The deployment of National Guard troops in the nation’s capital through mid-March is costing roughly $500 million, The Hill reported Thursday evening.
This price tag, a defense official confirmed to the publication, surpasses the at least $480 million that Bloomberg first reported Thursday afternoon.
The defense official did not have a more detailed breakdown of the costs, according to The Hill, with the costs not including those taken on by the city.
Following a violent mob storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6, roughly 26,000 National Guardsmen from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and three territories flooded the city and established high-security zones around vital locations in the heart of D.C.
Fearing similar attacks on or surrounding the date of President Joe Biden‘s January 20 inauguration, such zones included the Capitol Complex, National Mall, and massive swaths of downtown D.C. with armed guards, barricades, and razor-tipped fences.
However, around 5,000 troops are set to remain stationed at the Capitol until at least the middle of next month, at the request of Capitol Police and in accordance with a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) bulletin warning that after inauguration the threats still linger.
“Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin reads.
The Pentagon, it should be noted, has not gone into detail about the specific threats which spurred them to rubber-stamp the request.
One of the upcoming events in D.C. that people believe could be subject to threats is former President Donald Trump‘s Senate impeachment trial, which is set to commence on Tuesday. According to The Hill, believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory are falsely claiming that Trump will be sworn in again on March 4, the original date of presidential inaugurations before the 20th Amendment in 1933 shifted it to January 20.
However, some Republican politicians have expressed scrutiny over the ongoing presence of troops in D.C.
“I sit on the Intelligence Committee, but I’m aware of no specific, credible threat reporting — as distinguished from aspirational, uncoordinated bluster on the internet — that justifies this continued troop presence,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wrote in a Fox News opinion piece last week. “Thus, I believe the rest of these soldiers should also go home to their families and civilian jobs.”
After 11 Republicans headed by Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) last week penned a letter to acting Army Secretary John Whitley asking for a briefing regarding intelligence on threats to the Capitol Complex, Whitley and Waltz spoke on the phone Tuesday. However, the phone call did not satisfy Waltz.
“I appreciate the call from Secretary Whitley and believe the Army must push Congress and the FBI for more clarity as what specific threat requires the Army to have a larger presence on Capitol Hill than we have in Afghanistan and Iraq combined,” Waltz said in a statement afterward.
“In the past year, COVID-19, social unrest, natural disasters and war zone requirements have repeatedly pulled the Guard from their jobs and families, causing tremendous stress on the force,” he said. “Lawmakers continue to be left in the dark on actual threat assessments and a long-term strategy. I hope we will have a briefing for lawmakers scheduled in the near future.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Hunter Biden Indicted on Federal Gun Charges Amidst Special Counsel Investigation
In a significant development, Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, was indicted on Thursday on federal gun charges as part of Special Counsel David Weiss’ ongoing investigation. The indictment alleges that Hunter Biden made false statements during the purchase of a firearm, among other charges.
The charges against Hunter Biden include:
• Making a false statement in the purchase of a firearm
• Making a false statement related to information required to be kept by a federal firearms licensed dealer
•Possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance
According to the indictment, the alleged incident occurred on or about October 12, 2018, in the District of Delaware. Hunter Biden is accused of knowingly making a false and fictitious written statement during the acquisition of a Colt Cobra 38SPL Revolver. According to reports from Fox News, the statement, submitted on Form 4473, falsely certified that he was not an unlawful user of, and addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, or controlled substance.
Furthermore, the indictment further states that between October 12, 2018, and October 23, 2018, in the District of Delaware, Hunter Biden knowingly possessed the same firearm despite being an unlawful user of and addicted to controlled substances. This marks the first set of charges brought by Special Counsel David Weiss against Hunter Biden since being granted special counsel status.
The investigation came to public attention when it was reported by Fox News in 2021 that police had responded to an incident in 2018 involving a gun owned by Hunter Biden.
Reports state that, Hallie Biden, the widow of President Biden’s late son, Beau, who was in a relationship with Hunter at the time, discarded the gun. Hunter’s gun was thrown away in a dumpster near a market, located close to a school. It was subsequently revealed that Hunter Biden had purchased a gun earlier that same month.
Hunter Biden’s legal troubles do not end with the gun charges. Earlier in July, an original plea agreement collapsed, which would have seen him plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax counts for willful failure to pay federal income tax, thus avoiding jail time on a felony gun charge. Instead, he pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and one felony gun charge.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed David Weiss as special counsel to oversee the Hunter Biden investigation and related matters. The White House has declined to comment on these developments, which continue to draw significant public and media attention.
Follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC for more!
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