'This threat is credible, and it's real,' Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) said.
The House wrapped up business early this week and staffers on Capitol Hill have been urged to either work remotely or be on alert after police said there is intelligence that suggests a militia group is plotting to storm the Capitol on Thursday.
The warning provided little details on who the group is or what their motivations are, but Capitol Police said they are prepared after being caught flat-footed for the Jan. 6 insurrection — in which a Donald Trump-supporting mob breached the Capitol, leaving five people dead and more than 100 law enforcement officers injured.
"We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4," the Capitol Police said in a statement. "We have already made significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public and our police officers."
While Capitol Police did not provide much detail on who the threat is from, CNN reported that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security is monitoring "chatter" among the right-wing militia group Three Percenters, who CNN said are discussing possible plots on March 4. Multiple Republican members of Congress have had affiliations with the militia group, including QAnon-affiliated Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
There have also been reports for weeks that followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory were planning on traveling to Washington, D.C., on March 4 for what they believe is the real Inauguration Day. They think, falsely, that Trump will be sworn in for a second term.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) said in an interview with CNN that this belief is what is causing the threat to the Capitol, and called on Trump to come out to tell QAnon believers — who believe Trump is a savior of sorts — to debunk it.
"I think President Trump has a responsibility to tell them to stand down," McCaul said. "This threat is credible, and it's real, it's a right-wing militia group that believes because the original Inauguration Day was March 4 ... they think this is the true Inauguration Day and that President Trump should be inaugurated tomorrow. And that is the threat we face right now."
QAnon followers were a major part of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Many of those arrested at the attack were supporters of the theory, which espoused that Trump was going to take down a cabal of satan-worshipping Democrats and pedophiles.
After Trump left office, many QAnon followers were left stunned and without hope, as their predicted mass arrest of the "cabal" never happened.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said at a Senate hearing on Tuesday — which was held to examine the Jan. 6 insurrection and the rising threat of domestic terror in the United States — that the conspiracy theory remains a concern.
"Well, certainly we are concerned about the QAnon phenomenon which we view as a sort of loose, sort of set of conspiracy theories, and we've certainly seen domestic violent extremists of the sort that you're describing, who cite that as part of their motivation. And so that's something that we do," Wray said.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.