FDLE prepares to defend FL Capitol amid warnings of ‘possible protests and violence’ by Trump supporters

By: - January 11, 2021 7:38 pm

Florida Capitol, Colin Hackley

State police are bracing against a repeat in Tallahassee of last week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol amid reports that Trump supporters plan similar attacks in all 50 states through Inauguration Day.

However, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement isn’t saying much about the preparations because of security considerations.

“We are aware of the information regarding possible protests and violence at state capitols,” Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for the FDLE, told the Phoenix via email.

“FDLE and Capitol Police continue to monitor the national situation and analyze information relevant to public safety. We regularly collaborate with our federal, state, and local partners to discuss and implement security measures that enhance public safety at Florida’s Capitol,” she wrote.

ABC News reported Monday the FBI has received intelligence warning of armed protests planned at all 50 state capitals and in Washington through Inauguration Day. A group called upon Trump followers to storm state, local, and federal facilities in case of the president’s impeachment or removal via the 25th Amendment, the network said.

That latter option would require Vice President Mike Pence to obtain a majority vote by Trump’s Cabinet that he is unfit to fulfill his duties.

“The FBI received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, D.C., on 16 January,” an internal FBI bulletin read, according to ABC. (That’s Saturday.) “They have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment, a huge uprising will occur.”

The same thing would happen in every state the day Democrat Joe Biden is sworn into office, even the ones Trump carried, the report said. CNN reported that the same memo warns of “various threats to harm President-Elect Biden ahead of the presidential inauguration.”

Democrats in the U.S. House filed an article of impeachment against Trump on Monday, citing his statements on Wednesday “that “encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol” last week and attempts to persuade Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn Biden’s victory.

The resolution declares that Trump has “demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans a floor vote on the resolution on Tuesday. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that no impeachment trial would begin before Jan. 19, the day before the inauguration.

The attack by Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol has already claimed at least four lives, including that of a Capitol Police officer of injuries sustained at the hands of the mob. A second officer died shortly thereafter while off duty.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday ordered flags at state and local facilities to be flown at half-staff in memory of the officers through sunset on Wednesday.

Trump has been claiming since he lost that the election was rife with voter fraud, but the courts have rejected such claims dozens of times. He also tried to make Pence reject vote counts in swing states that he lost, but Pence refused. The Capitol invasion delayed, but did not prevent, Congress from certifying Biden’s victory.

That was despite 147 Republicans in Congress, including Florida Sen. Rick Scott and 12 of Florida’s 15 representatives in the U.S. House, voting not to do so.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.