Members of Congress were briefed late Monday on a series of new threats against lawmakers and the US Capitol ahead of President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb told CNN’s New Day Tuesday.
The briefing, which comes after CNN reported Monday that the FBI has received information indicating “armed protests” are being planned at all 50 state capitols and in Washington, DC, is yet another sign that law enforcement agencies are becoming increasingly concerned that last week’s siege at the US Capitol was not an isolated incident.
“Yes, what our briefing confirmed is that this is not simply an ongoing criminal investigation, which it is. We’re in the midst of an ongoing series of crimes and ongoing threat to the United States capitol, to our institutions, to communities all around the United States,” he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota when asked about the briefing last night from law enforcement. “And that’s why what we’re doing is different than the impeachment that came before and other things we’ve done with respect to with respect to President Trump before.”
He continued: “This is an action purely taken in terms of public safely. We’re trying to stop the active threat coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He is the person who ties together all of these different hate groups, White supremacy groups, whatever you want to call them. They were literally checking their phones and responding to his words and videos in realtime. I mean, he tweeted out something about Mike Pence and all of a sudden the crowd is chanting hang Mike Pence the middle of the capitol.”
Asked by Camerota to confirm if there are specific, credible threats that he heard that law enforcement believes are legitimate and are taking seriously and planning for, Lamb responded “yes.”
A DHS official told CNN a briefing happened with the Hill yesterday with DHS, Secret Service and FBI. This person wasn’t involved in the briefing but had been told about it.
Asked if Biden should still do a traditional outside inauguration given the information he has received, Lamb said if Biden wants to have one outside, he will be there beside him.
“I believe that Joe Biden was elected President by a huge margin because the American people trust him to exercise powers of commander in chief. And I saw him on TV yesterday say he’s not afraid to do this outside. And I agree with him and I believe him,” he said. “So if that’s what he wants to do, I’ll be right there beside him because I think the most important thing is to continue showing all Americans that no matter how impassioned and, you know, committed these people who attacked the capitol are, we are more committed.”
Lamb added later: “But to go back to your earlier question, the threats we are facing are very specific. I don’t want anyone watching at home to think that we’re just sort of imagining the things could be bad … We are not negotiating with or reasoning with these people. They have to be prosecuted. They have to be stopped. And unfortunately that includes the President. Which is why he needs to be impeached and removed from office.”
Two Democratic lawmakers who participated in the briefing told CNN that while yes, they were walked through these scenarios on a call yesterday and officers were sober about the threats, the effort was made to emphasize how different security is right now.
“They are very strong when we are weak. That is when the mob psychology takes hold and they are emboldened, but when met with actual determined force, I think a lot of these fantasy world beliefs about what will happen when they come to Washington will melt away,” one of the members said.