Capitol Police requests National Guard on standby for pro-Trump rally
A U.S. Capitol Police officer patrols the east front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 15, 2021.
Reuters On Wednesday, the U.S. Capitol Police requested that the Pentagon free the National Guard for a rally supporting the Jan. 6 invasion.| Reuters
The U.S. Capitol Police said Wednesday it asked the Pentagon to free up the National Guard in case it is needed for an upcoming rally in support of the deadly Jan. 6 invasion.
According to the Department of Defense, it asked for support from the National Guard in case of an emergency at Saturday’s demonstration.
Two sources confirmed to NBC News that the announcement was made hours before construction began on a fence surrounding Capitol Hill. Installation will begin at 8:30 pm. ET, NBC reported.
The “Justice forJ6” rally, organized by an ex-campaign staffer for former President Donald Trump, is expected to draw about 700 people outside the U.S. Capitol building, a Homeland Security Department official said.
On Jan. 6, the Capitol was overrun with Trump supporters who forced a joint session of Congress into hiding, temporarily derailing the confirmation of President Joe Biden‘s Electoral College victory. Capitol police officers who defended Congress have since described the mob as being intent on stopping Biden’s election.
The failure to secure the Capitol from the mob of pro-Trump rioters led the USCP’s internal watchdog to call for widespread changes to the department.
In a Monday press release, the USCP stated that they were aware of the “concerning online chatter” around the rally and that plans had been approved by the Capitol Police Board to temporarily fence off the Capitol. Additionally, the board issued an emergency declaration allowing USCP officers to be deputed outside of law enforcement.
I urge everyone who thinks about creating trouble to get away. In that press release, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger stated in his own words that they will not tolerate violence and enforce the law.
Rally organizer Matt Braynard told CNBC in an email that “there is no possibility of violence [from] our peaceful protest.”
Over 600 people were charged with inciting the Capitol Invasion. Many others have already pleaded guilty.
The attempt by the upcoming rallygoers, as well as some members of Congress, to re-frame the Jan. 6 rioters as “political prisoners” follows other efforts by the political right to downplay the attack. In May, for instance, Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., claimed Jan. 6 was not an insurrection but a “normal tourist visit.”
“I think they’re much better prepared than things were before” Jan. 6, said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Monday after Manger briefed him and other congressional leaders about the rally.
This rally comes after other acts of lone actors over the past weeks. On Monday, police arrested a man who allegedly had knives in a pickup truck displaying swastikas that was outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters.
Last month, police arrested another man who parked his pickup truck outside the Library of Congress on Capitol Hill and claimed he had a bomb.