WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With the Congress in the process to impeach him for the second time, outgoing President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged his supporters to shun violence as the National Guard prepared to deploy thousands of troops in Washington for the Jan. 20 swearing-in of his successor Joe Biden.
The city's acting police chief Robert Contee announced the figure a week after thousands of supporters of the Republican Trump stormed Congress in a failed bid to stop the final certification of the Democrat Biden's election victory. One police officer and four protesters died in the siege.
About 8,000 National Guard troops were on hand for Trump's 2016 inauguration, Reuters reported at the time.
While the House of Representatives debated a formal charge of incitement of insurrection, Trump and the Republican National Committee called for an end to violence ahead of the Inauguration.
In a White House statement, Trump said: In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers.
Home-sharing giant Airbnb and subsidiary HotelTonight were cancelling all reservations in Greater Washington during the inauguration week.
Roads near the Capitol, which were overrun with violent protesters on Jan. 6, have been closed. The National Park Service has closed the Washington Monument to tours and Mayor Muriel Bowser has asked visitors to stay away.
Incoming troops will be responsible for securing the city before Biden's inauguration, with new fencing engulfing the Capitol area. Two officials said some National Guard troops were deputized as Capitol Police officers to carry out law enforcement functions if needed.
Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen warned against further attacks in a video released overnight and urged the public to come forward with tips about potential attacks and threats before the inauguration, including attempts to forcefully occupy government buildings, he said.
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said it was unclear why Rosen and other top U.S. officials had taken so long to speak publicly, or why Rosen's video was posted overnight, raising further questions about how federal law enforcement responded to the mostly white mob's attack last week compared with the more diverse Black Lives Matters protests last summer.
It's inexplicable, McCabe told CNN on Wednesday.
Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a target of conservative media, told of fearing for her life in an Instagram Live video on Tuesday.
I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive, she said without providing details, citing security concerns.
US citizens are on high alert as the country seeks to regain its balance after the mob attack on the Capitol last week according to a range of polls released in recent days that reveal a nation frustrated by the President's actions and unsure of what comes next.
Three in four respondents to a nationwide CBS News/YouGov poll released Wednesday said it was at least somewhat likely that attempted violence could occur at President elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony which will take place on the Capitol steps just two weeks after armed extremists stormed the building.
A Quinnipiac University survey released this week found that 70% of voters expressed concern for the safety of elected officials in the country.
Clear majorities in those and other nationwide polls said President Donald Trump bore the blame for the rioting at the Capitol last week, and his approval ratings have fallen to historic lows in his final days in office. But support for impeaching and removing him is not as widespread, although some polls do show a slim majority of the country backing it.
The CBS poll found 55% of Americans favoring his impeachment, and another survey out this week from Politico and Morning Consult showed 53% of voters supporting it. The Quinnipiac poll (conducted by phone, unlike the online-based CBS and Politico polls) found 52% of voters supporting the President's removal from office.
Survey researchers of all methodologies went through a tough 2020, with polling systematically underestimating Trump's support for the second time in two presidential elections. Pollsters haven't conclusively determined what caused the failures, so it can be hard to be sure that support for Trump isn't actually a few points stronger across the board.
But it is potentially more useful to watch for trends over time, which is more like comparing apples to apples. From this point of view, the public appears to be slightly - but meaningfully - more receptive to the idea of impeaching the President than it was at this time last year, when Democrats' efforts to remove the President from office divided the country almost down the middle.
At that time, close to half of voters said they thought Democrats were pushing to remove the President for political reasons and doubted that the charges against Trump were worth impeaching him for.
This time, the country is more broadly in agreement on the dire nature of what Trump has been accused of. Roughly 6 in 10 Americans said in the CBS poll that they thought the President had encouraged violence at the Capitol. A PBS NewsHour/Marist College survey conducted by phone on the day after the attack found 63% of the country saying the President bore considerable blame for the chaos.
The effects on Trump's approval numbers have been severe. In all recent polls, his job approval is in the mid- to high 30s, with roughly 3 in 5 Americans disapproving of his performance.
While his unwavering support from about a third of the electorate has saved Trump from dipping into the 20s, where Richard M. Nixon and George W. Bush both were near the end of their presidencies, the latest numbers reflect his diminished support across the board, including among Republicans; his job approval among members of his own party, once almost universal, has dipped into the 70s.