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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Capitol Police briefed House Democrats on Monday about three more potentially violent planned demonstrations in Washington, D.C., with at least one involving a plot to assassinate lawmakers as part of an insurrection, HuffPost first reported and Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The warnings underscore the severity of security threats lawmakers face as Washington prepares for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, coming just days after a pro-Trump mob ransacked the U.S. Capitol.

Details: The most alarming of the warnings concerned an insurrection plot that would involve demonstrators surrounding the Capitol, White House and Supreme Court, and then blocking Democrats from entering the building ― possibly by assassinating them ― so that Republicans could take control of the government.

  • Of the other planned demonstrations, one has been referred to as the "largest armed protest ever to take place on American soil." 
  • The other is a protest in honor of Ashli Babbitt, the Trump supporter who was killed by police inside the Capitol during last week's riot.

Capitol Police told lawmakers they have prepared for the plots, and that they may never materialize.

  • Capitol Police also said they are establishing rules of engagement as they prepare for thousands of armed protesters to arrive in Washington.
  • "In general, the military and police don't plan to shoot anyone until one of the rioters fires, but there could be exceptions," HuffPost writes.

The state of play: Federal authorities plan to lock down a massive area of downtown D.C. on Wednesday, six days earlier than originally planned.

Go deeper: Washington Monument closed over threats to disrupt Biden inauguration

Go deeper

Capitol Police officer who died after pro-Trump riot will lie in honor

A vigil honoring United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 28. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died in early January from injuries sustained while responding to the siege on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, will lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Friday evening.

Why it matters: Lying in honor is a final tribute reserved only for private citizens who have rendered distinguished service to the nation, according to the Architect of the Capitol.

U.S. ambassador to Russia will return home briefly: State Department

John Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, during a briefing in Moscow in 2015. Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via Getty Images

The State Department said Monday that the U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, will now be returning to the United States this week before returning to Moscow "in the coming weeks."

Why this matters: The statement, from a State Department spokesperson, comes just hours after Axios reported that Sullivan had indicated he intended to stand his ground and stay in Russia after the Kremlin “advised” him to return home to talk with his team.

Scoop: Leaked Ukraine memo reveals scope of Russia's aggression

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits a military exposition in Sevastopol, Crimea, in Jan. 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russia has been holding last-minute military exercises near commercial shipping lanes in the Black Sea that threaten to strangle Ukraine's economy, according to an internal document from Ukraine's ministry of defense reviewed by Axios.

Why it matters: With the eyes of the world on the massive buildup of troops in eastern Ukraine, the leaked memo shows Russian forces escalating their presence on all sides of the Ukrainian border.