The National Guard and other forces were deployed to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday after people dressed in pro-Trump apparel stormed the building on Wednesday, interrupting a joint session of Congress.
President Donald Trump directed the National Guard to send forces, along with other federal protective services, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.
The Department of Justice sent hundreds of federal officers and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies to assist Capitol Police, according to acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.
A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson told news outlets that officers from the Federal Protective Service and the Secret Service were being deployed to the Capitol, per a request from the U.S. Capitol Police. The FBI told The Epoch Times via email that agents were deployed to assist U.S. Capitol police “as requested in protection of federal property and public safety.”
The FBI later announced it rendered two suspected explosive devices safe. An investigation into them is ongoing.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, said he was sending members of Virginia’s National Guard to Washington, along with 200 state troopers. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said he was sending troopers and had instructed the Maryland National Guard’s adjutant general to call up a rapid response force to support law enforcement and restore order.
Jonathan Hoffman, a Pentagon spokesman, said the law enforcement response to the situation was being led by the Department of Justice. Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller has been in touch with congressional leadership.
At the request of Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, approximately 340 D.C. National Guard personnel were activated this week to support police officers as protests in support of Trump carried on in the city.
The personnel were not armed, officials stressed.
After the protesters entered the building on Wednesday , triggering the evacuation of members of Congress, one person was shot.
U.S. Capitol police were making arrests but appeared overwhelmed. They had barricaded the House chambers, and some were pointing guns at the doors as protestors peered in.
Trump urged people to “remain peaceful,” adding, “No violence!” He also asked supporters to respect the police.
A huge crowd had gathered in Washington to protest the results of the 2020 election. Trump and his supporters believe the election was stolen from him, and urged lawmakers to object to results from states that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden won.
The joint session was to count electoral votes. Dozens of GOP legislators objected to votes from Arizona, triggering a separate two-hour debate in each chamber. That was interrupted by protesters entering the building.
Allen Zhong contributed to this report.