National Guard presence in D.C. swells to 20,000 ahead of inauguration

Source: Politico | January 13, 2021 | Nick Niedzwiadek

The strong level of protection comes after last week’s deadly riot at the Capitol.

More than 20,000 members of the National Guard could be stationed throughout Washington D.C. after federal officials authorized a 5,000 member increase, the city’s police chief said Wednesday.

“I think you can expect to see somewhere upwards beyond 20,000 members of the National Guard that will be here in the footprint of the District of Columbia,” acting Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said at a news conference.

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Earlier this week the Pentagon allowed National Guardsmen protecting the Capitol to carry lethal weapons in response to the credible threats of violence from militia and extremist groups. Prior to the riot, city and federal officials had deliberately sought to limit the military’s role in response to the protests.

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Scores of uniformed National Guard members filled the halls of the Capitol on Wednesday, adding a layer of surrealness to the day’s unprecedented proceedings. The House is on the verge of passing an article of impeachment against Trump later Wednesday, setting him up either for a Senate trial in the days before he is set to leave office or — more likely — shortly thereafter.

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