US President-elect Joe Biden.
US President-elect Joe Biden.

Security concerns grow ahead of Biden's inauguration

ANI | Updated: Jan 13, 2021 18:42 IST

Washington [US], January 13 (ANI): As US President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration approaches near, concerns are growing over the security threats surrounding the occasion, following a violent attack on the Capitol building last week, which has shaken the country's confidence and put scrutiny on law enforcement and safety in Washington.
According to The Hill, last week's siege by supporters of President Donald Trump, who were overheard hunting for Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has set off a scramble to avoid a repeat as right-wing groups vow to try to storm the building on January 20 when Biden, lawmakers and former presidents gather.
The impending threat has already led to a series of announcements, including federal and state officials beefing up security in the area. Thousands of National Guard troops are expected to be deployed in Washington DC in the coming days. Meanwhile, Trump has declared a state of emergency till January 24, and the Secret Service will begin special protections for inaugural event on Wednesday, a week earlier than initially planned.
"There are people plotting to do danger, at least online, and the bottom line is our authorities have to be completely on top of it," Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer told reporters.
Meanwhile, Biden told reporters on Monday that he is not afraid of taking the oath of office outdoor as is customary. He also indicated that he had received briefings on the issue, though his transition team did not return a request for more details on what information Biden and his advisers are receiving, The Hill reported.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in charge of planning the event are vowing to move forward, even as members privately raise concerns about their own security.
"We will be swearing in President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on the West Front of the US Capitol on January 20, 2021. The [Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies] is working around the clock with our many partners to execute ceremonies that are safe and showcase our determined democracy -- to Americans and the world," the inauguration committee said in a statement.
Unlike the Electoral College count the rioters disrupted, the inauguration is considered a National Security Special Event, a designation that will start on January 13. A committee spokesperson said it would provide "significant law enforcement and national guard presence as part of the layered security measures within the expanded footprint."
House lawmakers were informed of four specific armed threats against the White House, Capitol and Supreme Court. One plot involved thousands of pro-Trump radicals aiming to surround the Capitol in order to prevent Democrats from going, according to Democratic Representative Conor Lamb, who detailed the threat in an interview with CNN.
The Senate also got a security briefing on the inauguration on Tuesday, and Schumer privately pushed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray to add participants in the Capitol attack to no-fly lists to try to prevent them from carrying out additional strikes.
On Tuesday afternoon, officials announced that a Chicago man had been arrested and charged with making threats of violence to Biden's inauguration via a voicemail left for a New Jersey House lawmaker.
Meanwhile, the FBI is warning of potentially armed protests at state capitols across the country in the days leading up to the inauguration.
Underscoring the depth of concern, Republican Senator Rob Portman issued a forceful statement saying Trump should address the nation and urge his supporters to remain peaceful.
"If our nation experiences additional violence and destruction at the hands of his supporters ...and he does not directly and unambiguously speak out now when threats are known, he will bear responsibility," Portman said.
As the president faces impeachment by House lawmakers for his role in encouraging a mob of his supporters in the riots on Capitol, Trump justified his remarks to supporters, calling them 'totally appropriate'.
The outgoing President has since been blocked on all major social networks at least until after he is out of office.
The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed legislation calling on Pence to use his constitutional authority to remove Trump from office in response to the President's role in the deadly mob attack.
Following the violence, Congress on Thursday had certified 306 electoral college votes in favour of President-elect Biden, thus confirming enough votes to declare him the winner in the US election. (ANI)