A mob assaulted the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rushed an impeachment action against President Donald Trump on January 13, accusing him of “inciting insurrection.” A casual reading of Trump’s words shows that he did not incite anything. The Senate began the impeachment trial on February 9, and the Senators acquitted Trump before the week was over.
Today two Senate committees began
oversight hearings about the mob’s actions to question former and current
officials about how the rioters breached the building. Fred Lucas at The
Heritage Foundation found six highlights from the hearings.
Highlight #1: The attack on
the Capital was a “Coordinated Attack” that was “clearly” “planned in
advance.” The assault on the Capitol began while Trump was speaking – 20
minutes before the event ended -- at the rally located on the Ellipse, which is
south of the White House.
“These people came specifically with
equipment. You’re bringing climbing gear to a demonstration, explosives,
chemical spray – you’re coming prepared,” former Capitol Police Chief Steven
Sund, who resigned under pressure after the riot, told senators during the hearing.
In his testimony to senators, acting Metropolitan
Police Chief Robert Contee said of the attack, “I certainly believe it was
Contee pointed to the “placement of pipe
bombs in the area,” among other evidence “adding to what we know in hindsight
now as a result of the ongoing investigation of the FBI.
Highlight #2: There was a “Lack
of Intelligence Sharing” among agencies. According to Contee, “The District
did not have intelligence pointing to a coordinated assault on the Capitol.”
Other officials also testified that they were unaware of any intelligence on an
Homeland Security and Government Affairs
Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich., said lawmakers would conduct a broad investigation,
beyond this initial hearing, into what he called the “colossal breakdown” in
security that allowed the Capitol to be breached.
“… The attack on Jan. 6 was an
extraordinary event that requires exhaustive consideration. The American people
deserve answers on why their Capitol was breached.”
Highlight #3: Law Enforcement
Officials Are “Rejecting ‘Complicit’ Charge.” Pelosi appointed retired
Army lieutenant general Russel Honoré to lead
an investigation into the assault. He said in an MSNBC interview: “I think once
this all gets uncovered, it was complicit actions by Capitol Police.” This
statement was challenged in the meetings.
Josh Hawley, R-Mo., asked: “Were you complicit in this attack on Jan. 6?”
answered first, saying, “Absolutely not, and I think it is disrespectful to
myself and members of the Capitol Police Department.” …
course none of you were,” Hawley said. “There is absolutely no evidence to that
effect. Mr. Sund, I think your comments are appropriately taken. To allege that
any of you were complicit in this violent mob attack on this building is not
only extremely disrespectful, it’s really quite shocking. And this person has
really no business leading any security review related to the events of Jan. 6.”
Was Said about the “National Guard and ‘Optics’”? Senator Hawley questioned
the security officials about “why they determined the National Guard would not
be needed.” There was disagreement between Sund and Irving about whether Sund
had requested the National Guard. Sund said that he requested them, and Irving
saying that he did not. Sund accused Irving of denying the National Guard’s
help because of “optics.” One thing became clear, however. It was Irving, along
with then-Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, who called in the National
Guard. Irving said that he did not wait to concur with Senate and House
Highlight #5: There Was “Lack
of Training” for Such a Situation. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) was
puzzled about the statement of “lack of training to deal with such a situation.”
Sund, the former Capitol Police chief, responded:
We do train for people trying to get into
the building. We don’t train for an insurrection of thousands of people. Our
officers do have less-than-lethal capability that they do carry with them. With
hindsight being what it is, I think there needs to be additional training,
additional equipment to consider [for] this type of attack in the future.
Highlight #6: “Questions About ‘Provocateurs’.”
“Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) read aloud from, and entered into the Senate
record, an article by J. Michael Waller, a senior analyst at the Center for
Security Policy, a national security think tank.”
In it, Walker writes that “provocateurs”
infiltrated a pro-Trump march with peaceful protesters and whipped up a
normally law-abiding crowd to turn against law enforcement. Walker was an
eyewitness to the Trump rally Jan. 6 before it turned into a riot.
“I would really recommend everyone on the
committee read this account,” Johnson said. …
“The House [impeachment] managers made a
big deal that this was predictable, this was foreseeable, which I don’t
believe. Do you believe the breach of the Capitol, do you believe that was
foreseeable and predictable?” Johnson asked the former Capitol Police chief.
Sund said neither he nor leaders of other
federal agencies were aware of such a threat, and referred to the D.C. police
chief’s earlier comment.