Republican ‘shadow committee’ issues Jan. 6 counter-report
A “shadow committee” of the five House Republicans who were originally nominated to sit on the House Jan. 6 select committee released a counter-report about security failures on Wednesday, ahead of the official select committee’s final report.
The report focuses on changes to Capitol Police intelligence protocols in the run-up to Jan. 6, constraints on the House Sergeant at Arms, and communications between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office and the House Sergeant at Arms.
It is based on already-public documents and news reports, interviews with Capitol security officials and rank-and-file Capitol Police officers, and documents provided to the House Administration Committee Republican staff by the House Sergeant at Arms in January 2022.
The final report from the select committee investigating Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot was expected to also be released on Wednesday, but was delayed until Thursday.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had nominated Republican Reps. Jim Banks (Ind.), Rodney Davis (Ill.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Kelly Armstrong (N.D.), and Troy Nehls (Texas) to sit on the Jan. 6 select committee last year. But after Pelosi vetoed the appointment of Banks and Jordan, McCarthy pulled the rest of his picks.
“When Speaker Pelosi made the unprecedented decision to reject Jim Banks and Jim Jordan from sitting on the January 6 Select Committee – we knew she intended to play politics instead of addressing the massive security failures that lead to that day,” the five House GOP members said in a statement. “We said then that we would investigate and get to the bottom of why the Capitol was left so unprepared that day, and what needs to be done to make sure our security apparatus is never left so unprepared again.
“Unsurprisingly, the Select Committee appears to have spent almost no time on this issue. We release the following report to answer these questions, and to lay a groundwork for security reforms as we prepare to lead a safer and more secure Campus in the 118th Congress and beyond.”
The report said that while the Capitol Police had obtained enough information to anticipate violence on Jan. 6, the intelligence division was “undermined by the misplaced priorities of their leadership.” It also stated that the House Sergeant at Arms was “distracted from giving full attention to the threat environment prior to January 6, 2021 by several other upcoming events.”
Pelosi and her office have repeatedly rebuffed assertions from House Republicans that she had authority over security protocols on Jan. 6, saying she is not involved in day-to-day security and noting that the Capitol Police Board governing authority is made up the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms and the Architect of the Capitol.
But the report aims to push back on Pelosi, saying that “documents provided by the House Sergeant at Arms show how then-House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving carried out his duties in clear deference to the Speaker, her staff, and other Democratic staff,” and noting House rules that dictate that the House Sergeant at Arms is supposed to “maintain order under the direction of the Speaker” when the House is in session. The report goes on to describe correspondence between Pelosi’s staff and the House Sergeant at Arms leading up to Jan. 6 about security advisories.
Not included in the report is other public information about the activities of congressional leadership on Jan. 6 scrambling to try to get the National Guard to the Capitol, or any mention that there were hours of inaction from former President Trump.
It does include statements from Trump urging demonstrators to be “peaceful,” but omits other statements like telling his supporters to “fight like hell.”
The report has little information on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the then-majority leader, and his relationship with Capitol security and the Senate Sergeant at Arms — another member of the Capitol Police Board. But it does describe correspondence from a McConnell staff member to Capitol security officials expressing frustration that leadership was not informed about a threat to fly a plane into the Capitol.
The GOP report recommends reforming the structure of the Capitol Police Board to avoid future delays in emergency situations. Reforms to the board were also recommended by a bipartisan Senate report released last year.
The Capitol Police has aimed to improve security in the Capitol since Jan. 6, working to implement recommendations from its inspector general.
“For nearly two years our officers, officials and civilian employees have been working around the clock to address many of these findings and similar findings from a series of post January 6 reviews,” the Capitol Police told The Hill in a statement. “We value everyone’s input and we are confident the U.S. Capitol Complex is more secure because of the hard work of our brave men and women and because of the resources provided by the Congress to turn recommendations into results.”
Pelosi’s office and the House Sergeant at Arms office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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