It’s finally here: an opportunity for the “Pelosi Circus” and the “Schiff Show” to, for the fourth time, try to saddle Donald Trump with the responsibility for a real tragedy less of HIS doing than the doings of Pelosi, Schiff, Schumer, and other Democrats. The January 6 charade is fired up.
But there are some problems for Democrats. The facts don’t support their anti-Trump allegations. There’s no doubt there were a bunch of folks at the Capitol that day that did some horrible things. Who they are and what they individually did may never be known in full. But the facts of the incidents in January that ARE known DO implicate some folks. But none implicate the former President.
In the upcoming days, we’ll chronicle for you the FACTS of January 6, 2020, and point to who were the real perpetrators. All this while Pelosi and Schiff march out their foils so they can one more time try to make a case to run Donald Trump out of Washington. If it wasn’t that there are a couple of really serious things that these members of Congress should be handling instead of another fake inquest into another nothing-burger, it would hilarious. I personally LOVE to watch Schiff and Pelosi embarrass themselves over and over. Pelosi’s charade at the State of the Union in which she tore up Trump’s speech transcript along with Schiff’s incessant claims of “uncontroverted proof in hand that prove Donald Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election from Hillary” frame this latest chapter of “Get Trump anyway possible.” And we’ll give you the facts and nothing but the facts as this waste of time and taxpayer dollars play out.
Officials in charge of security for the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 blamed poor intelligence and sluggish response from the federal government on Day 1 of the Pelosi Select Committee hearings for the deadly riot that threatened the peaceful transfer of power. Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testified at a joint Senate committee hearing on security and intelligence failings leading up to the riot that intelligence reports compiled from information from the Capitol Police, the FBI, the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and Washington Metropolitan Police showed that “the level of probability of acts of civil disobedience/arrests” on Jan. 6 ranged from “remote” to “improbable.”
“In addition, the daily intelligence report indicated that ‘the secretary of Homeland Security has not issued an elevated or imminent alert at this time,'” Sund testified. “Without the intelligence to properly prepare, the USCP was significantly outnumbered and left to defend the Capitol against an extremely violent mob,” he said.
That’s despite significant online chatter and numerous media reports that protesters were targeting the electoral vote count during the joint session of Congress. Asked about a Jan. 5 threat report from the FBI’s field office outside Norfolk, Virginia, that detailed specific calls online for violence at the Capitol, including that protesters be ready to fight and show up ready for war, Sund testified that it had gone to an intelligence official with the Capitol Police and that he had not seen it. Robert Contee, acting chief of the Washington police, said he had not seen the memo, which was “not fully vetted,” on Jan. 6, either.
“What the FBI sent, Ma’am, on Jan. 5 was in the form of an email,” he said, adding that he would think a warning “that something as violent as an insurrection at the Capitol would warrant a phone call or something.”
The former House and Senate sergeants-at-arms also testified that they did not see the FBI memo.
National Guard delay
Contee said that he and Sund called the National Guard for help shortly after the mob stormed the Capitol and that he was dismayed by the response he received from the Army.
“At 2:22 P.M., a call was convened with, among others, myself, leadership of the Capitol Police, D.C. National Guard, and the Department of the Army,” Contee said. “I was stunned at the response from the Department of the Army, which was reluctant to send the D.C. National Guard to the Capitol. While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted. I was able to quickly deploy MPD and issue directives to them while they were in the field, and I was honestly shocked that the National Guard could not — or would not — do the same,” he added.
Sund said in his prepared remarks that Army Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt said on the conference call that he didn’t like “the visual of the National Guard standing a line with the Capitol in the background” and would rather that Capitol Police officers be pulled from other posts to handle the protesters.
Sund added later that the “first 150 members of the National Guard were not sworn in on Capitol grounds until 5:40 p.m., 4½ hours after I first requested them and 3½ hours after my request was approved by the Capitol Police Board.”
In his opening statement, Sund also blamed former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger for the sluggish response. Sund said he had tried to enlist the National Guard for help in the days before the riot, but “Irving stated that he was concerned about the ‘optics’ of having National Guard present and didn’t feel that the intelligence supported it.”
