National Guard, Federal Protective Services Deployed Amid Chaos at U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Members of the National Guard assist police officers in dispe
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Donald Trump, who has asked his supporters to remain peaceful and respect law and order, requested the deployment of National Guard troops and other federal protective services amid chaos at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday that resulted in one woman being shot by authorities.

“At President [Trump’s] director, the National Guard is on the way, along with other federal protective services,” Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, wrote on Twitter. “We reiterate President Trump’s call against violence and to remain peaceful.”

The number of deployed National Guard troops and federal protective services officers could not be determined when this report was ready for publication.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) had already activated about 340 members of the D.C. National Guard on Monday, ahead of the protests organized by Trump supporters scheduled for Wednesday, saying the troops would be assisting the local police department.

In a statement, the National Guard further explained that the troops would support the city government January 5-7 by providing crowd control at several Metro stations and assisting police with street closures at multiple intersections “to provide safety in and around pedestrian areas.” Trump’s Pentagon approved Bowser’s request.

A day before the unrest at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, Mayor Bowser indicated she did not need additional federal law enforcement assistance with the protests, suggesting that she had things under control. The mayor urged the Pentagon and Department of Justice (DOJ) to notify the city and its police department if federal authorities are deployed.

Nevertheless, as the chaos around the U.S. Capitol unfolded, Washington Post reporter Aaron Davis tweeted that an unnamed source told him the Pentagon had denied a request from D.C. officials to deploy the National Guard to the scene of the unrest.

He later acknowledged that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) had “reversed course.”

In a statement Wednesday, Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, declared:

The D.C. Guard has been mobilized to provide support to federal law enforcement in the District. Acting Secretary [Chris] Miller has been in contact with Congressional leadership, and Secretary [of the Army Ryan] McCarthy has been working with the D.C. government. The law enforcement response will be led by the Department of Justice.

Hoffman appeared to deny that the Pentagon denied a request by D.C. officials to deploy the National Guard troops to the hospital in an update to his original statement.

“Today, the mayor requested the full activation of the D.C. Guard to support local and federal law enforcement as they respond to the situation at the Capitol. That request was approved,” he wrote. “There have been no other requests from the D.C. government.”

Acting Secretary of Defense Miller noted in a separate statement that the troops would assist federal and local law enforcement in addressing the situation at the Capital “peacefully,”

“We are prepared to provide additional support as necessary and appropriate as requested by local authorities,” he added. “Our people are sworn to defend the constitution, and our democratic form of government and they will act accordingly.”

About an hour after attending the peaceful rally at the national mall, some alleged Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, removing barriers and clashing with Capitol Police. Ultimately, they forced their way to the doorsteps of the U.S. Capitol on both sides.

Some protesters made it inside the Capitol, where they also clashed with authorities.

The unrest prompted an evacuation of the building and interrupted lawmakers who were in the middle of certifying the Electoral College’s vote count in favor of President-elect Joe Biden. A purported bomb threat drove Capitol police to evacuate two of the office buildings surrounding the Capitol. Law enforcement reportedly discovered at least one explosive device near the Capitol.

Authorities reportedly shot a woman inside the Capitol who remains in critical condition at a hospital. The circumstances surrounding the incident remained unclear as of the time this report was ready for publication.

Citing emergency officials, CBS News reported that more than five people were wounded and taken to the hospital, including the shooting victim. Law enforcement has not yet said whether there have been any arrests.

With the National Guard on the scene and a 6 p.m. curfew imposed by Mayor Bowser in effect, the crowds were dispersing as of 6:30 p.m.

Mayor Bowser has imposed a 12-hour curfew starting at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday and ending at 6:00 a.m. the following day. She exempted coronavirus-linked essential workers, including reporters with their outlet-issued credentials, when engaged in essential activities, including travel to and from their job.

“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue,” Trump tweeted amid the unrest, echoing other Republicans.


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