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Iowa National Guard sending 250 to U.S. Capitol for inauguration security
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Iowa National Guard sending 250 to U.S. Capitol for inauguration security

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DES MOINES --- The Iowa National Guard plans to send 250 members to assist in security efforts in the nation’s capital during inauguration week, the Guard’s leader said Thursday.

What weve seen today has long been the fear of our nations top security officials: President Trumps supporters storming the barricades and entering the nations Capitol. Just hours before, President Trump encouraged people to go there, after making more unproven claims of election fraud."All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen today by emboldened radical left Democrats, which is what theyre doing," President Trump said.National security officials warned yesterday that they were seeing chatter of a planned breach at the Capitol. Given that concern -- and that warning -- its unclear why security was unable to stop demonstrators, and Capitol Police didnt get back to us.Violence has been in the backdrop, with multiple arrests and charges ranging from illegal firearm possession to assault. Earlier this week, the head of the far-right group Proud Boys was arrested and charged with destruction of property and possession of two high-capacity firearm magazines. Extremism experts say we could see the group get bigger:"The support of Trump, the conglomeration of various extremist groups working with groups like the Proud Boys, mean that we have a very active right-wing extremist scene that's going nowhere -- in fact, may become more enraged and grow in the years to come," says Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism.And that goes for another key group in attendance at the rally: followers of QAnon. An ex-believer tells me there's no sign of that stopping, even after a key figure of that conspiracy theory, President Trump himself, leaves the White House. 

Maj. Gen. Ben Corell said the U.S. National Guard requested assistance from all 50-plus U.S. states, territories and districts. Corell said the plan is for the 250 Iowa Guard members to travel to Washington, D.C., this weekend.

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Corell said he could not elaborate on what assignments the Iowa Guard members will be given once they reach the capital.

Security efforts have increased ever since a citizen siege on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, as supporters of outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump tried to stop Congress from certifying the results of last November’s election, which Trump lost. Five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, died during the raid.

“Because of events that have occurred, they’ve increased the security posture, which has increased the demand signal for not only law enforcement but National Guard,” Corell told reporters Thursday, just after completing his annual condition of the Guard address to the Iowa Legislature. “There are thousands of guardsmen, thousands of law enforcement professionals that are already in the area. They’re erecting barricades to protect critical infrastructure, and wherever the need is from the Iowa National Guard soldiers and airmen that moved to D.C., (local law enforcement officials) will probably put them in place.”

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