A militia group likely inspired by the QAnon conspiracy theory has been plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, according to a law enforcement intelligence assessment that prompted the House to cancel all legislative business out of safety concerns.
The assessment, which was disseminated to all members of Congress on Wednesday by Capitol Police, did not identify the group, but the timing of the alleged plot gives a clue.
Thursday is March 4 — the date followers of QAnon falsely believe Donald Trump will reclaim the presidency.
QAnon adherents, who ascribe to a baseless theory positing that Trump is on a secret mission to expose a Satanist cabal of Democratic pedophiles in control of the U.S. government, picked March 4 because it was the original date for presidential inaugurations until 1933.
The deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol still fresh on their minds, House leaders canceled votes planned for Thursday and advised members they did not need to appear for session after the unnerving alert. It appeared unlikely that the Senate, which is working on the coronavirus stimulus package, would cancel its Thursday session.
Capitol Police said they will beef up security on Thursday due to the potential threat.
“Based on the intelligence that we have, the Department has taken immediate steps to enhance our security posture,” the agency said.
House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett also issued a memo Wednesday warning that there could be trouble into the weekend, with “additional interest in the Capitol for the dates of March 4th-6th by a militia group.”
Several far-right militias, including the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters, played part in the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol that left five people dead, including a police officer.
Despite plans for more attacks, Trump has refused to walk back his false claims about election fraud, which inspired the Jan. 6 mob to invade the building in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s election.
Instead, the former president has doubled down, falsely telling a receptive crowd at an event just this past weekend that the 2020 election was “rigged” against him.
Word of another plot to attack the Capitol comes as Congress is ramping up scrutiny over the security failures that paved the way for Jan. 6.
Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said in a hearing Wednesday that he believes U.S. law enforcement agencies are being too complacent about the threat posed by white supremacist extremists.
“These efforts need to be expanded so a breakdown like Jan. 6 never happens again,” Peters said.
Story by Dave Goldiner and Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News.