Mar 20, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Capitol security enhanced ahead of potential Trump indictment

U.S. Capitol on a cloudless day.

U.S. Capitol on March 20, 2023. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images.

The Capitol Police are boosting security in preparation for unrest over a possible indictment of former President Trump, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: It's the latest indication of how concerned security officials are about the ex-president's supporters committing violence if he is arrested as part of the Manhattan District Attorney's probe into a hush money payment he allegedly made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

  • Trump posted on social media that he believes an arrest could come as soon as Tuesday, urging his supporters to protest in response. Media reports indicate it could come later this week.

What we're hearing: The Capitol Police will have extra staff on standby this week and have deployed bike rack fencing around the perimeter of the Capitol, according to a senior aide and another source familiar with the planning.

  • The preparations were first reported by Politico.
  • The fencing is a precaution often taken when dignitaries are visiting or when large protests are expected near the Capitol complex.
  • The aide stressed that police intelligence does not indicate a specific threat to the Capitol and that the fencing will remain open for visitors unless it needs to be closed off.

What they're saying: A Capitol Police spokesperson declined to confirm any security plans.

  • "Unfortunately for safety reasons we don’t discuss any potential security plans," a spokesperson told Axios.
  • The D.C. Metropolitan Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Between the lines: Capitol Hill has been here before — on Jan. 6, 2021, when Trump's supporters, emboldened by his repeated and baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election, stormed and ransacked the building, injuring more than a hundred police officers in the process.

  • In the years since, Capitol Police have been particularly reactive to increased threat environments.

The big picture: The preventative measures on Capitol Hill come as New York-based law enforcement agencies are also planning for protests and potential violence.

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