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FBI tracking potential inauguration threats
FBI tracking potential inauguration threats 13:02

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a new intelligence briefing that domestic extremists pose the highest threat to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next week, a U.S. official confirmed to CBS News on Friday. Washington, D.C. is locking down ahead of January 20, when Mr. Biden will officially be sworn in.

Some extremists are motivated by belief that Mr. Biden would be an illegitimate president, according to the bulletin. It also mentions foreign adversaries amplifying disinformation in the run up to the inauguration and after the Capitol riots.

The bulletin also warns of violence against federal buildings, and according to one official, the bulletin says there are "continued opportunities for violence targeting public officials, government buildings, and federal and local law enforcement."

The Homeland Security bulletin was issued on Thursday, the same day that FBI director Chris Wray said the agency is tracking an "extensive amount of concerning online chatter" as possible rallies and protests are planned in state capitols nationwide. 

Mr. Biden said Friday while outlining his COVID-19 vaccination plan that he felt safe about the inauguration. 

Meanwhile, more charges were announced on Friday from the January 6 assault on the Capitol. A Dallas-area realtor who prosecutors say took a private plane to Washington, D.C. was arrested in Texas, as were two men who said a police officer told them "it's your house now" in fear.

Charges were also announced against a man who said he contacted authorities regarding the death of Ashli Babbitt, who was shot to death by Capitol police. According to prosecutors, the man, David Charles Mish Jr., told police that Babbitt told an officer in the doorway "just open the door. They're not going to stop." Mish was charged with two counts: Unlawful entry on restricted buildings or grounds and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

Two Capitol police officers told CBS News' Kris Van Cleave that they didn't think would make it out of the assault alive — and one recalled protesters yelling that they would "Kill him with his own gun."  

Officer Mike Fanone, who said he volunteered to be there that day, described the assault as a "coordinated effort." 

"I mean, they were almost counting cadence as they were pushing against us," he said. 

U.S.-WASHINGTON, D.C.-CAPITOL-NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIER
National Guard soldiers are seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on January 14, 2021.  Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty
 

U.S. Representatives from Texas call for Cruz to be expelled from Senate

Congresswoman Veronica Escobar,  of Texas on Friday night tweeted a letter she and two other representatives from the state sent to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer calling for Senator Ted Cruz to be expelled. Cruz led the objections to the results of the electoral votes in Arizona, which the Senate was listening to arguments on when rioters took over the Capitol.

"In an effort to appease Donald Trump and his supporters, Senator Cruz encouraged these terrorists to wage an armed insurrection against America," Escobar wrote. "It is clear Senator Cruz echoed Trump's false voter fraud claims for political gain, going so far as sending a fundraising plea during the armed standoff in the Capitol where Members of Congress, staffers and journalists were held hostage for hours … We believe Senator Cruz's conduct is seditious and he must be held accountable."

The letter was also signed by Representatives Joaquin Castro, who is one of the impeachment managers, and Sylvia Garcia. 

By Caroline Linton
 

Facebook blocks creation of new events near White House and Capitol building

Facebook announced on Friday that it is no longer allowing people to create new events near the White House, U.S. Capitol or any state capitol buildings until after Inauguration Day. 

Facebook will also review all inauguration-related events and remove ones that violate site policies, and block events created in the U.S. by accounts and pages based outside of the U.S.

"We're monitoring for signals of violence or other threats both in Washington, D.C. and across all 50 states," Facebook said in a statement. "... as we did in the weeks after the presidential election, we are promoting accurate information about the election and the violence at the Capitol instead of content that our systems predict may be less accurate, delegitimizes the election or portrays the rioters as victims." 

Read more here

By Li Cohen
 

Capitol rioter known as "QAnon Shaman" will be jailed until trial

A Capitol rioter known as the "QAnon Shaman" has been ordered detained until trial, after federal prosecutors in Arizona said his words and actions during the January 6 siege show that the intent of the rioters was to "capture and assassinate" lawmakers. Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin later said there is no "direct evidence" of kill and capture teams, and a prosecutor later stuck that line from the memorandum urging a judge to keep him detained, according to The Associated Press. 

Jacob Chansley, 33, of Arizona was indicted January 11 by a federal grand jury on two felony charges of interfering with law enforcement during the commission of civil disorder and obstructing a Congressional proceeding, threatening Congressional officials and disorderly conduct. Chansley, who is also known as Jake Angeli, was also indicted on four misdemeanor counts. 

Prosecutors say Chansley, a well-known fixture at Arizona pro-Trump rallies, is a "self-proclaimed leader" in the QAnon conspiracy theory movement. Images of a shirtless Chansley storming the Capitol wearing horns, a fur coyote tail headdress and face paint, carrying a bullhorn and a spear, quickly went viral on social media. He is being held in a federal detention facility in Arizona.

Read more here.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Authorities say rioters aimed to "assassinate" elected officials

Federal prosecutors say some of the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol intended to capture and assassinate government officials, including Vice President Mike Pence. Jeff Pegues has the latest.

