State Capitols were heavily guarded on Sunday as mostly small groups — numbering in the tens rather than the hundreds — showed up for demonstrations. Washington, D.C., turned into a fortress as the week of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration began, but President Trump remained out of sight in his final weekend in office, facing a second impeachment trial in the Senate.
Department of Homeland Security acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli assured “60 Minutes” that the 25,000 National Guard troops deployed to the nation’s capital “have a statutory mission we’re going to perform under all circumstances” even if Mr. Trump orders them to stand down.
“We all swore an oath to the Constitution,” Cuccinelli said when asked if troops would serve the president or the Constitution. “That is first and foremost. And we take homeland security very, very seriously. We deal with a lot of curveballs of all kinds. And yet, we march forward to keep the American people as safe as we possibly can.”
Last week, the FBI sent a bulletin to all 50 state governments warning that extremists were planning violence at Capitols across the country starting on January 16.
At the state Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, on Sunday, where legislators canceled the upcoming legislative sessions due to threats, only about 20 armed protesters showed up. In Austin, Texas, demonstrators at the Capitol told CBS affiliate KEYE that they didn’t want to be associated with the mob of pro-Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
“I think if January 6 hadn’t happened, we’d see a lot bigger crowd out here,” one demonstrator told KEYE.
With Mr. Trump holed up at the White House all weekend, Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Fort Drum, New York, to give his final scheduled speech as vice president. He spoke of the current “challenging times,” but only mentioned Mr. Trump’s name once.
The Senate is set to reconvene on Tuesday, less than one week after the House impeached Mr. Trump for the second time. Mr. Trump’s allies are urging Democrats, who will take the majority in the Senate this week, to turn the page and oppose impeachment.
In a letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Mr. Trump’s most loyal allies, accused the New York Democrat of seeking “vengeance and political retaliation” by moving forward with a trial for the president.