U.S. Capitol Police says ‘robust security’ planned for Sept 18 rally

By Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Capitol Police on Wednesday said it is enacting strong security measures ahead of a Sept. 18 rally in which supporters of former President Donald Trump intend to show support for people arrested for participating in the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

“We have a robust security posture planned for September 18th,” the U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement. “All available staff will be working.”

Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger will provide a security briefing to top lawmakers on Monday, Sept. 13, a source familiar with the meeting said.

The source said U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has invited three top congressional leaders — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy — to the security briefing, which will be held in Pelosi’s office.

Citing an internal Capitol Police memo, CNN reported on Wednesday that law enforcement officials are bracing for potential clashes and unrest during the Sept. 18 rally, which is being planned by a right-wing group.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Probe clears police officer who shot woman in Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack

By Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Capitol Police said on Monday an internal investigation has found no wrongdoing by the police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt, a supporter of then-President Donald Trump killed during the siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The police department said in a news release it determined the officer’s conduct was “lawful and within Department policy.”

The officer, who has not been publicly identified, will not face internal discipline.

Babbitt, 35, was a U.S. Air Force veteran who embraced far-right conspiracy theories on social media, including Trump’s assertions that his 2020 presidential election loss was due to fraud.

“The actions of the officer in this case potentially saved Members and staff from serious injury and possible death from a large crowd of rioters,” the Capitol Police said in the news release.

More than 570 people face criminal charges related to the attack, which resulted in at least five deaths and temporarily sent lawmakers into hiding as they sought to formalize Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe in Washington; Editing by Andy Sullivan and Matthew Lewis)

Police officer killed in vehicle attack on U.S. Capitol

By Idrees Ali

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A motorist rammed a vehicle into U.S. Capitol Police officers on Friday, killing one and injuring another and forcing the Capitol and congressional office buildings onto high alert, Capitol Police said.

The suspect drove a vehicle into the officers, got out of the car and lunged at them, with a knife in his hand, Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the United States Capitol Police, told a news conference.

Police responded by firing on the suspect, who died. Pittman said one of the officers was killed and the other was injured.

“It does not appear to be terrorism-related but obviously we’ll continue to investigate,” said Robert Contee, acting chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington.

Dozens of police cars, marked and unmarked, raced toward the iconic domed white building, in an unwelcome reminder of Jan. 6, when thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump overran the complex.

Police said they did not yet know what had motivated the attacker, and they did not identify him.

“Clearly this was someone who was actively trying to just get at whoever or whatever – we just don’t know right now, so we have a responsibility to investigate that to get to the bottom of this. Whether the attack was at law enforcement, or whoever, we have a responsibility to get to the bottom of it and we’ll do that,” Contee said.

All roads leading to the complex were blocked by police or police officers.

A helicopter was seen hovering overhead and observers were ordered to leave the area. Videos from the scene showed what appeared to be two people on stretchers being loaded into ambulances.

Journalists were told to stay away from windows.

Dozens of National Guard troops, who have been stationed at the Capitol since the January attack, quickly deployed after the incident. In riot gear, they jogged in columns to deploy at the scene and around the complex.

Authorities have begun only in the past couple of weeks to remove the outer ring of high, razor-wire-topped fencing erected around the sprawling Capitol complex after the Jan. 6 rampage.

Members of Congress were not in Washington on Friday, with both the Senate and House of Representatives in recess for the Easter holiday.

Biden also was out of the city. He arrived at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland early on Friday afternoon.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Patricia Zengerle; additional reporting by Peter Eisler, Doina Chiacu and David Brunnstrom; Writing by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Howard Goller)

Police warn of possible bid by militia group to attack U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Capitol Police department has obtained intelligence pointing to a possible plot to “breach the Capitol by an unidentified militia group” on Thursday, the agency said on Wednesday.

The Capitol Police statement added that it is working with local, state and federal agencies “to stop any threats to the Capitol,” adding, “We are taking the intelligence seriously.” No further details on the threat were provided.

Thursday marks the date when some right-wing conspiracy theorists have claimed that former President Donald Trump, who was defeated in the Nov. 3 election, will be sworn in for a second term in office. A pro-Trump mob that authorities have said included a number of right-wing extremists stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and interrupted the formal certification of President Joe Biden’s election in a rampage that killed five people including a police officer.

The Capitol Police statement noted that it already has made “significant security upgrades” at the Capitol, home to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. It was unclear if these upgrades were done in response to this latest threat or whether it includes the measures already in place following the Jan. 6 riot.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Will Dunham)