A member of the US Congress has revealed that thousands of armed pro-Donald Trump extremists are plotting to surround the US Capitol ahead of President-elect, Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Conor Lamb, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said he was briefed alongside other lawmakers on a series of new threats against lawmakers and the Capitol itself.
“They were talking about 4,000 armed ‘patriots’ to surround the Capitol and prevent any Democrat from going in,” Rep. Conor Lamb, a Pennsylvania Democrat, told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.” on Tuesday, January 12.
“They have published rules of engagement, meaning when you shoot and when you don’t. So this is an organized group that has a plan. They are committed to doing what they’re doing because I think in their minds, you know, they are patriots and they’re talking about 1776 and so this is now a contest of wills.”
He continued, “We are not negotiating with or reasoning with these people. They have to be prosecuted. They have to be stopped. And unfortunately, that includes the President, which is why he needs to be impeached and removed from office.”
The briefing to lawmakers comes after the FBI released a bulletin warning of “armed protests” being planned at all 50 state capitols and in Washington, DC.
The news will only increase the state of fear among lawmakers and law enforcement officials following last week’s deadly siege at the US Capitol prompted by Trump’s refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden’s Electoral win.
“They are very strong when we are weak. That is when the mob psychology takes hold and they are emboldened, but when met with actual determined force, I think a lot of these fantasy world beliefs about what will happen when they come to Washington will melt away,” one of the Congress members briefed by FBI said to CNN..
The member added that lawmakers are hoping National Guard troops who are being dispatched to the capital are vetted, because while lawmakers trust most of them, some might be Trump’s fans.
Ahead of the inauguration in Washington D.C on January 20th, security measures are being stepped up, with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies preparing for the possibility of more violence.
Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday urged Americans to avoid the city during Biden’s inauguration next week and to participate virtually, referring at a news conference to “very extreme factions in our country that are armed and dangerous.”
Trump also approved an emergency declaration for Washington DC ahead of the ceremony after the Mayor of the city requested it.
The FBI is also tracking reports of “various threats to harm President-Elect Biden ahead of the presidential inauguration,” the bulletin states.
“Additional reports indicate threats against VP-Elect Harris and Speaker Pelosi.
Asked if Biden should still do his inauguration outside, Democrat Lamb said if Biden wants to still go ahead he would support him.
“I believe that Joe Biden was elected President by a huge margin because the American people trust him to exercise powers of commander in chief. And I saw him on TV yesterday saying he’s not afraid to do this outside. And I agree with him and I believe him,” Lamb said.
“So if that’s what he wants to do, I’ll be right there beside him because I think the most important thing is to continue showing all Americans that no matter how impassioned and, you know, committed these people who attacked the Capitol are, we are more committed.”
Trump on Tuesday insisted his speech an hour before last week’s siege on the Capitol– in which he told supporters they will “never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong” — was “totally appropriate.”
The US leader did not address the prospect of additional threats in the days ahead, but said, “you always have to avoid violence.”