The latest on Biden's inauguration and security threats

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 9:56 p.m. ET, January 15, 2021
20 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
12:15 p.m. ET, January 15, 2021

Trump's exit ceremony expected to be similar to state visit departure event

From CNN's Jim Acosta

President Trump's departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews on the morning of Jan. 20 is expected to be like a state visit departure event, an administration official tells CNN. 

Some of the pomp and circumstance under consideration for the ceremony includes a color guard, military band, 21-gun salute and red carpet, the official added.

Trump is then expected to depart for Palm Beach, Florida, where there is nothing scheduled at the moment.

12:16 p.m. ET, January 15, 2021

Pelosi calls for investigation after man in "Camp Auschwitz" seen in riot

From CNN's Aditi Sangal


After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a review of the riot at the US Capitol last week, she criticized a pro-Trump rioter who was seen on the premises, wearing a shirt with "Camp Auschwitz" written on it.

Recounting her delegation's visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau last year, she said it had an “overwhelming” impact on her to see how the people were “dehumanized.” 

“To see this punk with that shirt on and his anti-Semitism that he has bragged about, to be part of a White supremacist raid on this Capitol requires us to have an after-action review to assign responsibility to those who were part of organizing it and incentivizing it,” she said.

She added:

“We take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, our democracy. And that is what we will do. And we will protect all of those who are here to honor their oath of office."

See the moment:

1:29 p.m. ET, January 15, 2021

Pelosi does not say when House could send impeachment article to the Senate


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi did not say when the House could send its newly passed article of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate, which would start the process of the Senate trial.

Speaking at a news conference today, she told reporters they'd be "the first to know" when that happens.

"One week ago, on January 6th, there was an active insurrection perpetrated on the Capitol of the United States, incentivized by the President of the United States. One week later — Wednesday to Wednesday — that President was impeached in a bipartisan way by the House of Representatives," she said.

Pelosi continued: "So urgent was the matter, they're now working on taking this to trial, and when they — you'll be the first to know, when we announce that we're going over there."

12:20 p.m. ET, January 15, 2021

Pelosi: "Strong interest" in Congress for 9/11-style commission to investigate Capitol attack 

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she has asked Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré “to lead an immediate review of security infrastructure, interagency processes and command and control” at the Capitol complex following last week's deadly attack.

"We must subject this whole complex to scrutiny in light of what happened and the fact that the inauguration is coming," Pelosi said.

Pelosi also said there is "strong interest" in Congress for creating a 9/11- style commission to investigate the siege.

"Members are moving forward with strong oversight from committees of course to have after action review. There is strong interest in the Congress in a 9/11-type commission – an outside commission to conduct that after action review. In the meantime I’m very grateful for Gen. Honoré for taking on this responsibility,” she said.

Honoré led the Department of Defense response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and was vice director for operations, J-3, The Joint Staff, according to his biography.

Pelosi said there has been “unprecedented mobilization of security” after the Capitol attack last week.

She expressed gratitude to Capitol Police and the National Guard for their actions.

“They have shown great courage, and we're very proud of them,” Pelosi said. 


11:56 a.m. ET, January 15, 2021

South Carolina State House will close amid threat of potential armed protests 

From CNN's Dianne Gallagher 

Days after the FBI issued a warning of potential armed threats at US capitols across the country, South Carolina law enforcement agencies are taking extra security measures including additional securing of the grounds of the State House. 

Out of an abundance of caution, South Carolina Department of Public Safety will close the State House complex to visitors starting tomorrow through Inauguration Day, according to a news release from the department. 

Law enforcement agencies statewide have come together to plan and prepare for the deployment of resources.

They have started steadily increasing vigilance and manpower since last week at the State House and surrounding areas, the release stated. 

11:48 a.m. ET, January 15, 2021

Domestic extremists pose most likely threat to inauguration, new security bulletin says 

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez, Manu Raju and Whitney Wild

Concertina razor wire tops the 8-foot fence that surrounds the Capitol in Washington on January 14.
Concertina razor wire tops the 8-foot fence that surrounds the Capitol in Washington on January 14. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Domestic extremists pose the most likely threat to the presidential inauguration next week, particularly those who believe the incoming administration is illegitimate, according to a joint bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and eight other agencies obtained by CNN.

The assessment, dated Jan. 14, also notes that since the attack on the US Capitol, Russian, Iranian, and Chinese influence actors have “seized the opportunity to amplify narratives in furtherance of their policy interest amid the presidential transition,” adding that there’s a lack in specific, credible information indicating that they are seeking to commit violence. 

