FBI Conducts Vetting of National Guard Forces Deployed to the City
Ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, the FBI is conducting a background check on the 25,000 National Guard members deployed to Washington to secure the event.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the Associated Press that military leaders have not received evidence of any threats, and the vetting has found no problems among National Guard members.
“We’re continuing the process and double or triple-checking every person involved in this operation,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said there is intelligence about planning armed rallies before Inauguration Day.
With the recent riots at the Capitol, security is even more of a focus than usual.
The area around the Capitol is surrounded by a fence and wire fence. Authorities have also closed National Alley, roads, and subway stations in downtown Washington. Bridges to the city from Virginia are also being closed. Thousands of National Guard soldiers and law enforcement officers are deployed throughout the area to prevent further outbreaks of violence.
Despite security concerns, Biden plans to hold the inauguration ceremony at a traditional location.
According to future White House communications director Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s team “has full confidence in the Secret Service and its partners, who have worked for over a year to plan to make (the inauguration) safe.”
Trump refused to admit defeat or congratulate Biden, though he acknowledged that Wednesday would be a “new administration.”
Trump, in violation of 160 years of tradition, will not attend his successor’s inauguration and will leave Washington on Wednesday after the red-carpet ceremony. Vice President Mike Pence plans to attend the event.
Trump’s plan has drawn criticism, including from five Democratic congressmen, who on Saturday sent a letter to Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, urging the Pentagon not to divert resources to the ceremony for the outgoing president.
“The proposed plan is unwise, unconventional and, most importantly, creates unnecessary risk to national security by diverting key personnel and resources from Capitol security,” they said.
Last week, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for the second time, accusing him of sedition. The Senate proceedings are scheduled to begin shortly after Biden’s inauguration. If convicted, Trump could be barred from holding elected office again.
In the remaining days, Trump is expected to pardon several more people, including his supporters.
According to sources close to the case, Trump met with aides on Sunday to finalize a list of more than 100 pardons and commutations. White House aides said Trump has discussed preemptive pardons for himself and his relatives, but at this point, it is assumed he will not issue such an executive order.
Bedingfield said that in his inaugural address, Biden plans to outline a “positive, optimistic” vision for the country and “try to turn the page after the divisiveness and hatred of the last four years.”
“I think that’s what Americans across the country want,” Bedingfield said. – They want a government that will work for their good and helps them in their daily lives.”
After taking office, Biden plans to repeal several of Trump’s initiatives.
As incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein noted Saturday night, Biden is “taking office at a time of profound crisis,” consisting of four elements: pandemic, economic, climate, and racial.