Photos: Ahead of impeachment, security is tight at the Capitol

Hundreds of National Guard troops hold inside the Capitol Visitor's Center to reinforce security at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Hundreds of National Guard troops hold inside the Capitol Visitor's Center to reinforce security at the Capitol in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite | AP

As the House debates impeaching President Donald Trump, security was heightened Wednesday all around the Capitol, with barricades set several blocks from the Capitol building and law enforcement and national guard officials checking badges for anyone to enter the perimeter even by foot.

Many vehicles were turned away in lines of snaking traffic around the Capitol complex. The Capitol itself is blanketed with extra layers of law enforcement personnel and extra checks for security. U.S. Capitol Police took extra steps screening bags and individuals entering the building, taking closer look at badges and asking more questions.

National Guard personnel were stationed in the Capitol Visitor Center for several hours overnight, with hundreds of them sleeping in the Congressional Visitors Center early in the morning.

A new magnetometer was added to the entrance for reporters into the House Gallery.

The steps are an unprecedented response to last week's riot at the Capitol by protesters loyal to Trump. The president's role in that riot is at the heart of the single article of impeachment against him: incitement of insurrection. Trump has said his words prior to the violence were "totally appropriate."

Trump, who was previously impeached in December 2019, would be the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

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