FEARS of an "insider attack" on Joe Biden at his inauguration on Wednesday have led to enhanced vetting of National Guard troops.
Around 25,000 National Guard members are undergoing intense FBI screening as US defense officials admitted their concerns over assassination attempts by one of those tasked with protecting Biden on the day.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said officials are conscious of the potential threat, and warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problems within their ranks as the inauguration approaches.
So far, however, he and other leaders say they have seen no evidence of any threats, and officials said the vetting hadn’t flagged any new issues.
The fears come just two days before President-Elect Biden's inauguration on where he will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
Follow our US Politics live blog below for the latest news on Joe Biden, Donald Trump and Wednesday's inauguration
LOBBY DAY THE 'BIGGEST NON-EVENT'?
By midday, Lobby Day - which gives voters an opportunity to petition state lawmakers on any issue - had only gathered around 50 pro-gun rights protesters.
Many were from the far-right Proud Boys and the anti-government movement who were openly carrying semi-automatic weapons.
Police anticipated bigger crowds. Authorities were put on high alert in Richmond.
One of the protestors commented on the small turn out. He sarcastically said to Reuters: "Welcome to the biggest non-event of 2021."
TRUMP SUPPORTERS IN NATIONAL GUARD 'MIGHT DO SOMETHING TO BIDEN'
Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., has "ominously suggested that Donald Trump supporters within the National Guard charged with helping protect Joe Biden 'might want to do something' to the president-elect," reports Fox News.
Some 25,000 National Guard troops have been deployed to Washington, D.C., to protect Biden's inauguration on Wednesday.
Cohen told CNN he had been reminded that former India Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards and he also alleged that any Trump supporters within National Guard units were suspicious.
"The [National] Guard is 90 some-odd per cent male, and only about 20 per cent of white males voted for Biden," he said.
"You've got to figure that in the Guard, which is predominantly more conservative … they're probably not more than 25 per cent of the people there protecting us that voted for Biden. The other 75 per cent are in the large class of folks that might want to do something."
But CNN's Jim Sciutto disputed the claim, pointing out that being a Trump voter was "far different from being a threat of violence."
CAPITOL EVACUATION AFTER HOMELESS CAMP FIRE
Today saw a brief shutdown of the US Capitol, and an evacuation of those at the the presidential inauguration rehearsal.
The action was prompted by a "small fire" under a nearby bridge, which resulted in a temporary shutdown of the complex and the evacuation of the west front of the building, reports NBC News.
"Public safety and law enforcement responded to a small fire in the area of 1st and F streets SE, Washington, D.C. that has been extinguished," the Secret Service tweeted.
"Out of an abundance of caution the U.S. Capitol complex was temporarily shutdown. There is no threat to the public."
DONALD TRUMP 'DOING WELL'
Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, told The Hill that it was “too soon” to say what the outgoing president would do politically after quitting the White House.
The US president is "doing well,” Miller said.
“Obviously he’d rather have access to all his social media platforms than not.
"But he also realizes this is a massive overreach by big tech, and this makes people more interested in what he has to say.”
TRUMP BABY BLIMP NEW LONDON MUSEUM EXHIBIT
The Trump Baby Blimp - which depicts Donald Trump as a screaming orange baby - has found a home at the Museum of London in the UK.
The blimp will become part of the museum’s protest collection, which includes artefacts from the women’s suffrage movement and peace activists who opposed the war in Iraq during the early 2000s.
Designed by a group of friends while drinking at a London pub, it was flown outside the Houses of Parliament on July 13, 2018, when thousands of demonstrators crammed the streets of central London to protest Trump’s visit.
POLICE COMMAND STRUCTURE CRUMBLED FAST
There was no direction. No plan. And no top leadership to guide cops defending the US Capitol during the riot, reports the Associated Press.
“We were on our own, totally on our own,” one of the officers recalled.
