind the plots and when they were planned to take place, to avoid hindering authorities’ preparations and aiding the organizers.
One of the lawmakers who participated in the call identified himself in an interview with CNN as Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb.
“They were talking about 4,000 armed ‘patriots’ to surround the Capitol and prevent any Democrat from going in,” he said. “They have published rules of engagement, meaning when you shoot and when you don’t. So this is an organized group that has a plan.”
“We are not negotiating with or reasoning with these people,” Lamb said. “They have to be prosecuted. They have to be stopped. And unfortunately, that includes the president, which is why he needs to be impeached and removed from office.”
Another unnamed member who was on the call described it to NBC News as “chilling and horrific.”
“There isn’t much that I can share, but what I think is important for the public to know is that there is an increased threat. What we experienced Wednesday could potentially be repeated and there are proper steps being taken,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., told MSNBC on Tuesday.
One option raised during the briefing was having each member of Congress pass through a metal detector, Huffington Post reported.
Anticipating the potential violence, a total of 15,000 National Guard members have been activated and will deploy to Washington, DC, to help provide security in the run-up to Biden’s inauguration.
The number of Guard members coming in from other states has been growing, amid escalating fears of more violent protests in the wake of the deadly riot at the US Capitol last week.
Army General Daniel Hokanson, chief of the US National Guard Bureau, was given the authority to tap up to 15,000 Guard, but he has said that requests for assistance from the Secret Service, the US Park Police and the Capitol Police have been increasing this week.
The Army also said that officials were working with the Secret Service to determine which Guard members may need additional background screening. Democrat Rep. Jason Crow had asked Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy to have the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CID) screen Guard members coming in to ensure they were not “sympathetic to domestic terrorists.”
The Army said CID would not be reviewing all the Guard members, but that some may be subject to additional background screening. Traditionally, those who get within close proximity to the president — or in this case the president-elect — are checked more closely.
So far, officials said they had not yet identified any Guard members who participated in the protests, but investigations were ongoing.
In a statement, the Army said the DC National Guard was also giving troops additional training as they arrive in the city, so they know to identify and report any extremist behavior to their commanders.
The Army also said it was working with the FBI to identify people who participated in the Capitol attack, adding, “any type of activity that involves violence, civil disobedience, or a breach of peace may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or under state or federal law.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.