'Avert catastrophe': Trump's drastic move as threat of violence mounts

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A state of emergency has been declared in Washington DC ahead of President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

President Donald Trump has issued the emergency declaration amid growing concerns of violence after his supporters stormed the US Capitol last week when five people died.

The state of emergency, which will be in place in the District of Columbia until January 24, authorises the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate with local authorities as needed.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump are pictured side by side.
Donald Trump made the emergency declaration ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration. Source: Getty

A statement released by the Office of the Press Secretary said the declaration was made due to the emergency conditions resulting from the 59th Presidential Inauguration.

It added the President’s action was to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance to save lives and protect property and public health safety.

It also said the declaration would “lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the District of Columbia”.

“Specifically, FEMA is authorised to identify, mobilise, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency,” the statement said.

People urged to stay away from inauguration

The declaration from Trump comes five days after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol as Congress began formally counting the Electoral College votes to certify his defeat to Biden.

Trump supporters after storming the US Capitol building.
Protesters interact with Capitol Police inside the US Capitol building. Source: Getty Images

Trump has spent months complaining that he was cheated out of an election victory by widespread voter fraud, which election officials say does not exist.

Earlier Monday, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan urged people to stay away from inaugural events because of “last week’s violent insurrection as well as the ongoing and deadly COVID-19 pandemic”.

Bid to oust US President

Donald Trump will face a charge of “incitement of insurrection” as House Democrats push forward in their bid to oust the US president in the wake of the Capitol riots.

It comes as the FBI fear a “huge uprising” led by pro-Trump supporters if he is removed from office prior to Inauguration Day, US news outlet ABC News understands.

The House worked swiftly on Monday (local time) as they try to remove Trump from office in his final days of presidency, pushing Vice President Mike Pence and Cabinet to act first.

Trump faces a single charge – “incitement of insurrection” – in an impeachment resolution that could go to a vote by mid-week.

First, Democrats called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke constitutional authority under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office before January 20, when Democrat Joe Biden is to be inaugurated.

It all adds up to stunning final moments for Trump’s presidency as Democrats and a growing number of Republicans declare he is unfit for office and could do more damage after inciting a mob at the US Capitol.

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