Online chatter from QAnon conspiracy theorists about a scheme to storm the Capitol complex Thursday prompted House Democrats to cancel work — though Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not appear spooked enough to postpone her weekly press conference.
Despite the Senate, which is also led by Democrats, remaining in session just down the hall, as well as 8-foot fences topped with non-scalable, barbed-wire surrounding the Capitol, House leadership insisted on scrapping plans to come to work out of “concern.”
What hasn’t been scrapped, however, is Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) scheduled briefing, meaning she will almost certainly be physically present on the complex Thursday.
Her spokesman did not immediately respond to The Post to confirm if and how she planned to hold her weekly presser.
While the House won’t hold official business, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) still opted to move forward with starting debate on President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package as the body tries to keep up with the administration’s goal of passing it by March 14.
Asked about the difference in how Senate and House Democrats were responding to the threat, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) acknowledged the “apparent contradiction” while speaking to reporters Wednesday.
“Both leaders operate on information they have and draw conclusions from it. And it’s not unusual for different people to draw different conclusions. I’m not going to second guess Speaker Pelosi, she’s doing what she thinks is best for the House.
“Obviously, at this point, Sen. Schumer’s not reached the same conclusion,” he said.
Asked about the severity of the threat, Durbin, who also chairs the Judiciary Committee, said he had not been briefed by the FBI or Justice Department as he’d expect to be if they considered a threat serious.
“I don’t know if it’s a tease. You know, we were told on January 6 a crowd was coming back for January 20, and they didn’t appear. I can’t tell. But in light of what we went through on January 6, it’s understandable people are concerned.”
On Wednesday, the Capitol Police said it was increasing security in an effort to thwart a potential attack the next day by “an identified militia group.”
In a statement, the department said it was “aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex.”
“We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4,” the statement said, “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 department added that it was working with local, state and federal law enforcement partners to “stop any threats to the Capitol.”
While the department said it could not go into more detail, it appears the March 4 plot in question relates to a theory by followers of QAnon that former President Donald Trump would actually take the oath of office on that day.
March 4 was the original Inauguration Day before the passage of the 20th Amendment in 1932.
Last month, Capitol Police requested that 4,900 troops remain in the nation’s capital until at least March 12, which would cover the notable date in terms of extremist threats.
That request, which was approved, was made amid concerns followers of Q planned to act on the theory in the form of another attack of some sort.
Wednesday’s statement from the department also comes in the midst of weeks of congressional hearings into the Jan. 6 Capitol siege.
Last week, Congress heard from the acting Capitol Police chief and the acting House sergeant-at-arms, as well as their predecessors who resigned in the wake of the riot.
During the acting officials’ testimony, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman revealed that intelligence agencies have uncovered threats from far-right extremists to “blow up” the US Capitol when Biden delivers his first joint address to both houses of Congress.