The US House Democrats were briefed by the Capitol Police on the possibility of three attacks on Congress taking place in Washington DC in the coming days, one of the lawmakers anonymously confided to the Huffington Post. Law enforcement officers are reportedly prepared to face tens of thousands of pro-Trump protesters arriving in the capital and presumably trying to seize control of the White House and the Supreme Court.
The Capitol Police reportedly described one of the purportedly planned attacks as the "largest armed protest ever to take place on American soil".
Law enforcement officers, who have been working with the National Guard lately to secure the Capitol Hill and prepare it for 20 January inauguration ceremony, reportedly said they were mostly concerned over the demonstrators' alleged plan to surround the Capitol and prevent the Democrats from entering it, with the use of violence if needed. Their presumed goal is to allow Republicans to take control of the government, the media outlet's source claimed.
According to the anonymous Democrat, one of the Capitol Hill protests allegedly being prepared will be held in honour of US Air Force Veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was shot dead during the bloody storming of the Congress building on 6 January, which claimed life of five people.
How Capitol Police Reportedly Plan to Respond to Violent Protests
The Capitol Police assured the lawmakers they were prepared to respond to possible unrest, revealing that they devised rules of engagement in concert with the National Guard. They noted that law enforcement will only open fire in case demonstrators do it first, apart from in some exceptional cases. However, not all Democrats were convinced that security measures would suffice, pointing out to reports that some of the Capitol Police officers helped the people storming the Congress on 6 January.
The briefed congressmen were asked to keep silent about the details of the planned protests and the countermeasures, with the Capitol Police claiming that because of the efforts of the Big Tech at "cut[ing] off main communications" channels for the protesters, their only source of information is traditional media. The police presumably referred to the decision by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Discord either to ban or suspend the accounts of President Donald Trump and the groups supporting him, as well as the decision of Google, Apple and Amazon to deplatform the Parler social media, to which POTUS and his supporters presumably migrated.
The National Guard, the Capitol Police and the rest of the law enforcement agencies have nearly doubled the amount of security detail for the inauguration ceremony to around 13,000 in the wake of 6 January events. After Trump's speech in Washington DC that day, when he repeated election fraud claims, protesters stormed the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying the election results. The president condemned the violent act and promised to help with the peaceful transition of power, but that did not stop Democrats from accusing him of incitement to "insurrection".
Now, congressional Democrats are planning to remove POTUS from office via impeachment or the invocation of the 25th Amendment by the vice-president, Mike Pence. The move, however, might backfire: the FBI reportedly expects massive protests and attempts to seize Capitol buildings in Washington and states across the country, in case the Congress succeeds in its attempts to oust Trump.