Sund said he also asked Stenger for help ahead of time. “Instead of approving the use of the National Guard, however, Mr. Stenger suggested I ask them how quickly we could get support if needed and to ‘lean forward’ in case we had to request assistance on January 6,” he said.
Sund said the pair were also slow to respond during the riot.
“I notified the two sergeants-at-arms by 1:09 P.M. that I urgently needed support and asked them to declare a state of emergency and authorize the National Guard,” Sund said. “I was advised by Mr. Irving that he needed to run it up the chain of command. I continued to follow up with Mr. Irving, who was with Mr. Stenger at the time, and he advised that he was waiting to hear back from congressional leadership but expected authorization at any moment.”
Irving pushed back against Sund’s account, saying he didn’t recall speaking to him at that time, had no record of any phone calls or text messages from Sund, and never said he had to run Sund’s request up the chain of command. He also denied that he’d voiced any concern about “optics.”
“That is categorically false,” Irving said. “‘Optics,’ as portrayed in the media, did not determine our security posture. Safety was always paramount when evaluating security for January 6. We did discuss whether the intelligence warranted having troops at the Capitol, and our collective judgment at that time was no, the intelligence did not warrant that.”
Sund, Stenger and Irving resigned after the riot, which left five people dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Police officers were able to regain control of the building with help from the National Guard and federal law enforcement officers after several hours, and the vote counting was completed. More than 200 people have been criminally charged.
Sen. Josh Hawley, (R-MO), whom some Democrats have blamed for inciting the violence by announcing that he would challenge the legitimacy of some states’ electors during the vote count, defended Sund, Stenger, and Irving during his question period.
Hawley noted that retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, whom House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), has tasked with leading a review of the Capitol’s security, had called Capitol Police leadership “complicit” in the attack because of the poor response. He asked the trio whether they were complicit, and they responded, “Absolutely not.”
“Yeah, of course, none of you were. There’s absolutely no evidence to that effect,” Hawley said. “To allege that you, any of you, were complicit in this violent mob attack on this building, I think, is not only extremely disrespectful. It’s really quite shocking.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, (R-WI), meanwhile, read from an article blaming the violence at the Capitol on “Antifa,” “fake Trump protesters” and “provocateurs.”
Johnson asked Sund whether he believed the attack was foreseeable or predictable — Sund said it wasn’t — and then asked whether his belief was based on past experiences, suggesting that “the vast majority of Trump supporters are pro-law enforcement, and the last thing they’d do is violate the law.”
God Forbid Members of Congress Might be Complicit! (There might be Partisanship in these hearings)
A new report from Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton has sent congressional leaders scrambling after finding that Capitol police were told that they could not use critical riot materials and tactics in preparation for the Jan. 6thprotests. The finding challenges the narrative put forward in the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump. It also raises questions of whether congressional leaders (who repeatedly condemned Trump for the death and injuries of officers) share responsibility for the loss of control of Congress to the rioters.
The report, “Review of the Events Surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Takeover of the U.S. Capitol,” raises additional questions over the responsibility of figures in Congress for the lack of sufficient forces and materials to deal with the protest. Previously, it was disclosed that offers of National Guard support were not accepted prior to the protests. The D.C. government under Mayor Muriel Bowser used only a small number of guardsmen in traffic positions.
The report magnifies suspicions over why House leadership refused to hold hearings with key witnesses before the second Trump impeachment. It also raises whether, after the controversial clearing of Lafayette Park in the prior summer, leaders in Congress hamstrung their own security force.
Ultimately, over 140 law enforcement officers were injured during the riot, and Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick later died. Two other officers later died by suicide.
Bolton and his staff reportedly found in its 104-page report that, three days before the riot, officials were warned in an intelligence assessment that “Congress itself is the target” in the planned protests. Congress was further warned that “Stop the Steal’s propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike.”
That would seem more than sufficient reason to call for National Guard support and assemble the full force and resources available to the Capitol Police. According to the Inspector General, that is not what happened. Instead, the plan stated that there were “no specific known threats related to the joint session of Congress.” More importantly, the Capitol Police’s Civil Disturbance Unit was ordered by supervisors not to deploy the department’s highest level resources and tactics in addressing any problems. This including the use of “heavier, less-lethal weapons,” including stun grenades. The report states categorically that they “were not used that day because of orders from the leadership.” Instead, 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot by a Capitol police officer inside the Capitol despite being unarmed and standing in a hallway.
