Michigan cancels upcoming legislative session due to “credible threats”
The Michigan legislature canceled its session set for next week due to “credible threats,” the state Senate Majority Leader and House Speaker announced in a joint statement on Friday.
“With no votes scheduled on the calendar, we have decided to act in an abundance of caution by not holding session in either the House or the Senate on January 19-21,” they said in a statement. “We hope everyone stays safe and respects the peaceful transition of power, and we hope legislators and staff at the Capitol take time to thank the team of police officers and sergeants who work together to keep us all safe.”
U.S. attorney says there is evidence of coordination between groups
U.S. attorney Michael Sherwin told reporters on Friday that there is no direct evidence of “kill or capture teams” but there are “bread crumbs” that suggest coordination among some groups both inside and outside of the Capitol. But understanding their motive, level of advance planning could take weeks or even months.
Some of the rioters have self-surrendered and some others are volunteering information on their activities — but they will still face prosecution.
Major airlines banning guns in checked bags to D.C.-area airports ahead of Inauguration Day
Airlines and airports say they are stepping up security before next week’s presidential inauguration, with Delta and other major airlines saying they will prohibit passengers flying to the Washington area from putting guns in checked bags.
Delta Air Lines was the first to announce Thursday that it will prohibit checking guns to Washington-area airports and was followed later in the day by United, Alaska, American and Southwest. All said their bans will start Saturday and run through Inauguration Day until January 23.
Read more here.
Pence called Harris on Thursday
Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday, a source familiar with the call and a transition official told CBS News. The conversation comes less than a week before Inauguration Day.
— Paula Reid and Tim Perry
Pelosi: Smaller inauguration is “not a concession to the terrorists”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a press conference Friday that there was always going to be a scaled-down inauguration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is not a concession to the terrorists,” she said, but a “recognition” of the danger of COVID-19 and threats of more violence.
“I think in this case, redundancy might be necessary,” she said.
Pelosi said the House impeachment managers are “solemnly and prayerfully preparing for the trial which they will take to the Senate.” But she stressed that “we are in transition” to the Biden administration, and she praised Mr. Biden’s proposed COVID-19 economic relief package.
Large parts of National Mall closed through inauguration
The National Park Service has closed parts of the National Mall ahead of President-elect Biden’s inauguration on January 20 “at the request of and in cooperation with the United States Secret Service.” The closures began at 11 a.m. Friday and will continue until at least January 21.
The closures affect “all National Park Service property, memorials and facilities in the areas roughly bounded by Constitution Avenue, NW to the north; Ohio Drive, SW to the south; the Potomac River to the west; and 3rd Street to the east,” according to a statement from the National Park Service. “The area also generally includes President’s Park, including Lafayette Park, the Ellipse and the White House complex, as well as East and West Potomac parks, and National Park Service lands along Pennsylvania Avenue.”
Inauguration activities and limited “permitted First Amendment activities” will be allowed in designated demonstration locations “near the U.S. Navy Memorial and John Marshall Park.”
“Participants will be screened prior to entry and escorted to their permitted location, in addition to other safety related requirements,” according to the park service. “Only those holding permits will be allowed within the closed area.”
Security boosted at Michigan Capitol building
Michigan police said Friday they have increased personnel and protective measures ahead of expected demonstrations Sunday at the state’s Capitol in Lansing.
“Security enhancements that have been put in place include both seen and unseen measures,” Col. Joe Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police, said in a news release.
Police said “an unknown number of demonstrators” are expected to gather on the grounds of the Capitol.
Several road closures for downtown Lansing will be in effect on Sunday, and authorities are asking people to report suspicious and unusual activity.
Trump plans to leave White House early Wednesday with send-off event at JBA
The “current plan” is for President Trump to leave the White House early on the morning of January 20, a senior administration official told CBS News.
Mr. Trump isn’t expected to participate in any inaugural activities or meetings with the Bidens, as is traditional. A sendoff event is being planned for Joint Base Andrews before he boards Air Force One for his flight to Florida.
The official added that “this could always change,” as things often do with Mr. Trump.
National Guard has asked people not to donate
The National Guard has asked the public not to donate to troops stationed in Washington D.C. ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s January 20 inauguration. The Guard is “not logistically able to accept donations of any kind,” the Guard said this week in a statement.
Thousands of troops arrived in the capital city on Wednesday in response to a continued threat following last week’s violence. Photos of troops lining the halls of the Capitol Complex, many napping on its marble floors, led to donation efforts. The Guard said many “well-meaning and thoughtful citizens” were “organizing collection of comfort items for National Guard men and women who are in the District of Columbia in support of the upcoming presidential inauguration.”