 

Charges announced against man who told authorities about Babbitt's final moments

Federal authorities announced Friday that they have filed charges against David Charles Mish Jr., a man who called authorities to provide details about Ashli Babbitt, who was shot to death during the melee by Capitol police. According to prosecutors, Mish called Metro police saying he had information regarding Babbitt's shooting, saying "because I entered the Capitol building. Are you guys going to take me to jail? I didn't break anything." 

Mish told authorities that Babbitt told an officer in the doorway "just open the door. They're not gonna stop," or words to that effect.

Video footage reviewed by law enforcement showed Mish was present at the door leading to the Speaker's lobby. Mish told authorities "I came up the stairs where the scaffolding was. Um, I was with a group of guys. . . . [E]verybody was yelling 'breach the building.'"

—  Clare Hymes and Caroline Linton

 

"Kill him with his own gun:" Cops describe being attacked by Capitol rioters

As rioters swarmed the U.S. Capitol last week, about three dozen Washington, D.C., police officers made their stand in a hallway leading into the building as a mob of thousands pushed back. Two of those officers told CBS News they didn't think they would make it out of the confrontation alive — and one recalled protesters yelling that they would "Kill him with his own gun."  

Officer Mike Fanone didn't have to be at the Capitol last Wednesday. But as distress calls rang out, he and his partner self deployed to answer the call for backup. "We were going to go, I'm not going to sit that one out," Fanone said. 

But Fanone said his mood changed when he got on the scene. "I was like, 'What the f*** did I get myself into?'" he recalled.

Read more here.

 

DHS issues bulletin about domestic extremists

A U.S. official confirmed to CBS News on Friday that Homeland Security had issued a new intelligence briefing that domestic extremists pose the highest threat of violence to the inauguration. Some extremists are motivated by belief that President-elect Joe Biden would be an illegitimate president, according to the bulletin. It also mentions foreign adversaries amplifying disinformation in the run up to the inauguration and after the Capitol riots.

The bulletin also warns of violence against federal buildings, and according to one official, the bulletin says there are "continued opportunities for violence targeting public officials, government buildings, and federal and local law enforcement."

The bulletin was first reported by CNN.

By Andres Triay
 

Texas woman who flew to D.C. rally on private plane charged

Jennifer Leigh Ryan of Texas flew to Washington D.C. from Denton, Texas, with a small group of people on January 5, prosecutors said on Friday. She was later seen entering the Capitol in videos she herself posted to Facebook, according to a complaint filed for her arrest in the United States District Court in Washington D.C.

According to the charging documents, in a video posted on January 6, Ryan said: 'We're gonna go down and storm the Capitol. They're down there right now and that's why we came and so that's what we are going to do. So wish me luck.'"

A now-deleted Facebook Live video showed Ryan walking to the Capitol, entering the building via the Rotunda entrance and saying: "We are going to f---ing go in here. Life or death, it doesn't matter. Here we go." She also stated her name, "y'all know who to hire for your realtor. Jenna Ryan for your realtor," as well as, "U-S-A! U-S-A!... here we are, in the name of Jesus!" and Fight for freedom!... this is our house!"

After the breach occurred, she tweeted: "We just stormed the Capital (sic). It was one of the best days of my life."

Before the complaint was unsealed, Ryan, who is also a conservative radio talk show host, told CBS Dallas / Fort Worth that she never entered the U.S. Capitol building. And, in a statement to the station, maintained that the protest, now linked to five deaths, was "peaceful."

"We exercised our right to free speech and peaceful protest. There was no violence. I did not break any window, I just posed by the window because I was taking photos all over DC all day. I did not go into the capital (sic)," she said, later adding, "I do not condone the violence that occurred on January 6, 2020 and I am truly heartbroken for the people who lost their lives"

Ryan has been charged with "knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority," and "disorderly Conduct on Capitol Grounds."

By Audrey McNamara
 

Schumer says Senate will conduct "rigorous investigation" into Capitol assault

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who will take over as Majority Leader soon, said Friday that the Senate will conduct a second impeachment trial of President Trump even though he likely will be out of office.

"Donald Trump remains a threat to our democracy and will be held accountable for what he's done—whether or not he's president during trial," Schumer said in his weekly radio address.

Schumer said the new Democratic Senate will conduct a "rigorous investigation" into the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, including the "role of white supremacy, disinformation, and the gross disparity in force between the Trump administration's response to the Capitol rioters and the administration's response to the racial justice protesters last summer."

Schumer also said passing President-elect Joe Biden's proposed COVID-19 economic relief package will be a priority. 

By Caroline Linton
 

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."

By Adam Brewster
 

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.

By Catherine Herridge
 

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

By Associated Press
 

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. 

By Audrey McNamara
 

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."

By Audrey McNamara
 

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.  

By Ben Tracy
 

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. 

By Audrey McNamara
 

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." 

 

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."

By Associated Press
 

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.

By Caroline Linton
 

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. 

By Caroline Linton
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