DOJ, FBI pressed by Senate Judiciary for answers on Capitol Hill riot

Greg Nash

The top two lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee are pressing the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI for answers regarding security failures during the Jan. 6 riot at Capitol Hill.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the incoming chairman and ranking member of the panel, respectively, sent a letter to acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson and FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting answers to a series of questions regarding the security situation during the insurrection.

They also announced that Wray will testify before the committee on March 2, Wray’s first congressional appearance since the storming of the Capitol. 

“We are writing to gather additional information regarding the security posture and planning provided in advance of and during the January 6, 2021, Joint Session of Congress. … The security failures that enabled the January 6 attack span multiple agencies, and emerging reports raise serious concerns about the adequacy of preparations by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),” wrote Durbin and Grassley.

“It is essential that we obtain a complete accounting of your preparation for and response to the events of January 6,” they wrote.

Durbin and Grassley pressed Wilkinson and Wray to explain what precautions their departments took prior to Jan. 6, if any coordination with other intelligence agencies took place and what information they possessed regarding the threat of violence before the riot.

They also asked what role the DOJ and FBI played in the immediate response to the insurrection and what steps they’re taking “to disrupt threats of future violence by domestic violent extremist movements.”

The two lawmakers requested the information no later than Feb. 16.

Durbin and Grassley are the two latest lawmakers to request information regarding the preparation for and the response to the riot after law enforcement appeared woefully unprepared for an event intelligence had suggested could be violent. 

The insurrection led to the deaths of several people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was killed by rioters and will lie in honor in the Capitol later Tuesday.

The pro-Trump mob, which was whipped into a frenzy by former President Trump and other speakers at a rally earlier in the day on Jan. 6, took over the Capitol, temporarily stalling the congressional certification of the Electoral College results.

The House and Senate returned to the building later in the day to certify President Biden’s victory.

Tags Brian Sicknick Capitol breach Christopher Wray Chuck Grassley Department of Justice Dick Durbin DOJ Donald Trump FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation insurrection riot Senate Judiciary Committee

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