Lawmaker security increased amid ongoing US Capitol threat, new arrests

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More than three weeks after the U.S. Capitol breach, authorities continue to shore up government buildings against a possible second-wave attack by domestic terrorists. Thousands of National Guard troops are expected to remain in Washington D.C. at least through mid-March and 500 Army National Guard soldiers will be deploying from Illinois next week as part of the security mission. This military show of force is due to ongoing threats against government officials and buildings.

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"I'm very concerned about the threats in Washington around the country," U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, IL 10th District, told the I-Team Friday. Rep. Schneider was among those locked down during the January 6th Capitol mob blitz, an attack that he says could have been prevented.

"We've got to stay one step ahead of those who are seeking to do the country harm by harming Congress and our ability to govern," Rep. Schneider told the I-Team. "This is not a threat on individual members of Congress, this is a threat on the country itself. and we need to protect our institutions protect the people who work in those institutions," he continued.

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Because of threats, members of Congress began getting police escorts through airports two weeks ago and tonight according to a new memo from the House Sergeant at Arms obtained by ABC News, Capitol Police have created a new web portal for members of Congress to input travel plans and security needs.

As Washington braces for threatened attacks, possibly even on Sunday according to intelligence gathered by federal law enforcement, authorities continue arresting Capitol crashers from the last attack.

Thursday, authorities arrested Jason and Christina Gerding from Quincy, Illinois. Evidence cited in the complaints against them includes pictures inside the Capitol apparently during the mayhem and social media posts they made according to the FBI. Some of the social media posts in the complaint include mentions of the baseless conspiracy theories known as QAnon, which the FBI has described as a domestic terror threat.

Christina and Jason Gerding of Quincy, Illinois, were arrested on charges after they were photographed inside the U.S. Capitol during the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection.

"There's nothing unlawful in this country since the dawn of our nation and since the Bill of Rights, in particular, that makes it unlawful to adhere to a particular philosophy or ideology, no matter how terrible it is," ABC7 legal analyst Gil Soffer told the I-Team. "It becomes a crime when thoughts, when ideas, turn into action. And that's what we're seeing here. It's violating somebody's property rights, forcing their way onto property where they don't belong, obviously acts of violence. That's when you see what would otherwise be lawful activity turned into unlawful activity," Soffer said.

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The Gerdings were released on bond according to Department of Justice officials. They did not respond to phone messages left by the I-Team.
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