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Trump declares two-week-long emergency in DC

President Donald J. Trump. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
January 12, 2021

President Donald Trump declared an emergency in Washington D.C. on Monday to remain in place from January 11 to January 24, fulfilling a request from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

The emergency declaration, which was announced in a White House press release, deploys federal assistance to support local law enforcement and emergency response efforts in D.C.

The order authorizes Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to “coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures … to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the District of Columbia.”

The emergency declaration comes after Mayor Bowser had sent a letter to Trump on Sunday requesting he declare the emergency in order to authorize federal assistance and funding for the inauguration security efforts.

“In light of the attack on the Capitol and intelligence suggesting further violence is likely during the Inaugural period, my administration has reevaluated our preparedness posture for the Inauguration, including requesting the extension of DC National Guard support through January 24, 2021,” Bowser wrote in her letter, reported by CNN.

“Based on recent events and intelligence assessments, we must prepare for large groups of trained and armed extremists to come to Washington, DC,” she added.

A leaked FBI bulletin identified a threat of armed protests expected this weekend and throughout president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration in all 50 state capitals, according to a law enforcement official who spoke with Associated Press. One armed group reportedly threatened “a huge uprising” if Congress attempts to remove Trump from office.

Mayor Bowser also sent a letter to then-Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf requesting the extension of security operations surrounding the inauguration. Bowser requested the security period run from January 11 to January 24, significantly longer than expected the January 19 to January 21 period.

Wolf said in a statement that he “instructed the U.S. Secret Service to begin the National Special Security Event operations for the 2021 Inauguration effective Wednesday, January 13th instead of January 19th.”

Law enforcement agencies are reportedly increasing their presence at state capital buildings after the U.S. Capitol was stormed last week. The FBI is currently working to identify photographed individuals who participated in the storming.

Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed on Monday that up to 15,000 National Guard troops were approved for activation to protect the upcoming inauguration. Hokanson added that the Guard is on the lookout for potential threats nationwide.