Security was tight on Thursday at the U.S. Capitol, the scene of a deadly siege in January, after police warned that a U.S. militia group might try to attack it again to mark a key date on the calendar connected to the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.
A bulletin issued earlier this week by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI said an unidentified group of "militia violent extremists" discussed plans in February to "take control of the U.S. Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers on or about March 4th.”
March 4th is the day when adherents to the QAnon theory believe that former President Donald Trump, who was defeated by President Joe Biden in the November 3rd election, would be sworn in for a second term in office. Up until 1933, March 4th was the date of the inauguration.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose chamber canceled its afternoon session after the warning, still appeared at the Capitol Thursday for her weekly press conference, dismissing any significance the date may hold.
“The silliness of this being inauguration day falls into the realm of… let’s not waste our time on it.”
Still, Capitol police have asked the Pentagon to extend the presence of the National Guard, who have been there since the insurrection, for at least another two months.
[HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI:] “We should have them here as long as they are needed.”
There are currently about 5,200 National Guard troops around the building.
The Senate remained open Thursday with Biden’s coronavirus relief package on the docket.
Long-term security improvements to the Capitol are being drafted, funding for which Congress would have to approve.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the FBI and DHS both warned that the threat (quote), “did not begin or end on January 6th” and that Biden’s national security team has been vigilant… in part because we are witnessing a year-long trend of false narratives fueling violence.”
Federal prosecutors have charged more than 300 people for involvement in the January 6th attack. Those arrested include members of armed militia groups such as the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters.