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National Guard member stage on the U.S. Capitol grounds. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In an escalation of inauguration security following the Capitol riot, federal authorities plan to lock down a massive swath of downtown Washington on Wednesday, six days earlier than originally planned.

Why it matters: The earlier shutdown is based on warnings about pre-inauguration demonstrations planned for this weekend in capitals throughout the country, as well as tighter security after the Capitol siege. 

  • The Department of Homeland Security announced that the window for the National Special Security Event, which will involve tens of thousands of National Guard troops and federal law enforcement personnel, will begin Jan. 13, rather than the previously scheduled Jan, 19, the day before the inauguration.
  • During the expanded security period, many businesses around the Capitol and White House will be inaccessible. 

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the change was in light of "events of the past week and the evolving security landscape leading up to the inauguration and at the recommendation of Secret Service Director James Murray."

  • Other National Security Special Events, which make the Secret Service the lead agency, include the Super Bowl and the national political conventions.

The bottom line: The change comes amid a massive tightening of security in D.C., including today's temporary closure of the Washington Monument in response to threats to disrupt President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

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Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - World

Biden turns the page on Trump's Israel-Palestine policies

Biden with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010. Photo: David Furst/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration laid out its Israel-Palestine policy at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, highlighting the importance of repairing ties with the Palestinian Authority.

Driving the news: According to the new policies, the U.S. will resume aid to the Palestinians and reopen the PLO office in Washington and the consulate in Jerusalem.

McConnell, McCarthy say 2017 tax law is "red line" in infrastructure talks

The top Republicans in the House and Senate told reporters after meeting with President Biden at the White House that "there is a bipartisan desire to get an outcome" on an infrastructure package, but stressed that revisiting the 2017 tax cuts is a "red line."

Why it matters: Wednesday marked the first time that Biden has hosted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) at the White House.

McCarthy: "I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy" of Biden's win

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was asked Wednesday whether he was concerned about elevating Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to GOP leadership after she has promoted baseless claims about the election. He responded: "I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election."

Why it matters: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was ousted as House GOP conference chair earlier Wednesday — in a vote that McCarthy supported — over her continued criticisms of former President Trump and his lies about election fraud.