Concerns are growing that the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week by extremists supporting U.S. President Donald Trump may be the start of what could be a series of potentially armed and violent protests across the country leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday told newsmen it is examining evidence suggesting groups or individuals may be looking to incite violence or engage in criminal activity in connection with the planned transfer of power, VOA reports
“While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, the FBI is supporting our state, local and federal law enforcement partners,” the bureau said in a statement.
“Our focus is not on peaceful protesters, but on those threatening their safety and the safety of other citizens with violence and destruction of property,” the statement added.
An FBI bulletin, first obtained by ABC News and Yahoo News, likewise cautions about the potential for violence, in Washington as well as in all 50 states.
The FBI has “received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, D.C., on 16 January,” the bulletin said. “They have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment a huge uprising will occur.”
The bulletin further warned that a group is calling for the storming of state, local and federal buildings should efforts to remove Trump from office before the January 20 inauguration succeed.
While not commenting on the specific threats, other government agencies are taking steps to bolster security.
Members of the National Guard arrive to the U.S. Capitol days after supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 11, 2021.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Monday it is directing the U.S. Secret Service, normally tasked with presidential security, to start its inauguration security operation this Wednesday, six days earlier than planned.
DHS cited “events of the past week and the evolving security landscape,” as the reason for the change.
Earlier Monday, the U.S. National Guard said it had authorized up to 15,000 members to assist with security efforts for the January 20 inauguration.
“To date, our troops have been requested to support security, logistics, liaison, and communication missions,” Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in a statement.