In wake of rampage, Washington seeks to secure Biden's inauguration

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President-elect Joe Biden. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
President-elect Joe Biden. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
  • President-elect Joe Biden is expected to be inaugurated on 20 January in Washington.
  • Following last week's invasion of the US Capitol, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has called for a different approach to security ahead of the inauguration.
  • Adam Schiff, chairman of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee said law enforcement will ensure a safe event.

City and US officials pressed law enforcement authorities to safeguard President-elect Joe Biden's Washington inauguration from more violence by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump who stormed the US Capitol last week.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser on Sunday called for a different approach to security before the 20 January event after what she called last week's "unprecedented terrorist attack."

Adam Schiff, chairman of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said he expected law enforcement to ensure a safe event.

The threat of more violence in the last nine days of Trump's term was a reason to swiftly remove the incumbent, who fired up thousands of loyalists in a speech before Wednesday's rampage, Schiff told CBS "This Morning."

"There's certainly a danger that the president will continue to incite his followers to further violent activity, aimed at stopping the peaceful transition of power," Schiff said.

The assault on the Capitol, staged to object to the certification of Biden's victory in the November election, sent lawmakers scrambling into hiding and left five people dead. Dozens of people have been charged in the violence and hundreds more cases are expected.

Far-right groups have praised the siege in encrypted chat rooms and defended the participants as patriots on social media. There have been online calls for more protests leading up to the inauguration, including a so-called Million Militia March on 20 January, and federal authorities promised aggressive pursuit of rioters.

Despite evidence of a fair election, Trump has challenged the validity of Biden's substantial electoral victory.

In a letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf made public on Sunday, Bowser urged the department "to adjust its approach to the inauguration in several specific ways," including a federal force deployment plan for all US government property.

Bowser said the city was submitting a request for a "pre-disaster declaration" to allow for federal assistance.

A US presidential election traditionally draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the US capital, but the ceremonies have been scaled back dramatically because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trump said last week he would not attend the ceremony, a decision the president-elect supported.

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