More than a dozen US states activated National Guard troops to help secure their capitol buildings following an FBI warning of armed protests, with right-wing extremists emboldened by the deadly attack on the American Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6.
Protesters are expected to descend on statehouses across the United States in support of claims that electoral fraud robbed President Donald Trump of a second term, as law enforcement officials girded for possible violence, Reuters wrote.
There were scattered demonstrations on Saturday, but statehouses remained mostly quiet. The anti-government "boogaloo" movement made plans weeks ago to hold rallies in all 50 states in the last days of Trump in office.
While many states have erected fences or other barriers to secure their capitols, Texas and Kentucky have taken the further step of closing their capitol grounds to the public.
It is just days until Wednesday's Inauguration Day, when Democrat Joe Biden will be sworn in amid extraordinary security efforts in Washington, DC.
The downtown area of the US capital was virtually empty on Saturday, with streets near the Capitol closed and battalions of camouflaged National Guard soldiers taking up positions across the city center.
Connecticut has activated its National Guard in preparation for as many as 2,000 mostly Trump supporters at its capitol complex in Hartford on Sunday, a state police spokesman said.
The nationwide security scramble followed the attack on the US Capitol in Washington by Trump supporters, some of whom called for the death of Vice President Mike Pence as he presided over the certification of Biden's election victory.
The Democratic leaders of four US congressional committees said on Saturday they had opened a review of the events and had written to the FBI and other intelligence and security agencies asking what was known about threats, whether the information was shared and whether foreign influence played any role.
The FBI and other federal agencies have warned of the potential for future violence, as white supremacists and other extremists look to exploit frustration among Trump supporters who have bought into falsehoods about electoral fraud.
Biden’s day one
Meanwhile, in his first hours as president, Biden plans to take executive action to roll back some of the most controversial decisions of his predecessor, his incoming chief of staff said Saturday.
The opening salvo would herald a 10-day blitz of executive actions as Biden seeks to act swiftly to redirect the country in the wake of Trump's presidency without waiting for Congress, AP wrote.
On Wednesday, following his inauguration, Biden will end Trump's restriction on immigration to the US from some Muslim-majority countries, move to rejoin the Paris climate accord and mandate mask-wearing on federal property and during interstate travel. Those are among roughly a dozen actions Biden will take on his first day in the White House, his incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, said in a memo to senior staff.
“These executive actions will deliver relief to the millions of Americans that are struggling in the face of these crises,” Klain said in the memo. “President-elect Biden will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward.”
On Thursday, the new president's second day in office, Biden would sign orders related to the COVID-19 outbreak aimed at reopening schools and businesses and expanding virus testing, Klain said. The following day, Friday, will see action on providing economic relief to those suffering the economic costs of the pandemic.
In the following week, Klain said, Biden would take additional actions relating to criminal justice reform, climate change and immigration — including a directive to speed the reuniting of families separated at the US-Mexico border under Trump’s policies.
More actions will be added, Klain said, once they clear legal review.
Incoming presidents traditionally move swiftly to sign an array of executive actions when they take office. Trump did the same, but he found many of his orders challenged and even rejected by courts.
Klain maintained that Biden should not suffer similar issues, saying “the legal theory behind them is well-founded and represents a restoration of an appropriate, constitutional role for the president.”