Officials ‘hitting the panic button’ over fears Trump supporters will attack the White House: report

As the FBI warns of "armed protests" in all 50 states by Trump supporters continuing to try and overturn the results of the 2020 election, there are fears that the White House is unable to defend against an insurrection like the the one waged at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Carol Leonnig, The Washington Post reporter who won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for her investigation into the Secret Service, broke down the situation during a Monday appearance on MSNBC.

"So, in addition to just seeing the images that we saw on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, showing how easily a number of people, if they want to, can get into the Capitol. Now there is a lot of 20/20 hindsight and finger-pointing, what are you reporting about who is at fault for this?" MSNBC's Katy Tur asked.

"Katy, it seems really compelling right now that you can tell from those images that 1,400 Capitol Police officers had no chance at holding off 5,000 to 8,000 to 10,000 extremely violent, extremely aggressive rioters," Leonnig replied. "People can't call this a demonstration, these are people hit that fence and started taking parts of it to hit police officers with it, so there was very little chance."

"As for the blame game, which is always part of the Washington after-action report, it seems as though there was critical moments when the National Guard and the Army Secretary hesitated in the middle of the crisis, when a police chief was begging for help at the Capitol and had people storming through the doors, was pleading to send reinforcements, and was told, 'We don't really like the visuals of having National Guard holding a police line in front of the capitol.' This was not a moment to wait and dither," she explained.

"It is clear the Capitol Police should have planned better for this, but there is no chance the force would be able to stop this group. I have to add one intensely worrisome thing: there is no chance for the White House to be protected if this group were to come at it," Leonnig warned. "This is a big concern for the next nine days as we prepare for an inauguration."

"I'm talking to sources who say they are hitting the panic button with worry, because for many years the White House has known -- or rather the Secret Service has known -- that multiple attacks coming on multiple fronts at the White House fence would not be stoppable," she explained. "And here we see that the Capitol Police had no chance."

"That is terrifying, what you just said," Tur noted.


Carol Leonnig