Capitol Police Warn of March 4 Threat Amid New QAnon Conspiracy Theories


Ms. Pittman said threats against lawmakers had risen nearly 94 percent in the first two months of the year compared with the first two months of 2020. She assured members of Congress that the police force would be ready for any potential violence on March 4.

Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, told senators on Tuesday that the Jan. 6 attack was domestic terrorism and that such a threat was “metastasizing across the country.” In a rare terrorism bulletin in January, the Homeland Security Department warned that the attack would not be an isolated episode and that extremists were motivated by “the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives,” a clear reference to the accusations made by Mr. Trump.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday, his first public appearance since leaving office, Mr. Trump repeated his false claim that he had won the November election.

Officials did not specify which militia group they believed was plotting to attack the Capitol on Thursday. The Capitol Police are asking for almost $620 million for the agency’s budget, an increase of nearly 21 percent over current levels, to pay for new equipment, training and an additional 212 officers for assignments such as a permanent backup force to respond to events like the Jan. 6 riot. Ms. Pittman told the lawmakers that she would be working with the architect of the Capitol to design more “physical hardening” of the building after it was overrun by the rioters.

“The U.S.C.P. is steadfast in ensuring that an incident of this nature will never occur again,” she said, adding that “a similar incident occurring in the current environment is a very real and present danger.”

QAnon’s central tenet is that Mr. Trump was elected to take on a cabal of Democrats, international financiers and deep-state bureaucrats who worship Satan, abuse children and seek to dominate the world. When that did not come to pass while Mr. Trump was in office, some QAnon adherents began spinning elaborate conspiracy theories around March 4.

The theory, like much associated with QAnon, is convoluted and takes on various forms, at times including secret pardons issued by President Barack Obama, the Banking Act of 1871, the Emergency Broadcasting System and Mr. Trump taking the helm of a newly restored republic. And those are not even the most outlandish elements.

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