The House of Representatives has canceled its planned Thursday session following warning from the Capitol Police on Wednesday of a possible plot by a militia group to breach the building. Capitol Police said that it was "prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress".
However, the Senate plans to go ahead with a debate on President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill. The threat comes less than two months after extremists Trump supporters stormed into the Capitol Building in a bid to seize the house as Congress held a meeting to certify Joe Biden as the President of the United States.
Capitol Under Threat Again
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Capitol Police, which was heavily criticized for its handling of the January 6 insurrection, said it had "obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4."
"We have already made significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public and our police officers," the statement says, adding that the force is "working with our local, state, and federal partners to stop any threats to the Capitol."
The Capitol Police also mentioned that due to the sensitive nature of the information, they cannot provide additional details and which militia group poses a threat but are taking the intelligence seriously.
Timothy Blodgett, acting House sergeant-at-arms, described the intelligence as "concerning" in a message to lawmakers. He said the militia group had "additional interest in the Capitol for the dates of March 4th-6th."
Why March 4?
The treat to attack the Capitol on March 4 isn't a coincidence. In fact, March 4 is a significant date for far-right conspiracy theorists who believe that former President Donald Trump will return to power on that day. This is because, presidents were inaugurated on March 4 until 1933, after which the 20th Amendment to the Constitution moved the date to January 20.
Moreover, the threat comes less than two months after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol building on January 6, while lawmakers were inside moving to certify Biden's election victory. Five people including a police officer were killed in the riot.
Since then the US Justice Department has charged more than 300 people with participation in the siege. However, the Capitol Police have come under severe criticism for failing to stop the mob from storming into the building.
The D.C. National Guard's commanding general, Major General William Walker, told Senate members on Wednesday that senior Defense Department officials took more than three hours to approve the deployment of National Guard personnel to the Capitol to stop the attack.
He also said that the then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned in January amid fallout from the riot, had made a "frantic request" for National Guard troops at 1:49 pm. But Walker said he didn't get approval to deploy them until after 5 pm.