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Capitol tightens security over potential extremist threats

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The Capitol is locking down ahead of more threats from domestic extremists who believe the conspiracy theory that former President Trump will be inaugurated on March 4. Jeff Pegues shares the latest.

Video Transcript

NORAH O'DONNELL: Good evening, and thank you for joining us. We are going to begin with news on a chilling and dangerous new domestic terror threat against the US Capitol. Tonight, CBS News has obtained an FBI intelligence bulletin warning that groups have discussed plans to take control of the Capitol as soon as tomorrow, and that they are targeting Democratic lawmakers. US Capitol Police say they also have evidence of a possible plot by a militia group to launch an attack in the next 24 hours. Now sources tell CBS News that intelligence officials are focusing on groups that stormed the Capitol on January 6, saying some are fixated on this QAnon conspiracy theory that Donald Trump is going to take over again as president tomorrow, March 4.

Well, that's the date that presidential inaugurations were held until 1937. Well, tonight police and lawmakers are taking these new warnings of violence very seriously. And they aren't taking any chances. House votes that were scheduled for tomorrow have now been canceled or moved up to this evening. And security is being stepped up, including for impeachment managers. All of this as we're hearing for the first time tonight from the head of Washington's National Guard about restrictions he says kept him from deploying troops to fight back as the Capitol was under siege back in January.

So a lot of new questions tonight. We've got a lot of new reporting for you and your family, and our team standing by. CBS Jeff Pegues is going to lead off our coverage from Capitol Hill. Good evening, Jeff.

JEFF PEGUES: And, Norah, with the House canceling some business tomorrow, there are a lot of staff members here who've decided that they're just going to stay home. This is Capitol Police, called for reinforcements as the DHS and FBI warn of the possibility of more attacks.

Tonight, the Capitol locking down again ahead of more threats from domestic extremists, including many who attacked the building on January 6. This new bulletin obtained by CBS News warns of more violence with little or no warning. The threat is driven by a QAnon conspiracy theory that former President Trump will be inaugurated tomorrow, March 4. The acting chief of the US Capitol Police said threats against lawmakers have almost doubled in the last year.

YOGANANDA PITTMAN: We know that the threats are through the roof.

JEFF PEGUES: The bulletin also mentions militia plans to take control of the US Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers. One group the FBI is warning about is the Three Percenters, an anti-government group, some of whom were arrested after the Capitol assault, and seen here in this training video. Security around the Capitol is being fortified because of the threats, with more police on duty. And the National Guard will maintain its presence.

YOGANANDA PITTMAN: We have enhanced our security posture.

- You better run, cops!

JEFF PEGUES: Meanwhile, law enforcement continues to face tough questions about failures in the response to the insurrection, including why it took so long for the National Guard to respond? The guard's DC commander blamed inaction by the Pentagon.

MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM WALKER: The army senior leaders did not think that it looked good, it would be a good optic. They further stated that it could incite the crowd.

JEFF PEGUES: Extremists have called tomorrow the true inauguration day. It'll be another real test for law enforcement that is still trying to learn how to confront this evolving threat. Norah.

NORAH O'DONNELL: Jeff Pegues, thank you.