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Warnings of possible QAnon threat to Capitol prompt House lawmakers to cancel Thursday schedule

Alex Woodward
·2-min read
 (EPA)
(EPA)

The House of Representatives will dash its schedule for 4 March following warnings from security officials of a possible threat to the US Capitol, two months after a deadly insurrection inside the halls of Congress.

US Capitol Police told congressional offices on Wednesday that law enforcement identified a “possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group” as QAnon-linked groups have sought to anoint 4 March as the “true inauguration day” for former president Donald Trump.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have also issued a joint bulletin alerting law enforcement to the presence of domestic violent extremists “motivated by the QAnon conspiracy theory” and “perceptions of election fraud and other conspiracy theories associated with the presidential transition” in the wake of the former president’s persistent lies of election fraud.

Melissa Smislova, the acting DHS intelligence chief, told senators on Wednesday that agency had issued the bulletin on Tuesday night about “extremists discussing” violence on 4 March and 6 March.

Read more: Follow live updates from the Biden administration

A DHS terrorism advisory bulletin due to a “heightened threat environment” across the US in the wake of the Capitol riots was issued in late January and remains in effect through the end of April.

“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,” Capitol Police said.

House lawmakers have moved the remainder of their schedule to Wednesday night to avoid putting lawmakers at risk on Thursday, including debate over the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, Democrats’ centrepiece criminal justice reform measure.

The Senate is set to remain in session on Thursday.

Violent far-right organising across social media has significantly diminished compared to the weeks of online discussions and explicit calls for violence against elected officials leading up to 6 January, when pro-Trump rioters broke into the Capitol to disrupt a joint session of Congress that convened to receive the Electoral College results from the 2020 presidential election.

On Tuesday, FBI director Christopher Wray told senators that similar threats are “metastasising across the country”.

Read More

How police are warding off threats from QAnon and militias threatening violence on 4 March

Far-right militia group plotting to ‘breach’ the US Capitol on March 4, police warn

5,000 National Guard troops remain in DC amid QAnon frenzy that Trump will be inaugurated again this week

Five key takeaways from FBI director Wray’s grilling at Capitol riot hearing