Six weeks after an angry mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, some of the key figures in charge of building security on January 6 will answer questions under oath about how the highly secure facility has was raped during the counting of the electoral votes. supposed to symbolize the peaceful transfer of power.
Tuesday’s hearing before two Senate committees will include testimony from three officials who resigned after rioters disrupted the joint session of Congress, putting lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence, who chaired the vote count, at risk that cemented Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump.
The trio of former officials who testify publicly for the first time are Steven Sund, who was the Capitol Police chief; Michael Stenger, who was the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, and Paul Irving, who was the House Sergeant-at-Arms. Robert Contee, acting chief of police for Washington, DC, will also testify.
Two other current officials, Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman and Acting Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett, will testify in a virtual House appropriations subcommittee hearing Thursday.
The riot left five people dead, including Capitol Hill cop Brian Sicknick. Police were able to regain control of the building with help from the National Guard and federal law enforcement after several hours, and the vote count was completed. More than 200 people have been criminally charged.
The joint hearing before the Rules Committee and the Committee on Home and Government Affairs is expected to focus on why officials were not better prepared for the attack and why it took so long to fend off the crowd of a building that had been considered one of the safest in the world.
Tuesday’s hearing is the first in a series of hearings the commissions will conduct as part of their investigation into the attack. Further hearings are expected later, including a hearing with the acting heads of the entities they will speak with on Tuesday, as well as a hearing in which they will bring in representatives from federal agencies responsible for intelligence gathering and of the answer.
The Homeland Security Committee held talks as part of its investigation to brief members’ questions. He has conducted closed-door talks with Sund, as well as a Pittman, a senator from the committee said.
Committee Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich., Gave an overview of some of the expected investigative leads: “Intelligence questions, what did they know, what did they expect? on the Capitol? Questions related to the National Guard. I mean, there’s a long list of questions we’re going to go through, “he said.
Sund said he had not been warned of the possibility of protesters trying to take control of the building.
“Perfect hindsight doesn’t change the fact that nothing in our collective experience or intelligence – including intelligence provided by the FBI, Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the DC Metropolitan Police (MPD) – only indicated that a well-coordinated army an attack on the Capitol could take place on Jan. 6, ”Sund said in a letter to lawmakers obtained by The New York Times this month.
Sund also criticized Stenger and Irving, saying they were slow to respond when he said they had to call the National Guard, and he also said senior military personnel were slow to respond as well.
The hearing is also expected to be controversial among lawmakers, and some Republicans will likely try to shift some of the blame onto House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Rules committee chair Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Said Monday the hearing will focus on “what happened on Capitol Hill and what we need to do to improve safety.”