A group of House Republicans released a damning counter-report Wednesday detailing key insights ignored in the narrative carefully constructed by the Democrat-led Jan. 6 select committee concerning the Capitol protests in 2021.
The 141-page report, penned by the five Republicans originally nominated to sit on the House Jan. 6 select committee, reveals how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and the Democrat leadership were “closely involved in security decisions in the lead up to and on January 6, 2021” and noted the reasons why the Capitol was ultimately left unprepared on the day of the protests.
The publication of this evidence — that Pelosi and other Democrats may have been instrumental in rendering the Capitol vulnerable to infiltration by protesters — comes just days after the House speaker’s committee recommended that former President Donald Trump be hit with criminal charges.
What are the details?
Republican Reps. Rodney Davis (Ill.), Jim Banks (Ind.), Troy Nehls (Texas), Jim Jordan (Ohio), and Kelly Armstrong (N.D.) were nominated by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in 2021 to sit on the Jan. 6 select committee.
Pelosi vetoed the appointment of Banks and Jordan, prompting McCarthy to pull his other his picks, reported the Hill.
That same group of congressmen noted that 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 led to that day.”
“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,” they added in a joint statement.
The House Republicans’ resultant report did just that, identifying several reasons the Capitol was vulnerable on Jan. 6, 2021, and providing recommendations on ways to bolster Capitol security in the future.
McCarthy contrasted this report with the select committee’s, saying the the latter “has been focused on political theater and posturing,” whereas “this report answers what the American people have asked since day one: why the Capitol was so unprepared — and it outlines a plan for a more secure Capitol in the 118th Congress.”
Compromised by politics
The report indicates that U.S. Capitol Police acquired enough information ahead of Jan. 6 to “anticipate and prepare for the violence that occurred.” However, front-line officers and analysts in the USCP’s intelligence division were “undermined by the misplaced priorities of their leadership.”
USCP officers were reportedly “under-trained and ill-equipped to protect the Capitol complex.” The report suggested that had all USCP officers turned up to work that day, they still would have had insufficient numbers to counter the Capitol protesters’ advances.
Even if the USCP was properly equipped and trained, actionable intel was apparently siloed at the higher levels and not properly analyzed or disseminated, leaving many in the dark about potential vulnerabilities and dangers.
The U.S. Capitol Police Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division allegedly “failed to warn USCP leadership and line officers about the threat of violence, despite the fact that IICD analysts gathered intelligence that clearly indicated a need for a hardened security posture.”
The compartmentalization of actionable intelligence also occurred elsewhere for partisan reasons.
Then-House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving reportedly “succumbed to political pressures from the Office of Speaker Pelosi and House Democrat leadership.”
Irving is said to have coordinated “closely with the Speaker and her staff and [to have] left Republicans out of important discussions related to security” and to have been “micromanaged” by Pelosi ahead of Jan. 6.
This proved to be particularly problematic since Irving, then a “critical member of the Capitol Police Board … had an obligation to all Members, staff, and USCP officers to keep them safe by consulting stakeholders without partisan preference.”
“Rather than coordinate in a meaningful way, Irving only provided information to Republicans after receiving instruction from the Speaker’s office. In one case, Irving even asked a senior Democratic staffer to ‘act surprised’ when he sent key information about plans for the Joint Session on January 6, 2021 to him and his Republican counterpart,” said the report.
Pelosi suggested on Feb. 9 that she had “no power over the Capitol Police.”
This report underscores how that was a false statement, given that Irving “carried out his duties in clear deference to the Speaker, her staff, and other Democratic staff,” citing a number of other instances in which Pelosi exerted control over security measures on the Hill.
Pelosi, who has repeatedly denied having agency or influence regarding Capitol security on Jan. 6, named her first fall guy the day after the protests.
Pelosi forced Irving’s resignation on Jan. 7, despite his apparent fidelity.
In a letter disclosed in the report, a staffer in the House sergeant at arms’ office wrote to Irving, “For the Speaker’s knee-jerk reaction to yesterday’s unprecedented event (and God knows how Congress lives for its knee-jerk reactions and to hell with future consequences . . . ). To immediately call for your resignation . . . after you have been denied again and again by Appropriations for proper security outfitting of the Capitol (and I WROTE several of those testimonies, dangit)…”
The staffer continued, writing, “And to blame you personally because our department was doing the best they could with what they had and our comparatively small department size and limited officer resources . . . and because other agencies stepped in to assist just a fraction too late . . . again, for Congress to demand your resignation is spectacularly unjust, unfair, and unwarranted.”
The exchanges shared in the report cover ground besides expression of outrage over Pelosi’s displacement of blame.
In one message, Irving references footage of USCP officers letting protesters into the Capitol.
“The video of the officers letting the protesters in absolutely outrageous [sic] me. … It’s incredulous. I just don’t trust the USCP anymore. Not my issues now, but beware. Either incompetence or blatant sympathy to Trump,” he wrote.
In another message, Irving considered the possibility that something more may have been behind the security breakdown at the Capitol, writing, “This is worthy of another Waco Review: much behind the scenes.”
While the sergeant at arms may have been hamstrung by Democrat politicking and the USCP was left ill-equipped, concerns over optics also neutered counter-protest efforts.
The report indicated that Democrat leaders, concerned over “optics” in the aftermath of the destructive and deadly 2020 BLM riots, delayed deploying the National Guard.
Of these findings, Banks said, “Our report exposes the partisanship, incompetence and indifference that led to the disaster on January 6 and it the leading role Speaker Pelosi and her office played in the security failure at the Capitol.”