Cops said they were given next to no warning by leadership on the morning of January 6 about what would become a growing force of thousands of rioters - many of whom were better armed than the officers themselves.
And once the riot began, they were given no instructions by the department’s leaders on how to stop the mob or rescue lawmakers who had barricaded themselves inside.
There were only enough officers for a routine day.
PELOSI COMPUTER TO BE FLOGGED OFF TO RUSSIAN SPIES: FBI
A woman accused of stealing a laptop computer or hard drive from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the January 6 Capitol siege allegedly tried to sell the device to Russian intelligence, according to a court filing.
An FBI agent disclosed the detail in an affidavit released on Sunday night that outlined a criminal case against Riley June Williams, a Pennsylvania woman.
The theft of electronic devices from congressional offices has been a major worry following the siege by Donald Trump fanatics.
Acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin said after the attack that some of the thefts might have potentially jeopardized “national security".
CAPITOL EVACUATED OVER 'SECURITY ALERT'
The Capitol building is on lockdown and Biden's inauguration rehearsal was reportedly evacuated over a security threat.
Smoke was seen billowing from behind the US Capitol building on Monday morning.
An emergency announcement was played at the political hub before people started to evacuate.
Staffers at the site received a text warning of an "external security threat."
"All buildings within the Capitol Complex: External security threat, no entry or exit is permitted, stay away from exterior windows, doors. If outside, seem cover. USCP," the text reportedly read, according to CBS News reporters.
Participants were ushered from the West Front of the Capitol.
Biden was not at the event.
CAPITOL ON LOCK
Law enforcement officials have locked down the Capitol building and area since President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building last week to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s win.
More than 20,000 National Guard members are being deployed to the Capitol and thousands of Guardsmen have already been sleeping on the floor of the building.
MLK WOULD HAVE BEEN 'HEARTBROKEN' BY CAPITOL VIOLENCE
Martin Luther King Jnr would have been "heartbroken" by the violent Capitol protests, his niece has said on what would be his 92nd birthday.
Today (January 18, 2021) marks Martin Luther King Day, an annual holiday celebrating the Civil Rights leader's birthday - two days before Joe Biden's Presidential Inauguration on Wednesday.
In an article for Fox News, his niece Dr King said: "People often ask what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would say today.
"No need to second guess. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere".
"Surely, the violence at the U.S. Capitol would have broken his heart, as would the partisan witch hunts that seem to multiply daily."
WHAT IS ANTIFA?
Antifa is an umbrella term for a broad spectrum of far-left and anarchist groups.
The term itself means simply anti-fascist.
They have appeared at violent protests around the country in recent years, although the group have been around much longer.
The size of Antifa is not known, and it is believed not to have any leaders.
WOMAN PROBED FOR STEALING PELOSI’S LAPTOP
A woman is being investigated after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop was taken during the Capitol riots.
Riley June Williams, 22, of Harrisburg, was charged on Sunday with entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct after footage from inside the Capitol showed her appearing to direct other rioters.
In a court affidavit detailing the allegations, FBI agent John Lund said a former romantic partner of Williams - named only as W1 - had also told the agency that, during the riots, Williams had taken either a laptop or a hard drive from Pelosi's office.
W1 also said they had been played a video by other associates of Williams that showed her taking the item.
TRUMP WILL ISSUE OVER 100 PARDONS BEFORE HE LEAVES WHITE HOUSE
DONALD Trump is said to be gearing up to issue more than 100 presidential pardons tomorrow, during his final hours in the White House.
Officials say he has even privately consulted his aides to discuss pardoning himself - although some have suggested it may look like an admission of guilt.
Trump met with senior advisers as well as his son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump on Sunday to reportedly go through the lengthy list of pardon requests.
