(Reuters) – The FBI has warned of armed protests being planned for Washington and all 50 U.S. state capitals in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, a federal law enforcement source said on Monday.
Threatened with more violence from outgoing President Donald Trump’s supporters following last Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol, the FBI issued warnings for next weekend that run at least until Inauguration Day, the source said.
In other steps to safeguard the U.S. capital, the National Guard was authorized to send up to 15,000 troops to Washington, and tourists were barred from visiting the Washington Monument until Jan. 24.
President Donald Trump engaged in what could best be described as a lengthy airing of grievances on Sunday morning, venting to sycophantic Fox News host Maria Bartiromo during his first post-election television interview while baselessly suggesting his own FBI and Department of Justice were “involved” with a “rigged” election against him.
Since decisively losing the election to President-elect Joe Biden earlier this month, the president has been holed up inside the White House tweeting unhinged conspiracies about widespread voter fraud while his “elite strike force” legal team has had its attempts to overthrow the election repeatedly laughed out of court.
President Trump on Wednesday announced he had pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, ending a three-year legal saga that saw Flynn seek to withdraw a guilty plea for lying to the FBI and a controversial reversal by the Justice Department on his case.Flynn pleaded guilty to a felony in December 2017, admitting that he had misled investigators about details of his conversations with the Russian ambassador during Trump’s presidential transition.His plea was one of the first major courtroom victories for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who had been appointed seven months earlier.But this spring, Attorney General William P. Barr and the Justice Department declared that prosecutors should not have brought the case against him and sought to have it dismissed. That request has been pending before a federal judge, who has been reviewing the case.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Accused conspirators charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also discussed “taking” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, an FBI agent testified at a court hearing Tuesday.
During the hearing here in Grand Rapids to discuss the charges filed last week against members of a self-proclaimed militia accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor, FBI Special Agent Richard Trask revealed that months ago some of the suspects met in Dublin, Ohio, where Northam, also a Democrat, was discussed as a potential target.
“At this meeting they discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governors of Michigan and Virginia, based upon the lockdown orders,” Trask told the court, referring to state-mandated restrictions implemented to combat the spread of coronavirus.
The FBI revealed Thursday that it thwarted a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, unsealing charges against six people who it said contemplated a violent overthrow of the government and conducted firearms training, tested explosives and tactical drills.
The plotters, according to an FBI affidavit, seemed to be motivated by their belief that state governments, including Michigan’s, were violating the Constitution. One of those involved complained in June that Whitmer (D) was controlling the opening of gyms — an apparent reference to coronavirus shut down restrictions. But unbeknown to them, the FBI had confidential informants recording many of their discussions, according to the affidavit.
President Trump has been publicly critical of Michigan’s leaders over the state-imposed measures to stem to spread of coronavirus, tweeting in April, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN.”
Federal and state authorities are scheduled to have a news conference on the charges at 1 p.m., and Whitmer is expected to deliver a statement at 3 p.m.