WNY leaders not attending inauguration over COVID, safety concerns

New York News

WASHINGTON (WIVB) — Due to safety concerns, this week’s presidential inauguration will go on without a contingent of party leaders from Western New York.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility of more violence are keeping elected officials home.

President-elect Joe Biden himself is urging Americans to stay away from Washington, D.C. and to watch the inauguration from home.

The U.S. Capitol and state capitals are on edge as investigators dig deeper into a possible conspiracy to overthrow the government.

More than a thousand members of New York’s Army National Guard and Air Attack Wing are deployed to Washington, joining 20,000 other guard members from across the country, including one group from Western New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is passing on attending the inauguration based on intelligence from law enforcement.

Federal authorities are digging deep into possible insider connections that led to the breach of the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.

Capital Police posts were overrun by rioters loyal to President Trump, and the Capitol police force is under intense scrutiny.

Citing a failure to prepare for the insurrection, Capitol Police leadership has resigned.

Congressman Brian Higgins witnessed the rioters overpower the Capitol police force on Jan. 6, with some officers putting up little to no resistance.

The knowledge the rioters had beforehand leads Higgins to suspect that they got help from some of his own colleagues on the inside.

“I think that members collaborated with the demonstrators to get into the U.S. Capitol,” Rep. Higgins said. “I think that those members- there are at least five of them, maybe more- need to be thoroughly, thoroughly investigated.”

Five people were killed in the riot, and Higgins says if any members of Congress are found to be co-conspirators, they should be expelled.

Congress has its own rules for sanctioning members who plot against the government, though.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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