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Photos show startling presence of National Guardsmen in halls of the U.S. Capitol

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One week after a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, groups of National Guardsmen were situated inside the building Wednesday, reflecting the stringent security measures being implemented in the wake of the attack and ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.

National Guard officials say about 6,200 soldiers and airmen are on the ground in D.C. to support law enforcement and security efforts at the Capitol. Startling photos on Wednesday morning showed scores of troops sleeping in the halls of the Capitol building as reporters and lawmakers headed to the House for the impeachment vote.

Ahead of the inauguration, on Jan. 20, the guardsmen who will be working with Capitol security will be armed with lethal weapons, Politico and CNN reported.

Weapons are distributed to members of the National Guard outside the U.S. Capitol on January 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
Weapons are distributed to members of the National Guard outside the U.S. Capitol on January 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

The D.C. National Guard confirmed in a statement Wednesday that National Guard members are and will be armed, if necessary, as requested by federal authorities and authorized by the Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy.

The statement also addressed the photos of guardsmen resting in the Capitol building. “This area of the Capitol has been designated a rest area for National Guard members when they are on duty but between shifts,” the statement said. “To be clear, this is not where they are lodging when off-duty.”

In early January, there were about 340 guardsmen assigned to manage traffic and assist law enforcement in Washington, according to the D.C. Air National Guard. But when hundreds of pro-Trump rioters broke into the Capitol during the counting of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, forcing Congressmembers to evacuate the House and Senate chambers, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser requested more help, prompting acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller to bring thousands more guardsmen to the area.

The attack at the Capitol left at least five people dead. It also led Democratic lawmakers to bring forth an article of impeachment against President Trump for inciting the riot. Trump had given a speech before the riot at a rally on the National Mall, where he repeated false claims about the election being stolen from him and urged his supporters to fight back.

The U.S. House will vote on impeachment Wednesday afternoon.

—Crystal Hill/Yahoo News

Members of the National Guard gather outside the U.S. Capitol
Members of the National Guard gather at the U.S. Capitol as the House of Representatives prepares to begin the voting process on a resolution demanding Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet remove President Trump from office, on Tuesday. (Erin Scott/Reuters)
Members of the National Guard are given weapons at the back of an open truck in front of the Capitol
Members of the National Guard are given weapons before Democrats begin debating one article of impeachment against President Trump at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
National Guard members crane their necks to look at the ceiling of the Capitol
National Guard members look at the ceiling as Democrats debate one article of impeachment against President Trump at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Hundreds of National Guard troops in repose inside the Capitol
Hundreds of National Guard troops in repose inside the Capitol visitor's center to reinforce security at the Capitol. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)
Members of the National Guard rest in a hallway of the Capitol
Members of the National Guard rest in a hallway of the Capitol. (Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
National Guard member poses for a picture with a statue of the civil rights activist Rosa Parks
National Guard member poses for a picture with a statue of civil rights activist Rosa Parks as Democrats debate an article of impeachment against President Trump. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Members of the National Guard take a rest in the Rotunda of the Capitol, near a bust of Abraham Lincoln
Members of the National Guard take a rest in the Rotunda of the Capitol, near a bust of Abraham Lincoln ahead of an expected House vote impeaching President Trump. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the National Guard play cards in the Capitol Visitors Center as the House of Representatives votes on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Members of the National Guard play cards in the Capitol Visitors Center as the House of Representatives votes on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Members of the National Guard rest in the visitor's center of the Capitol
Members of the National Guard rest in the visitor's center of the Capitol. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
Members of the National Guard rest in the Capitol visitors center
Members of the National Guard rest in the Capitol visitor's center on Capitol Hill, ahead of an expected House vote impeaching President Trump. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the National Guard rest in the Rotunda of the Capitol
Members of the National Guard rest in the rotunda of the Capitol as the House of Representatives votes on the impeachment of President Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Members of the National Guard rest in the Capitol visitor's center on Capitol Hill,
Members of the National Guard rest in the Capitol visitor's center on Capitol Hill, ahead of an expected House vote impeaching President Trump. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
National Guard members sleep, before Democrats begin debating one article of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
National Guard members sleep, before Democrats begin debating one article of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Members of the National Guard sleep in the rotunda of the Capitol
Members of the National Guard sleep in the rotunda of the Capitol as the House of Representatives convenes to impeach President Trump. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., walks past members of the National Guard sleeping in the halls of the Capitol
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., walks past members of the National Guard sleeping in the halls of the Capitol as the House of Representatives convenes to impeach President Trump. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
This image released by the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's Office, Pelosi speaks to National Guard troops outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Washington. (Drew Hammill/Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's Office via AP)
This image released by the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's Office, Pelosi speaks to National Guard troops outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Washington. (Drew Hammill/Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's Office via AP)

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