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QAnon’s lingering concerns keep National Guard in Washington

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By Zachary Cohen and Ellie Kaufman | CNN

Nearly 5,000 National Guard troops will remain in Washington until March 12 due, in part, to concerns about potential violence arising from online discussions between QAnon supporters that suggest former President Donald Trump may still be inaugurated on March 4, according to the principal Democrat on the Committee of the armed services of the house.

“Some of these people understood that 75 years ago apparently, the president was inaugurated on March 4. Okay, now why this is relevant, God knows, anyway, now they think maybe we should come together again and storm the Capitol on March 4… which is circulating online, ”said on Wednesday. representing Adam Smith, the panel chair, in a hearing with defense officials.

“Stuff like that goes around all the time, it means it’s going to happen, probably not, but if you want to help tell them not to do this, tell them the election is over.” Joe Biden won. It was a free and fair election, and let’s get down to business, that too would help reduce the fear / paranoia that people feel that demands everything we see here, ”he added.

Video: This is the date QAnon subscribers look forward to

The request for 4,900 National Guard troops to remain in Washington until March 12 was made by the U.S. Capitol Police, defense officials said on Wednesday, adding that the Pentagon was working with law enforcement. competent to determine what an appropriate force presence looks like now that the threat landscape has changed in the weeks since Biden’s inauguration.

“The number was based on different missions that they were going, members of the National Guard would support, response force, perimeter, security, those kinds of sets of missions. We are working with them. As you know, the current request ends on March 12. We’re trying to work out with them what the right level of security they need from the National Guard, given that circumstances have changed, ”Pentagon official Robert Salesses told lawmakers.

“We are working very closely with the FBI, the Secret Service among others and the Capitol Police to try to determine what they think this threat is, then looking at what they think the Guard needs to be. national or types of missions. that they need, we are working closely with them to try to determine what it is. Obviously 4,900 is a huge number here on Capitol Hill, ”he added.

U.S. Capitol Police did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Salesses said the department was not tracking any specific threats, an assessment that echoed what a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson told CNN on Monday.

“While there is no specific and credible threat to the homeland at this time, DHS continues to gather, review and analyze new information every day and regularly update its federal partners , state, local, tribal and non-governmental organizations on the results of these efforts. The most significant terrorist threat the country currently faces comes from isolated offenders and small groups of individuals inspired by national extremist ideological beliefs, including those based on false narratives disseminated on social media and other platforms. online, ”the spokesperson said.

To that end, Smith has made it clear that lingering concerns about the potential violence of domestic extremists, which he says are fueled by the fact that some Republican lawmakers still refuse to recognize that the election outcome was fair and free.

“I agree that the threat environment is less, but if you want to know what is driving the threat environment, it would help if every elected official and person in positions of power in this country publicly acknowledges that Joe Biden is the double elected. . president in a free and fair election. The extent to which people are still leading this narrative, this narrative is then taken and put into really wacky sets of arguments, ”he said.

A growing number of Republican lawmakers have called on Washington’s National Guards to return to their home countries, and several Democrats have said they agree their presence should not be permanent. But talks are underway on Capitol Hill about the possibility of expanding the Guard’s deployment beyond its current March 12 end date, two familiar sources say, raising questions about how long they will be in the capital. national.

Concerns about March 4 are just one reason some lawmakers argue the National Guard deployment should be extended. CNN previously reported that law enforcement officials are also concerned about security around Biden’s upcoming joint speech to Congress.

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