WASHINGTON DC is on alert over a "possible plot" to storm the US Capitol today, with staff told to work from home.
Security has been ramped up as fans of far-right conspiracy theory QAnon think former president Donald Trump will return to office for a second term.
The United States Capitol Police said on Wednesday they were aware of a "possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group" – which appeared to be inspired by pro-Trump conspiracy group QAnon.
It said in a statement: "The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex.
"We have already made significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public and our police officers."
The statement added they are taking the intelligence "seriously".
Intelligence analysts have spent weeks tracking chats by some QAnon adherents about a theory that Trump will return to power because March 4 was historically a date for presidential inaugurations.
However, that date was moved to January 20 in 1933 with ratification of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.
Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, a senior Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, told CNN: "President Trump has a responsibility to tell them to stand down.
"This threat is credible. It’s real. It’s a right-wing militia group."
House leaders moved a vote policing legislation from Thursday to Wednesday night so lawmakers could leave town, according to a senior Democratic aide familiar with the planning.
Senate staffers told NBC journalist Scott MacFarlane that their bosses are advising them to "work from home" today.
The Capitol complex is now ringed with non-scalable, barbed-wire topped 8-foot fences and is being guarded by hundreds of National Guard members following the riots on January 6.
Capitol Police said the agency is now reaching out to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to prepare further.
QAnon followers think Trump has been fighting a Satanic cabal of child-eating pedophiles and that he will execute his war against the “deep state” on March 4.
The March 4 breach threat comes nearly two months after the deadly riot in which Trump supporters stormed the Capitol trying to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's victory.
On Wednesday, Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman told lawmakers that the force is "steadfast in ensuring that an incident of this nature will never occur again, especially with the realization that the possibility of a similar incident occurring in the current environment is a very real and present danger."
It comes as FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed concerns that the riot on January 6 could have inspired international terrorists, Fox News reports.
He said: "We think the events on January 6 have been at a minimum an inspiration to a number of terrorist extremists out there and may even have been worse than that."
A joint report by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security stated that extremists discussed a plot to gain control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or around March 4, Axios reported on Wednesday.
The report also cited the QAnon theory that Trump will be inaugurated on March 4 or return to the White House with the help of the military on May 20.
Thousands of National Guard troops will remain in Washington DC until March 12 in case of an attempted coup.
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