The assessment provides a breakdown of additional concerns leading up to Inauguration Day, including possible violence and cautioning of use of unauthorized unmanned aircraft system operations that could disrupt law enforcement operations.

"In light of the storming of the US Capitol on 6 January, planned events in Washington, DC, in the lead up to and day of Inauguration Day offer continued opportunities for violence targeting public officials, government buildings, and federal and local law enforcement," the assessment reads.
11:42 a.m. ET, January 15, 2021

Park Service announces National Mall will remain closed until day after inauguration 

From CNN's Ross Levitt

U.S. Park Rangers look out over the National Mall from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on January 15.
U.S. Park Rangers look out over the National Mall from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on January 15. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The National Park Service has closed the National Mall and announced that it will remain closed until the day after Inauguration Day.

It also says protests will be limited to those with permits.

"Demonstrations will be limited in number and participants will be screened prior to entry and escorted to their permitted location, in addition to other safety related requirements. Only those holding permits will be allowed within the closed area," the statement said.

A source told CNN Thursday that the closure is due to intense security concerns.

The statement says it affects, "all National Park Service property, memorials and facilities.'

"The closure has been ordered to ensure safety and security within the area of the National Special Security Event designated by the Department of Homeland Security for the 59th presidential inauguration," the statement adds.


11:09 a.m. ET, January 15, 2021

Michigan State Police mobilizing troopers from across state ahead of possible protests at capitol

From CNN’s Josh Campbell

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is mobilizing personnel from across the state to secure the state capitol in Lansing ahead of planned protests this weekend, the agency said in a statement Friday. 

"In anticipation of an unknown number of demonstrators expected to gather on the grounds of the Capitol on Sunday, January 17, the MSP is again increasing its uniform presence by mobilizing troopers from across the state," the statement read. "MSP’s resources will be complemented by uniform personnel from the Lansing Police Department, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan National Guard to ensure that the greater downtown area is also protected."

State police are working in concert with the FBI, National Guard and other law enforcement agencies to protect the capitol area, the agency said. 

“Security enhancements that have been put in place include both seen and unseen measures,” Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP, stated. “I can assure you that we take our responsibility for safeguarding the Capitol and those who work and visit here seriously and, together with our law enforcement partners, we will be prepared to ensure law and order.”

Michigan remained a flash point during 2020 as armed protesters gathered at the capitol in April to demonstrate against the state's pandemic shutdown orders.

The state was also the center of an alleged plot by extremists to kidnap the governor prior to the 2020 presidential election.  

11:25 a.m. ET, January 15, 2021

Here's how DC is tightening security ahead of Biden's inauguration next Wednesday

From CNN's Alex Marquardt, Jeff Zeleny and Kate Sullivan

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Authorities in Washington, DC, are bracing for more extremist violence in the coming days after supporters of President Trump stormed and breached the US Capitol last week in a deadly riot that left five people dead.

Federal law enforcement agencies have issued an urgent call for assistance in securing the nation's capital as the inauguration nears, CNN has reported, warning that domestic extremists are likely more emboldened to carry out attacks on Biden's inauguration and throughout 2021 after seeing the success of the US Capitol.

More than 20,000 National Guard troops could be in Washington to help secure Biden's inauguration, Washington Police Chief Robert Contee said Wednesday, and sources tell CNN that officials are considering raising the terrorism threat level.

The National Mall, meanwhile, will be closed to the general public on Inauguration Day due to security concerns, according to an official familiar with discussions.

The official said there will be no big screens, no toilets and no panels were people stand, and the public will not be able to get down to the mall where traditionally thousands gather to watch the new President be sworn in.

President-elect Joe Biden's advisers, who are helping plan the inaugural, say it is intended to be a virtual event. They did not object to heightened security restrictions recommended by authorities pertaining to the Mall or the area surrounding the White House.

There are ongoing discussions between the District of Columbia, National Park Service and the US Department of Interior on when the shutdown will happen. There won't be access on Jan. 20, but when exactly before that is still the subject of discussion.

The National Park Service said in a statement an announcement would be made by the department or the United States Secret Service when a final decision was made.

The restrictions on the National Mall were first reported by the Washington Post.

The President-elect and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are still expected to take their oaths of office on the West Front of the US Capitol during a significantly scaled-down event. Biden said this week that he was "not afraid of taking the oath outside" and that his team had been receiving briefings in the wake of the violence.

On Wednesday, Biden received a briefing from senior officials at the FBI, the Secret Service and key members of his national security team about the potential for additional extremist violence in the coming days, according to the President-elect's transition team.

See the security precautions around the Capitol: