The Capitol Police remain on high alert about possible violence directed toward Congress even after the Jan. 6 riot, with acting Police Chief Yogananda Pittman saying there is chatter about trouble around the State of the Union address.
“We know that members of the militia groups that were present on Jan. 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible, with a direct nexus to the State of the Union ― which we know that date has not been identified,” Pittman revealed in testimony to a House Appropriations subcommittee Thursday.
“So based on that information,” she added, “we think that it’s prudent that Capitol Police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward.”
Pittman spoke to lawmakers Thursday as Congress continues to examine the security failures that led up to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, when Donald Trump supporters overran the building to try to stop lawmakers from certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election.
“We know that the insurrectionists that attacked the Capitol weren’t only interested in attacking members of Congress and officers,” Pittman said. “They wanted to send a symbolic message to the nation as to who was in charge of that legislative process.”
National Guard troops and fencing remain a presence at the Capitol, a grim and unwelcome reminder of what happened last month. Lawmakers repeatedly pressed Pittman about how much longer both the troops and the barriers would be up.
“We have no intention of keeping the National Guard soldiers or that fencing any longer than what is actually needed,” she responded.