Wray and the FBI weren’t the only ones urged by lawmakers for missing warning signals and wrongly responding to the January 6 attack by supporters of former President Donald Trump. The lack of preparation of both the Pentagon and the Capitol Police emergency units has also come under fire as lawmakers continue to anticipate the security flaws that allowed the Capitol to invade while they voted to confirm the presidential election.
Democrats pounded two Pentagon officials over the delay in responding to the uprising. In her opening address, Maloney said that it “took far too long” for the Pentagon to act on Jan. 6, despite warning signs and requests from other law enforcement agencies that day.
“This is a shocking failure,” she said.
Despite earlier statements by former law enforcement officers that the Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Walter Piatt, recommended sending armed soldiers from sending troops to the Capitol because of the “optics”, both Piatt and General Charles Flynn denied the use of the term “optics” in Discussion of the Pentagon’s response to the insurrection.
“I did not use the word ‘optics’ nor did I hear the word during the January 6, 2021 call in response to requests for assistance or while planning and delivering that assistance,” Flynn told lawmakers, adding that he was did not hear other army leaders using the word. (Charles Flynn is the brother of Michael Flynn, who served as Trump’s national security advisor and denied Trump’s election defeat to President Joe Biden.)
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) Urged Wray to see if the FBI has arrested anyone who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 and may not have realized they lacked permission. He described it as “breaking the law without having any way of knowing that you are breaking the law”.
Grothman said his constituents were concerned that some individuals involved in the 500 or so federal criminal cases related to the Capitol Riot were doing nothing but entering the building with the consent or resistance of the Capitol Police.
“People worry about a certain class of people. I want to know if you think these people exist, ”Grothman said.
“I really can’t tell,” said Wray. “What I would say is that people who have been arrested have been arrested for violating federal criminal law. … We have had 500 arrests and they fluctuate in all kinds of variations of facts and circumstances. “
More than 100 of these cases concern only misdemeanor charges and not allegations of damage to property or attacks on the police.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) Reacted angrily at his Republican counterparts’ focus on the least culpable subset of those involved in the January 6th Capitol riot, describing it as an attempt to wash away the violence of that day, including that following five deaths and two suicides by police officers.
“To ignore that, to distract, to deny, to go on the gas, to call it just a bunch of tourists who got carried away is repulsive and a shame for the memories of those who have died and a shame and disrespect for them those who were willing to endanger themselves on our behalf and especially for the republic we stand for, ”said Connolly.
“Thanks for those 500 arrests, and I hope there are 500 more,” added the Virginia congressman. “Anyone who participated in this outrage should be brought to justice.”
Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman was also invited to testify but was unable to attend due to a conflict, an announcement that upset several committee members. Maloney said Pittman would testify before the committee on July 21.
The hearing on Tuesday took place at the same time as another investigative hearing before the Administrative Committee of the House of Representatives. The Inspector General of the Capitol Police, Michael Bolton, accused the emergency units of the department for their unwillingness, as testimony in his latest safety report. He also noted that their training at a company called “Northern Red” could make employees unsafe because of the symbols on their website associated with “extremist ideology”.
According to him, the Capitol Police spent $ 90,075 in 2018 and 2019 on an emergency team to work with Northern Red under the motto: “For those who hunted armed men, training is never the same”, it says on the company website. As Roll Call first reported, the website also displays icons associated with white racists.
“Acting Chief Pittman and the entire USCP leadership team take extremist ideologies seriously and are working on a plan to ensure this type of cancer does not get into this department,” the department said in a statement. “There is no place here.”
Bolton also found equipment deficiencies on January 6, when rioters stole a dozen vests and a dozen helmets due to a lack of security. First responders also lacked non-lethal weapons that could have made a difference, and they weren’t certified to use the M4 rifle, Bolton said.
House Democrats are still weighing their options on how to proceed with future investigations into the insurrection after Republicans in the Senate passed bipartisan bill that would set up an independent commission to investigate the attack. After meeting the committee chairs Tuesday morning, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are still weighing their options but anticipated a “cascade of committee activity” in the meantime.