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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.

21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Beto not even best Dem against Abbott

Beto O'Rourke speaks at a rally at the Texas State Capitol in June. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Actor Matthew McConaughey’s nine-point lead in a theoretical matchup against Greg Abbott shows just how vulnerable the hard-right Texas governor could be in a general election.

Why it matters: Abbott has won conservative accolades for his abortion, mask and vaccine bans. Axios reported Sunday that former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to announce a gubernatorial challenge — but a recent poll shows he’s not even the most popular Democrat in the state.

21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Delayed maps upend midterm campaigns

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Midterm candidates are panicking about how the congressional maps will ultimately be drawn, with several strategists telling Axios campaigns are in limbo.

Why it matters: Candidates are unsure if the district they're targeting will remain intact or be reshaped by the process. The uncertainty is especially vexing to Democrats, who are vying to maintain their narrow margin in the House.