Outer Capitol fence to come down this weekend
The outer fencing surrounding the Capitol that’s been up since the Jan. 6 insurrection is expected to be removed over the weekend, the acting House sergeant-at-arms said Friday.
The new timeline is a few days earlier than originally expected. Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett initially said in a memo to lawmakers and staff on Monday that the outer fencing was expected to come down starting late next week.
The removal of the outer fence means that Independence Avenue and Constitution Avenue will reopen to traffic by Monday for the first time since January.
Blodgett said in a new memo to lawmakers and staff on Friday that the Architect of the Capitol and the Capitol Police repositioned the inner fencing immediately surrounding the Capitol earlier this week.
Blodgett also said that the Architect of the Capitol and Capitol Police removed some of the razor wire along the fence. Some razor wire still lined at least parts of the fence as of Friday afternoon.
It’s unknown when the inner perimeter fencing surrounding the Capitol building will come down.
Blodgett said the fencing will remain as the Architect of the Capitol “continues to make necessary security repairs to the Capitol building.”
National Guard members will also remain on the Capitol campus. The Capitol Police in early March requested that the National Guard extend its deployment at the Capitol for two more months.
Blodgett said in his memo from earlier this week that security officials are starting to remove the fence based on the Capitol Police’s assessment that “there does not exist a known, credible threat against Congress or the Capitol Complex that warrants the temporary security fencing.”
The Capitol Police did state publicly that it had obtained intelligence showing a “possible plot to breach the Capitol” by a militia group on March 4. That date had been identified by some followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory as the “true Inauguration Day” when former President Trump would be re-inaugurated.
Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman further revealed during testimony before members of the House Appropriations Committee late last month that there was intelligence indicating that some militia groups that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 have “stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible” when President Biden delivers a future joint address to Congress.
The security review conducted by Ret. Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who was tapped by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to lead it after the attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump’s supporters, recommended that Capitol officials install a permanent but retractable fencing system that could be erected in emergencies.
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