The statement clarified that “Guardsmen have appropriate lodging for when they are off-duty,” noting that photos of troops sleeping are of them on-duty, in designated rest areas between shifts.
A Defense Department official said this week the Guard is planning to bring 20,000 troops to Washington.
DOJ inspector general opens investigation
The Department of Justice inspector general announced Friday he is opening an investigation into the DOJ’s preparations for – and response to – the Capitol riots.
“The DOJ OIG review will include examining information relevant to the January 6 events that was available to DOJ and its components in advance of January 6; the extent to which such information was shared by DOJ and its components with the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal, state, and local agencies; and the role of DOJ personnel in responding to the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in a news release.
“The DOJ OIG also will assess whether there are any weaknesses in DOJ protocols, policies, or procedures that adversely affected the ability of DOJ or its components to prepare effectively for and respond to the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.”
The watchdog will coordinate its investigation with other probes being conducted by the Offices of Inspector General of the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Interior.
Hill staff “highly encouraged” to work from home through Inauguration Day
The Senate Sergeant at Arms sent an alert to staff Friday morning urging them to work from home through President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“Early this morning, Friday, January 15, numerous road and bridge closures were put into effect across the District of Columbia. As a result, access to the Capitol Complex is extremely difficult,” the message said.
“If able, staff are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to work remotely through January 20th.”
D.C. mayor to hold briefing on inauguration preparations
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser and federal partners are holding a public safety briefing Friday at noon to discuss inauguration preparations.
Watch it live on CBSN:
Capitol rioters included highly trained ex-military and cops
As President Trump’s supporters massed outside the Capitol last week and sang the national anthem, a line of men wearing olive-drab helmets and body armor trudged purposefully up the marble stairs in a single-file line, each man holding the jacket collar of the one ahead.
The formation, known as “Ranger File,” is standard operating procedure for a combat team that is “stacking up” to breach a building – instantly recognizable to any U.S. soldier or Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was a chilling sign that many at the vanguard of the mob that stormed the seat of American democracy either had military training or were trained by those who did.
An Associated Press review of public records, social media posts and videos shows at least 21 current or former members of the U.S. military or law enforcement have been identified as being at or near the Capitol riot, with more than a dozen others under investigation but not yet named. In many cases, those who stormed the Capitol appeared to employ tactics, body armor and technology such as two-way radio headsets that were similar to those of the very police they were confronting.
Experts in homegrown extremism have warned for years about efforts by far-right militants and white-supremacist groups to radicalize and recruit people with military and law enforcement training, and they say the Jan. 6 insurrection that left five people dead saw some of their worst fears realized.
“ISIS and al-Qaida would drool over having someone with the training and experience of a U.S. military officer,” said Michael German, a former FBI agent and fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. “These people have training and capabilities that far exceed what any foreign terrorist group can do. Foreign terrorist groups don’t have any members who have badges.”
Biden will take over @POTUS Twitter account
Twitter announced Thursday night that President-elect Joe Biden would be taking over the @POTUS Twitter account. But Mr. Biden will not automatically inherit the followers, Twitter and Biden’s digital director Rob Flaherty said.
The first step will be transferring the current accounts to the National Archives. The Trump administration’s @POTUS account will be archived as @POTUS45 just as Obama’s was archived as @POTUS44
After the archival process is complete, Twitter says it will transfer the institutional accounts to the Biden administration along with a new account @SecondGentleman for Douglas Emhoff.
@Transition46 will become @WhiteHouse, @PresElectBiden will become @POTUS, @SenKamalaHarris will become @VP, @FlotusBiden will become @FLOTUS and @PressSecPsaki will become @PressSec. Since these accounts are currently active, their history and followers will transition.
In 2017, former President Obama passed the account and its followers over to President Trump, but Twitter said in December that the account would be reset to zero followers. Existing tweets on @POTUS, @FLOTUS, @VP and @WhiteHouse will be archived and the accounts will be reset to zero tweets for the incoming administration on Inauguration Day.
Twitter has limited the use of the official accounts since Mr. Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter on Friday. At the time, Twitter said it would suspend the accounts if it became necessary in an extreme situation to alleviate real world harm, adding that they will be transferred over to the Biden administration in due time.
Customs and Border Protection says they are participating in inauguration security
Customs and Border Protection said Thursday that they are planning on participating in the U.S. Secret Service-led security operations for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
CBP said it is contributing Air and Marine aircraft and smallboat crews to augment airspace and maritime security operations, as well as contributing Border Patrol agents and Field Operations officers to supplement U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Capitol Police security details.