That explains a lot. On the day of the riot, many familiar with the Capitol expressed disbelief over the lack of serious perimeter protections and the relative ease of protesters in breaching the Capitol.
This is precisely the type of information that should have been revealed in the weeks after the riot. Indeed, as previously discussed in repeated columns, the House Democratic leadership refused to hold a single hearing with key witnesses on what occurred before the riot. After using a “snap impeachment,” weeks went by without calling such witnesses before the Trump impeachment trial. Such evidence could challenge the narrative and raised questions over decisions made by Congress that left the Capitol vulnerable to such an attack.
The report also raises over the Lafayette Park effect. In the prior summer, White House officials feared that the compound could be breached by violent protesters who had injured dozens of officers and engaged in arson and attacks around the White House during that weekend. They decided to clear the area to install fencing (which Congress only ordered after the Jan. 6th riot). They also deployed the National Guard and the “heavier, less-lethal weapons” that the Inspector General found were denied to the Capitol Police.
To this day, the media and many members continue to repeat false accounts of Lafayette Park. Many still have stories posted that claim that Lafayette Park was cleared for Trump to hold a photo op in front of a church. Those accounts were discussed previously in testimony before Congress and in columns on the clearing of the Lafayette Park area. NPR still has a story on its website entitled “Peaceful Protesters Tear-Gassed To Clear Way For Trump Church Photo-Op.”
A wide array of witnesses and documents detailing how the plan to clear the area was put into motion over 24 hours before the actual operation — and long before any discussion of a photo op. The plan was approved by then-Attorney General Bill Barr but was delayed because the officers were waiting for both fencing material and backup personnel.
Yet, the narrative remained that this was a peaceful protest that was met with tear gas and stun grenades. Many in D.C. criticized the use of force in the operation, calling the protest entirely peaceful is only possible by focusing on the time just before the clearing. As discussed in Congressional testimony, some 150 officers were injured during the protests, and half of those were injured around the White House. The Justice Department claimed there were 750 injured officers during the various protests. The attacks around the complex were so great that the President was moved into the bunker.
Nevertheless, Lafayette Park became the rallying cry against the use of National Guard personnel and resources like tear gas and pepper balls. After Lafayette Park, Mayor Bowser declared “if you are like me, you saw something that you hoped you would never see in the United States of America.” Democrat Party leaders and the media denounced the use of the guard and tear gas as akin to military rule. The New York Times even apologized for publishing a column of Sen. Tom Cotton encouraging the use of the National Guard (and effectively fired the editor who approved the column).
Both the media and members are heavily invested in the Lafayette Park narrative. It would be embarrassing to report that Congress should have ordered the same expansion of a fenced perimeter and guard deployment before the protests — let alone the use of non-lethal devices like pepper balls.
The question is whether that narrative influenced the restrictions placed on the Capitol Police. It was only after losing control of Congress that a full deployment of fencing, riot resources, and the National Guard was allowed. It then remained up for months at a huge daily cost. It was the ultimate example of locking the barn door after the horse had bolted. But in Washington, it is not really about the horse or the barn. It is about who gets the blame.
Day 1 Is In The History Books
Don’t expect during this “inquest” for the Democrat Party media lapdogs to do anything in their reporting other than spin the testimonies and offer more of their anti-Trump drivel. We’ll keep the facts before you. There will be more tomorrow.
Throughout this process, please know this: even according to the Inspector General’s report, there were NO ties to Donald Trump. The main difference between the Inspector General and Democrats on Capitol Hill is this: the IG has nothing nor any reason to hide any details or spin FOR Donald Trump. But Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff have mountains of reasons to “fade the heat” that they are certainly feeling for their benign yet purposeful involvement in the Jan. 6 debacle.
If nothing else is revealed in these hearings, expect the truth to be revealed that points to the direct involvement of Nancy Pelosi (who as House Speaker is responsible for oversight of the operations of the Capitol) in ignoring multiple intelligence reports projecting almost certain massive unrest expected Jan. 6. And there can be just one reason for her doing so: to Get Donald Trump!
More — MUCH more — tomorrow!