Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves The Capitol Police, National Guard and Congress.
The U.S. Capitol Police have requested a 60 day extension of some of the 5,200 National Guard members activated in the District of Columbia in response to security threats and the January 6 assault on Congress.
Acting chief Yogananda Pittman submitted the request to the Defense Department for an extension, the Capitol Police said in a statement on Thursday evening, without saying for how long.“The USCP is extremely grateful for the Department of Defense and the National Guard support provided since January 6th,”according to the statement. “We understand the Guard has a tremendous service need back home responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A senior defense official on Thursday night said that the department had just received the request. The official declined to characterize it, saying it would premature to speak about it.
5,200 Guard troops are on duty in Washington now, staffing a security perimeter around the Capitol that includes miles of fencing around one of the major symbols of American democracy. It was installed after the Jan. 6 insurrection, launched by supporters of President Donald Trump after a rally in support of his false claims that he won the election.
The request appeared to catch D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) by surprise.
“It was our expectation that the additional forces would be leaving now,” she said, adding that the Capitol Police have had limited communication with the city about their security requests. “We don’t know why additional forces have been requested until May. … It was our expectation that the National Guard support would be lessened significantly around this time.”
The request comes after Capitol Police officials said Wednesday that they had information about a possible attempt by a militant group to breach the Capitol on Thursday, a date that some followers of the QAnon extremist ideology falsely claim will mark Trump’s return to the White House. The House canceled a session on Thursday in response, while the Senate remained in session to consider President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
“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 Capitol Police said in a statement Wednesday.
Concerns about QAnon at the Capitol were not borne out Thursday. Guard members remained on duty, with the fencing and barbed wire still in place, but there was no violence.
Rumors of the National Guard extending its stay in Washington have persisted for some time. One defense official familiar with the talks said that discussions have included the possibility of scaling back the number of troops around the Capitol but keeping others ready at the D.C. Armory, about two miles away, in case of emergency.