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Coons, Carper call for added security and intelligence ahead of inauguration

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

Threats of additional extremist violence in the U.S. Capitol and elsewhere next week are circulating. Delaware’s U.S. Senators urge better security—and intelligence—for President-elect Biden’s inauguration. 


Apparent failures in intelligence and security allowed a nearly unprecedented breach of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump extremists last week.  And with Biden’s inauguration coming up next week, many worry the violence is not over. 

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) said last week he was concerned about security at the Capitol after Wednesday’s events—and expressed to Senate leadership the importance of “robust” resources and planning for the inauguration.

“The inauguration of the president is one of the most important national events in the life of our democracy,” Coons said. 

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware), said he was most concerned about the lack of intelligence. 

“Police forces have the ability—federal, state and local—have the ability to infiltrate terrorist organizations, be they racist organizations, be they white power organizations, other organizations, … to gather information about what might happen at a rally like that,” Carper said. “I’m concerned that maybe a very good job was not done of that.”

Carper says the same mistake cannot be made again. 

President Trump has reportedly discussed trying to pardon himself—a move considered “uncharted legal territory.” 

“No president in American history has tried to pardon themselves,” Coons said last week. “It should not be possible or effective. You cannot be both judge and jury in your own case.”

Coons noted that even if Trump were able to pardon himself—which many constitutional scholars think is not possible—he wouldn't be shielded from prosecution under state law. 

“He will face, I think, legal action in a number of states—principally New York,” Coons said. “You cannot use a presidential pardon to protect any individual from state legal action. So I think he is most likely to be held accountable in a number of states where there are ongoing investigations.”

In a New York Times op-ed published Monday, Coons again called for Trump to resign, be removed from office or be impeached. He emphasized the need to hold Trump accountable for inciting the insurrection and undermining the credibility of elections.

President-elect Joe Biden plans tonominate Merrick Garland for U.S. Attorney General—and Coons will participate in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to confirm him. 

Coons said he won’t necessarily focus on asking Garland about investigating or prosecuting Trump, but rather his plans to “restore independence” to the Department of Justice, while holding the current administration accountable.

Carper, says Garland would make a “terrific” Attorney General — and that there’s “no finer human being” on the Federal bench.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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