Transcript for Capitol on alert after March 4 plot uncovered, officials say
Good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a very busy Wednesday night. New York governor Andrew Cuomo coming before the cameras today. His apology, his words and the fierce reaction tonight. But we're going to begin tonight with that alarming new bulletin that warns of a new threat against the U.S. Capitol. A possible militia plot to storm the capitol as early as tomorrow. And after what we all witnessed on January 6th, authorities are now taking this intelligence very seriously. Tonight, the capitol complex still surrounded by fencing topped with razor wire. Some 5,000 National Guard troops on duty. We've learned the house has scrapped its session tomorrow after the warning. And the warning comes as just today we heard from the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard. He testified that during the attack on the capitol in January, that he waited three hours, 19 minutes before being allowed to send forces in to help fend off the rioters. ABC's Rachel Scott on the hill tonight with this new threat and authorities who say we must take it seriously. Reporter: Tonight, the nation's capital on high alert. Officials warning domestic terrorists are plotting another possible attack on the capitol - tomorrow. The alleged plans uncovered by the FBI and department of homeland security. In an intelligence bulletin overnight, stating "An unidentified group of militia violent extremists had discussed plans to take control of the U.S. Capitol and remove democratic lawmakers." That threat linked to a far-right conspiracy theory pushed by qanon, falsely claiming Donald Trump will assume the presidency tomorrow on March 4th. Tonight, capitol police beefing up security around the complex. But lawmakers are still trying to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th in the first place. After a frantic call from the D.C. Police chief, it took more than three hours for the defense department to send in the D.C. National Guard. The commanding general William walker telling lawmakers he felt frustrated, that his hands were tied. At that point, seconds, minutes mattered, and I needed to be ready to get them there as quick as possible. Reporter: When the green light was finally give, walker says they arrived within 18 minutes. But it was too late. Rioters had already stormed the building. Lawmakers today asked, why the delay? I just keep thinking of the hours that went by and the people that were injured. All agree that once requested, it took far too long for the National Guard to arrive. Reporter: General walker said trump's military advisors were concerned about optics. The army senior leaders did not think that it looked good, it would be a good optic. They further stated that it could incite the crowd. Reporter: The roughly 340 National Guard troops that were requested by d.c.'s mayor were assigned to traffic control and crowd management, not defending the capitol. But a stark contrast. Over the summer, when the killing of George Floyd prompted thousands to take to the streets, walker said it took minutes, not hours, to deploy the National Guard. Was the issue of optics ever brought up by army leadership when the D.C. National Guard was deployed during the summer of 2020? It was never discussed. Let's get to Rachel Scott, live up on the hill tonight. And Rachel, the capitol police chief has warned that militia groups have threatened to blow up the capitol during president Biden's upcoming speech to a joint session of congress in the coming weeks, we've reported on that already. We obviously know they're taking these sets seriously, but as far as tomorrow is concerned what are they doing to prepare? What's the presence there tonight? Reporter: David, sources telling us tonight that the house has decided to change its floor schedule to get lawmakers out of Washington, D.C. Before tomorrow. And still, an increased level of security presence here on the capitol grounds here tonight. You have miles long of razor wired fencing and still roughly 5,000 National Guard troops on site, David. All right, Rachel Scott leading us off tonight from the Rachel, thank you.
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