The House of Representatives decided Wednesday to cancel its scheduled session on Thursday due to what authorities deemed credible reports of a second possible attack on the Capitol.
According to the Washington Post, the U.S. Capitol Police told lawmakers on Wednesday that they had "obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4." That specific date has circulated on right-wing conspiracy websites and social media as the day former President Donald Trump is, according to the extremists, supposed to be sworn in again.
"Our Department is working with our local, state, and federal partners to stop any threats to the Capitol," the Capitol Police said in a statement on Wednesday. "We are taking the intelligence seriously. Due to the time-sensitive nature of this information, we cannot provide additional details at this time."
The Senate, which was debating on Wednesday whether to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, is still scheduled to meet on Thursday. The House planned to hold its final vote of the week on Wednesday night.
The Capitol has been subject to higher-than-normal security in recent weeks after it was stormed by militant Trump supporters in January. They had gathered for a Jan. 6 rally, where they listened to the then president urge them to march to the Capitol to voice their displeasure with the certification of the Electoral College vote showing Trump had lost to Biden.
A pro-Trump mob then staged a riot at the Capitol, a four-hour siege that resulted in the deaths of five people, including a police officer.
Roughly 5,000 U.S. National Guard troops remain deployed in Washington stemming from the Jan. 6 attack. On Wednesday, the Senate held a hearing on the amount of time it had taken the Guard to be deployed to assist Capitol Police who were overwhelmed by the rioters.
“The Army senior leaders did not think that it looked good, and that it wouldn’t be 'good optics,'” Maj. Gen. William Walker, the Guard’s commanding general, testified. “They further stated that it could further incite the crowd.”
Adherents of the conspiracy theory group QAnon have posited that March 4 is the "true Inauguration Day," when Trump would be reinstalled in the White House. (Until 1937, presidents were inaugurated on March 4.)
On Wednesday, House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett informed lawmakers that Capitol Police had beefed up their "security posture" in anticipation of possible violence.
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