Transcript: Mayor Muriel Bowser on "Face the Nation," January 10, 2021

D.C. mayor asks feds to boost security for inauguration
D.C. mayor asks feds to boost security for in... 05:18

The following is a transcript of an interview with Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser that aired Sunday, January 10, 2021, on "Face the Nation."


MARGARET BRENNAN: Madam Mayor, thank you for joining us this morning. I know you have put this city under public emergency until the day after inauguration. There are about 6,000 National Guard troops who will be here. Those members, some of them will be armed. Do you think the city is prepared now for what's about to come?

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER: Well, I will tell you that given the events of last week, that this inauguration preparation has to be different than any other inauguration with only 10 days to go. Today, I'm- I'm requesting from the department of- the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, that they take additional steps, including expanding the length of the time that this national special security event is in place, which is- we're asking it to be extended from January 19th, back to January the 11th. Further, I am asking that they extend the perimeter of their coverage area for this national security special event, which is the inauguration, to include the Capitol. Later today, I'm going to send a letter to the president of the United States asking to- that he declare a pre-emergency declaration for the District of Columbia that will allow for further federal coordination.

MARGARET BRENNAN: There were pipe bombs that were discovered in Washington at the Democratic National Committee and at the Republican National Committee. Who planted them? What do you know?

MAYOR BOWSER: I know that the FBI is investigating that and we should take it very seriously. I think what we- we have seen is real domestic terrorism in our nation's capital, and that's what we need to call it. Who we saw charging the Capitol building were trained people in many cases, former military, former law enforcement. I think we may find other- other trained people, trained at marching and surging and sieging buildings. So we have to take it seriously. We too, have to take seriously how we're spreading our resources. That's why we're very focused on making sure that the federal government is providing enough coverage for federal facilities, including the- the Capitol, but many federal buildings across the district so that other law enforcement, our- our law enforcement can focus on other threats across the district's eight wards.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ok. Madam Mayor, there's a lot of finger pointing, as you know, about exactly how this happened on Wednesday. Back on January 5th, you sent a letter to the Pentagon and the Justice Department saying the district is not requesting other federal law enforcement personnel and discourages any additional deployments without immediate notification and consultation with the police if such plans are underway. Do you think this letter played a role in the underreaction?

MAYOR BOWSER: No. I- I- what I know is that district, prior to that had already requested federal support, and had been granted it in the form of the D.C. National Guard. And the D.C. National Guard had been deployed and received its assignment. What we called- that letter calls attention to the federal government or other federal policing agencies and asks the federal government to coordinate with us if they were going to be on D.C. streets. That letter has nothing to do with the Capitol or other federal facilities.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Did your police officers here expect the FBI and Homeland Security to warn them about this event? I mean, was there more federal warning that you expected to get that you did not?

MAYOR BOWSER: I think that we always work hand in hand on these events, as we will on the inauguration, on gathering intelligence. Certainly we gather intelligence locally, but the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have vast resources and the ability to keep us posted each and every day. I have asked- and the Department of Homeland Security and will further discuss with the FBI how they can enhance those intelligence sharing activities with us directly.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Before this event happened Wednesday, the leader of the Proud Boys was arrested almost immediately after he arrived here in Washington. And he had high capacity magazines on him. He landed here with weaponry. So was there no indication that there was something more than just a political rally being planned?

MAYOR BOWSER: Well, certainly we were on the lookout for- for weapons and we- we saw him with this magazine that could carry bullets, but we're always on the lookout for weapons. And in fact, the demonstration zone that we established prior to this event, we made clear to anyone in the public that --

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ok.

MAYOR BOWSER: -- they cannot carry weapons in those zones.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Madam Mayor, good luck. Thank you for your time. FACE THE NATION will be back in a minute. Stay with us.