US President Donald Trump has signed an emergency declaration for the next 13 days leading up to Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony amid an FBI warning of further armed protests.
In a signed statement, Mr Trump “ordered Federal assistance to supplement the District’s response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from the 59th Presidential Inauguration from January 11 to January 24, 2021”.
The assault on the Capitol last Wednesday, which challenged the certification of Mr Biden’s election victory, sent lawmakers into hiding and left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer.
Dozens of people have been charged in the violence and hundreds of more cases are expected.
The latest development comes as acting US Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf delivers a crushing blow to the outgoing president, announcing he was stepping down from his post on Monday (US time), days after criticising Mr Trump over the riot at the US Capitol last Wednesday.
The resignation comes a day before Mr Trump is set to visit the US-Mexico border wall.
Last week, Mr Wolf asked Mr Trump and all elected officials to “strongly condemn the violence” that took place at the Capitol, where five people died, including a US Capitol Police officer as thousands of pro-Donald Trump insurrectionists stormed the building, entered lawmakers rooms and looted furniture.
Alongside dozens of pro-Trump supporters who are now on No Fly watch lists are two Capitol Police officers who have been suspended as a result of their actions during last week’s so-called attempted coup.
One Capitol Police officer took a selfie with someone and another put on a “Make America Great Again” hat have been suspended.
Democratic Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio says told reporters on Monday (US time) that the officer who wore a MAGA hat was deemed by the interim police chief to be “qualifying for immediate suspension”.
The congressman said Capitol Police were looking at everybody involved who could have potentially facilitated the incursion “at a big level or small level in any way”.
Mr Ryan said they did not want an officer working on President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration “who was not doing the job on the January 6 event”.
Mr Wolf said he has condemned violence on both sides of the political aisle, specifically directed at law enforcement.
He tweeted “we now see some supporters of the President using violence as a means to achieve political ends” and called that unacceptable.
FBI warns of further armed protests
The FBI has warned of armed protests being planned for Washington and all 50 US state capitals in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s January 20 inauguration, a federal law enforcement source says.
Threatened with more violence from outgoing President Trump’s supporters following last Wednesday’s storming of the US Capitol, the FBI issued warnings for next weekend that run at least until Inauguration Day, the source says.
In other steps to safeguard the US capital, the National Guard was authorised to send up to 15,000 troops to Washington, and tourists were barred from visiting the Washington Monument until January 24.
The chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Daniel Hokanson, told reporters he expected about 10,000 troops in Washington by Saturday to help provide security, logistics and communications.
He said the number could rise to 15,000 if requested by local authorities.
‘America United’ inauguration theme
Mr Biden’s inaugural committee said on Monday the theme of the January 20 ceremony would be “America United”.
Mr Trump, who has sought unsuccessfully to overturn the November 3 election results with false claims of widespread fraud, said last week he would not attend the ceremony, a decision the president-elect supported.
The Park Service said it would suspend tours of the Washington Monument due to safety concerns from threats to disrupt the inauguration.
In a letter to Mr Wolf made public on Sunday, Ms Bowser called for a fresh approach to security after what she called last week’s “unprecedented terrorist attack”.
Ms Bowser asked Mr Wolf to extend the National Special Security Event period from Monday through January 24. The Secret Service heads security operations for events, including presidential inaugurations, considered to be nationally significant.
Mr Wolf said in a statement he had instructed the Secret Service to begin National Special Security Event operations for the inauguration effective Wednesday, instead of January 19 as previously scheduled before making his resignation from the job public.
Democrats in Congress began a push on Monday to force Mr Trump from office, introducing an article of impeachment that accuses him of inciting insurrection.
The presidential inaugural committee and Mr Bowser have told Americans not to travel to the inauguration, and said Washington’s National Mall would be covered with 191,500 flags of different sizes, to represent the missing crowds.