- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 14, 2021

Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday the Trump administration is committed to a “safe” inauguration for President-elect Joseph R. Biden, as officials beef up security in Washington to unprecedented levels amid threats of more violence. 

“We all lived through that day, January 6,” Mr. Pence said of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol. “As the president made clear yesterday, we are committed to an orderly transition. The American people deserve nothing less.”

The vice president attended a security briefing at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters with officials from the FBI, Homeland Security Department and the Secret Service.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said officials “are seeing an extensive amount of concerning online chatter about a number of events surrounding the inauguration.”

“Right now we’re tracking calls for potential armed protests and activity leading up to the inauguration,” Mr. Wray said. “We’re concerned about the potential for violence” in the District and in state capitals. 

About 7,000 National Guard troops have arrived in Washington earlier than usual to implement tight security precautions for Mr. Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. At least 21,000 National Guard troops are expected to be in the city by the inauguration.

Many streets are closed already, creating snarled traffic, and an eight-foot-tall fence has been erected around the perimeter of the Capitol. Last week, thousands of Trump supporters stormed Capitol in a violent attempt to stop Congress from counting the Electoral College results certifying Mr. Biden’s victory. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser is asking District residents to avoid the area of the Capitol and the National Mall, and 13 Metro stations will be closed in the days leading up to the inauguration.

Mr. Pence said the administration will “ensure that we have a safe inauguration and President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn in as the president and vice president of the United States in a manner consistent with our history and traditions.”

Mr. Wray said there have been more than 100 arrests since Jan. 6. He said of suspects still out there, “We know who you are, and the FBI agents are coming after you.”

“My advice to people who might be inclined to follow in the footsteps of those … is stay home,” Mr. Wray said.

After the briefing, Mr. Pence traveled to the Capitol to meet with National Guard troops. He chatted with several of them individually.

“Thank you for stepping forward for your country,” Mr. Pence told them.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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