100 National Guard on standby to support Capitol Police during pro-Trump rally
A U.S. Capitol police officer adjusts security fencing outside the U.S. Capitol ahead of a planned “Justice for J6” rally in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.
Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin placed 100 National Guard troops on standby to help protect the Capitol ahead of Saturday’s rally supporting people charged in the deadly Jan. 6 pro-Trump insurrection.
For the “Justice For J6” rally in Washington DC, hundreds of far-right protestors are expected. This refers to the Jan. 6, storming of Capitol Hill by former President Donald Trump supporters in an effort to stop the nomination of Joe Biden to be the next president.
A Pentagon spokesperson said that the 100 National Guard soldiers will be deployed only upon request by the Capitol Police. They will also help guard entry to the Capitol Complex. A spokesman said that troops won’t be used until all local, state, federal and federal law enforcement abilities have been tested.
At a Friday press conference, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger stated that the USCP had not requested National Guard members be armarmed.
Manger indicated that the police have been “hearing some talk” and “we would not be foolish to ignore the intelligence we possess.” Manger noted that previous threats to the Jan. 6 attacks were actually credible so they aren’t taking chances.
The chief added that “the most likely scenario for violence” is the possibility of the protesters clashing with counterdemonstrators. Capitol Police know of at most three anti-protest groups that are planning to meet, with one having a more violent history than the other.
Manger said that several elected officials were invited but they declined to attend the event.
Matt Braynard was not available to answer questions about which representatives were invited.
Acting Assistant Chief Sean Gallagher told the presser that although we are hopeful and anticipating a peaceful event, our operation plan is flexible enough to be ready for whatever happens.
In recent days, police have ramped up security around the Capitol, erecting fences around the Capitol grounds, Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and other congressional office buildings.
Robert Contee Chief, Metropolitan Police Department said on Friday to reporters that both federal and local security partners are well prepared for the rally.
Our department is ready for tomorrow and has already increased its staffing. Contee explained that you’ll notice an increase in the police presence within the city. “This is done to protect everyone and ensure security and safety throughout the area.”
Manger explained that although 700 were requested for the rally’s permit, it was unclear if they would have all the attendees.
In advance of the rally, the Transportation Security Administration stated that passengers arriving at Regan National Airport will experience increased security.
“Travelers will notice increased law enforcement and canine presence along with a generally higher level of awareness in TSA’s intelligence-driven, risk-based approach to transportation security,” a TSA spokesperson told Reuters.
Trump encouraged thousands to attend a demonstration outside of the White House that Jan. 6 in protest against what had been traditionally ceremonial proceedings to march on the Capitol.
Vice President Mike Pence, who had been presiding over the count of Electoral College votes, was rushed out of the Senate as the Capitol complex went into lockdown when Trump supporters began pouring into the building.
Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa – who were all in the line of presidential succession – were taken to secure locations.
After the Capitol had been cleared by the mob, the joint session was resumed and Biden won.
Brian Sicknick, Capitol Police Officer, collapsed after being attacked by rioters. He died shortly after the insurrection. Since the incident, four police officers responding to it have committed suicide.
Trump, who was impeached by the House for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, said in a statement Thursday that he condemned the criminal prosecution of his supporters who were part of the mob that invaded the Capitol.