A member of the bomb squad is seen inside the secured US Capitol complex in Washington on Saturday. AP
Gulf Today Report
Ten days after rioters breached the US Capitol in a deadly attack that stunned the world, the FBI warned police agencies of possible armed demonstrations outside all 50 state capitol buildings starting from Saturday till President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.
Cities nationwide were girding for a potential new wave of violent protests over the weekend, erecting barriers and deploying thousands of National Guard troops.
On Friday night, police arrested a Virginia man at a security checkpoint near Capitol Hill where he tried to use an "unauthorised" credential to access the restricted area where Biden will be inaugurated. The man had a loaded handgun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition, authorities said.
US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting. File photo
Wesley Allen Beeler, of Virginia, had driven to a checkpoint on Friday evening and tried to use a phony credential to access the restricted area where President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated this week, according to a document filed in Washington, DC Superior Court, reports AFP.
As officers checked against an authorised access list, one of them noticed decals on the back of Beeler's pick-up truck that said "Assault Life," with an image of a rifle, and another with the message: "If they come for your guns, give 'em your bullets first."
Under questioning, Beeler told officers he had a Glock handgun in the vehicle. A search uncovered a loaded handgun, more than 500 rounds of ammunition, shotgun shells and a magazine for the gun, the court document said.
Beeler was arrested on charges including possession of an unregistered firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition, a police report said.
Following his arrest, Beeler said it was "an honest mistake" and that he was a private security guard who got lost on his way to work near the Capitol.
Michigan, Virginia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Washington were among more than a dozen states that activated their National Guards to strengthen security. Meanwhile, downtown Washington, D.C., was virtually empty, with streets near the Capitol closed and battalions of camouflaged National Guard soldiers taking up positions across the city centre.
In his first hours as president, Joe Biden plans to take executive action to roll back some of the most controversial decisions of his predecessor and to address the raging coronavirus pandemic, his incoming chief of staff said Saturday.
Joe Biden waves as he leaves St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware. AFP
The opening salvo would herald a 10-day blitz of executive actions as Biden seeks to act swiftly to redirect the country in the wake of Donald Trump's presidency without waiting for Congress.
Incoming Biden chief of staff Ron Klain said in a memo to new White House senior staff that the executive orders would address the pandemic, the ailing US economy, climate change and racial injustice in America.
"All of these crises demand urgent action," Klain said in the memo.
"In his first ten days in office, President-elect Biden will take decisive action to address these four crises, prevent other urgent and irreversible harms, and restore America's place in the world," Klain added.
President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6. File photo
The nationwide security scramble followed the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol by a mix of extremists and Trump supporters, some of whom called for the death of Vice President Mike Pence as he presided over the certification of Biden's election victory.
The Democratic leaders of four US congressional committees said on Saturday they had opened a review of the events and had written to the FBI and other intelligence and security agencies asking what was known about threats, whether the information was shared and whether foreign influence played any role.
500 rounds of ammunition
Meanwhile, Washington was under a state of high alert after the January 6 incident. The assault left five people dead, including a police officer.
Security officials have warned that armed pro-Trump extremists, possibly carrying explosives, pose a threat to Washington as well as state capitals over the coming week.
National Guard soldiers outside the US Capitol in Washington on Saturday. Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Thousands of National Guard troops have been deployed in Washington and streets have been blocked off downtown with concrete barriers.
Biden’s first day is expected to be packed, with aides saying recently he would sign perhaps a dozen executive orders that could address the pandemic, the ailing US economy, climate change and racial injustice in America.
Trump’s lawyers ridiculed the request in a letter by lead House prosecutor Jamie Raskin to answer questions over the Jan.6 attack on the US Capitol as a “public relations stunt.”
Senators voted 56-44 in favour of the constitutionality of the historic trial, rejecting a bid by Trump’s lawyers to throw it out on grounds that a former president cannot be tried by lawmakers.
Trump continued to attack McConnell, accusing the Senate GOP leader of failing to stand up for Republicans after McConnell blasted Trump for inciting the Jan.6 US Capitol riot despite voting to acquit the former president at his second impeachment trial.
Afghan government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Monday that special forces had arrested the person responsible for the embassy attack. "This person is a citizen of a foreign country and a member of Daesh," he said.
The Bharatiya janata Party (BJP) looks all set to form the government in Gujarat for a record seventh time, according a slew of exit polls released on Thursday.
The three teachers, all in their 30s, reportedly told investigators that their treatment of the toddlers was "discipline,” while the director said he had the document signed only to protect privacy of those involved and denied trying to cover up the abuses.