He has already pardoned 94 people, most of who were part of the investigation into the Russian conspiracy by special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
FBI VETTING TROOPS AS SECURITY IS STEPPED UP FOR INAUGURATION AMID FEARS OF INSIDER ATTACK
US Defence officials have expressed concerns of an insider attack and the threat of service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The FBI are vetting all 25,000 National Guard troops heading to Washington on January 20 after the deadly siege of the Capitol building incited by Donald Trump.
Security measures have been seriously amped up and the ceremony scaled back in response to the threats, as Joe Biden appeals for national unity.
Officials were aware of the potential threats and commanders have been advised to weed out troublemakers in their ranks, according to Army secretary Ryan McCarthy.
“We’re continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation,” McCarthy said, after he and other military leaders took part in a thorough three-hour security drill ahead of the inauguration.
BIDEN ON NATIONAL DAY OF SERVICE
MOBS OF TRUMP FANS GATHER AT CAPITOLS
Mobs of pro-Trump protesters headed to capitols across the US amid mounting fears of Inauguration Day mayhem.
Small mobs of demonstrators - many in military garb - gathered outside statehouses in Michigan, Texas, Oregon, Ohio, Utah, and New Hampshire.
‘COWBOYS FOR TRUMP’ BOSS ARRESTED
Cowboys or Trump leader Couy Griffin who promised to wreak havoc at Joe Biden’s inauguration after storming the Capitol building has been arrested.
The Otero County Commissioner was detained after vowing to return to Washington DC with a gun to place a flag on Nancy Pelosi's desk.
Griffin, the founder of the group Cowboys for Trump, faces charges of illegally entering the U.S. Capitol.
RIOTER’S MOM ARRESTED
The mother of a man nabbed by the FBI for bringing zip ties into the US Capitol building has been arrested – as authorities say she was also carrying flex cuffs at the riot.
Her arrest comes as a judge ordered that Richard Barnett, who was seen during the riot with his feet up on Nancy Pelosi's desk, remain in jail.
Charges against the Georgia mom, Lisa Eisenhart, include conspiring with her son, Eric Munchel, to violate federal statutes, according to an arrest affidavit.
The affidavit said that Eisenhart, 57, and Munchel, 30, were both captured in video footage as part of a mob that was attacking two Capitol police officers inside the building during the January 6 riot.
Both mother and son were seen holding the flex cuffs, the affidavit says.
Munchel, a bartender from Nashville, Tennessee, was arrested last week.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE CAPITOL RIOTS?
On January 6, Trump told his supporters at a rally to go to Congress and "fight like hell" as he made false claims of election fraud.
In violent events that unfolded, five people were killed.
Multiple people from the riots – including Texas realtor Jenna Ryan – have said they were "following orders" from the president.
RIOTERS SHOUT ‘WHERE’S NANCY?’ IN NEW VID
Shocking video shows the moment rioters scream “where the f**k is Nancy” after breaking into the Capitol.
The protesters can also be heard saying they were “listening” to Donald Trump, who has been accused of inciting the mob.
PELOSI BLAMED FOR CAPITAL RIOTS
Lindsey Graham blamed Nancy Pelosi for the US Capitol riots because he claimed the speaker "didn't provide enough security" and vowed to "get to bottom of it."
Pelosi's office immediately shot down Graham, as the GOP Senator was accused of trying to "shift blame."
BIDEN'S NEW STIMULUS PLANS: AT A GLANCE
Joe Biden revealed a shiny new Covid aid plan on Thursday evening. Here's the top five changes he has suggested:
WHO WOULD GET A £1,400 COVID CHECK UNDER BIDEN?
Here's who would get a $1,400 Covid check under Joe Biden's stimulus package.
Under the last two coronavirus stimulus plans, adults were given a check – with a bonus for up to three dependent children.
Adult dependents – like those in college, and some with disabilities – were not eligible for checks, however.
That would change with the new package, giving all adult dependents the check, according to Yahoo! Money.
Under the proposal, dependents would receive the same amount as adult individuals – $1,400.
There's also income limits for who would be eligible.