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Nation’s capital gets ready for anything ahead of inauguration

The nation's capital is bracing for what could happen next week while those that were in the Capitol during Wednesday's siege still haven't recovered.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – It an amazing juxtaposition. Just days before the inauguration and more than a week after the chaos at the U.S. Capitol — all is quiet as President Donald Trump and the White House staff prepare to leave, but just outside the gate it is complete chaos.

Preparations are being readied for battle with more razor wire, more fences, more barricades and more troops as the nation’s capital gets ready for any contingency.

Matt Miller is the special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office for the Secret Service. At a press conference Friday he said: “There is a great deal of concerning chatter and it’s what you don’t know that we are preparing for.”

Even inside the U.S. Capitol there are metal detectors at the House chamber doors.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) said it was “unprecedented that we have magnetometers.”

Wasserman-Schultz’s own hearing room was broken into on Jan. 6 and she is still recovering from the fear.

“It was real fear and I think we’re all suffering some PTSD.”

At this point, she said, “anything is possible.” And, that includes lawmakers themselves conspiring with rioters. More than 30 members of congress are calling for an investigation into tours some gave the day before for visitors who “appeared to be associated” with the riot.

“We do know there were Republican members of congress giving tours, but we don’t know what the purpose of those tours were and it’s chilling that’s a possibility. It needs to be investigated thoroughly,” Wasserman-Schultz said.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that the insurrection and the inauguration are still the priorities, even over delivering the articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump to the senate for the trial.

Pelosi told reporters on Friday: “You’ll be the first to know when we announce it’s going over there.”

New polls prove most Americans do want Trump gone: 54 percent say it would be better for the country, 52 percent blame Trump for inciting the insurrection, and Trump’s overall approval rating is even lower than usual at 29 percent.

The question now is will the senate agree?

“I believe that this president has committed an impeachable offense,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

However, even outspoken Murkowski is not saying whether she’ll actually vote to convict Trump. No senator has and 17 would be needed along with all Democrats to do so.

The president’s final departure from the White House will be on the morning of Jan. 20. He is expected to leave at 8 a.m. Also, Trump will break another presidential tradition – he will not be greeting Joe Biden as the new president, leaving even before Biden’s inauguration.

About the Author:

Ross Palombo returned to Local 10 News in March 2017 as chief of the Washington, D.C., bureau.