National Guard arms troops providing Capitol security

National Guardsmen providing security at the U.S. Capitol ahead of President-elect Joe Biden Joe Biden Growing number of GOP lawmakers sa...


National Guardsmen providing security at the U.S. Capitol ahead of President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenGrowing number of GOP lawmakers say they support impeachment House passes measure calling on Pence to remove Trump Disney, Walmart say they will block donations to lawmakers who objected to Electoral College results MORE’s inauguration are now armed, the D.C. National Guard said.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyBarrett among six top Air Force officials to step down Director of Army Staff disputes Capitol Police chief account of National Guard deployment Overnight Defense: National Guard boosts DC presence ahead of inauguration | Lawmakers demand probes into troops’ role in Capitol riot | Financial disclosures released for Biden Pentagon nominee MORE authorized the troops to be armed at the request of federal authorities, the D.C. Guard said in a statement. The troops were armed as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, it added.

“National Guard members are postured to meet the requirements of the supported civil authorities, up to and including protective equipment and being armed if necessary,” the D.C. Guard said. “The public’s safety is our top priority.”

More than 20,000 National Guardsmen are now expected to be in Washington for the inauguration, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said at a news conference Wednesday. That’s up from the 15,000 troops military officials said earlier this week were authorized for the event. The final number will be set by the Secret Service, Contee added.

Reporters entering the Capitol on Wednesday — when the House will vote to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpGrowing number of GOP lawmakers say they support impeachment YouTube temporarily bars uploading of new content on Trump’s channel House passes measure calling on Pence to remove Trump MORE for “willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States” — reported hundreds of service members quartering inside the building with firearms at their sides.

National Guard members from around the country started flooding Washington, D.C., after last week’s insurrection at the Capitol during Congress’s joint session to certify Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

Five people died in the riots — including a Capitol Police officer — and lawmakers, staffers, journalists and Vice President Pence were forced to hide in secure locations while mobs sieged the building.

Lawmakers have since been briefed on several other security threats ahead of Biden’s inauguration.

During last week’s mayhem at the Capitol, just 340 unarmed Guardsmen were elsewhere in D.C. providing traffic control. Before the riot, local officials and the Pentagon had sought to minimize Guard involvement in responding to any protests after heavy criticism of the response to June’s racial justice protests.

But after the protests turned into insurrection last week and with credible threats of further violence ahead, thousands of Guardsmen were activated. They also erected a seven-foot “non-scalable” fence around the Capitol and other nearby government buildings.

About 10,000 National Guard members expected to be in D.C. by Saturday, National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Daniel Hokanson said Monday.

Updated at 12:36 p.m.



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Newsrust: National Guard arms troops providing Capitol security
National Guard arms troops providing Capitol security
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