House of Commons Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls on Capitol Hill police chief to be fired for the security failure which saw Trump supporters violently invade the Capitol building, which led to police being shoot at least one insurgent.
“There was a failure at the top of the Capitol Police, and I think Mr. [Steven] Sund – he didn’t even call us, ”Pelosi said at a press conference Thursday.
Pelosi also said that Paul D. Irving, the House Sergeant-at-Arms, would resign. This represents the first act of accountability, centered around the senior law enforcement official charged with securing the House of Representatives.
His Senate counterpart, soon to be Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, has signaled that Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger must also step down. “If Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Stenger has not left his post by then, I will fire him as soon as Democrats have a majority in the Senate,” Schumer said Thursday.
Stenger’s office did not immediately respond if he would resign.
Investigations into the cause of the dramatic collapse of Capitol Hill security on Wednesday have already begun. The House Administration Committee, which oversees Capitol Police, has opened an investigation alongside Republican and Democratic leaders, President Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) announced.
Capitol Police, which report to a board of directors that includes the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms, have yet to resolve the security failure. Armed insurgents were able to occupy the Capitol building for hours, ransacking offices, causing lockdowns and evacuations of legislatures, to intimidate lawmakers not to certify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden.
While some footage showed protesters crushing Capitol Police, in some cases officers took selfies with insurgents and made a few arrests. It is still unclear whether the preparatory steps taken by the Sergeant-at-Arms or the Capitol Police before a protest that President Trump has called for and promised would be “wild.”
Capitol Police did not respond to questions from the Daily Beast. A statement Thursday, de Sund, the first from the Capitol Police, said without elaboration that they had “a solid plan in place to respond to planned First Amendment activities.” But make no mistake – these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; it was delusional criminal behavior. Sund, who released the statement before Pelosi called on him to resign, promised a “full review” was underway.
Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, highlighted the “stark and overwhelming” contrast of “the federal police response to the violent national armed terrorists who stormed the country. Capitol yesterday. [to] the treatment of migrant families at the border and peaceful Black Lives Matters protesters. Thompson said his committee’s priority in the new congress would be to examine far-right domestic terrorism.
Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general, has yet to explain the preparatory steps, if any, taken by the Department of Justice. Hours after the insurgents had already crossed the Capitol at around 1 p.m. Rosen called in additional federal law enforcement – “hundreds,” he said – to supplement the Capitol police. However, it was not until shortly before the 6 p.m. curfew in Washington that the Capitol building was completely cleared of insurgents.
On Thursday, Rosen swore criminal charges would be laid.
“Some participants in yesterday’s violence will be charged today, and we will continue to methodically assess the evidence, charge crimes and make arrests in the days and weeks to come to ensure those responsible are held. responsible under the law, ”Rosen said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray urged the public to help the office identify insurgents. “Our agents and analysts have been working hard all night collecting evidence, sharing intelligence and working with federal prosecutors to lay charges,” Wray said Thursday.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy laid out a plan to beef up security between now and Biden’s inauguration. By the weekend, McCarthy told a press conference with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser that some 6,200 National Guardsmen will arrive in the city from DC, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, New York and New Jersey. The huge security contingent overtakes a heavy army brigade.
In addition to insurgency fire and Capitol Police, Ashli Babbitt, who later died of her injuries, DC Police identified three other people on the Capitol grounds who died of what they described as medical emergencies: Benjamin Phillips, 50, of Ringtown, Pa. ; Kevin Greeson, 55, of Athens, AL; and Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Kennesaw, GA. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee was unsure whether the three were part of the protests.
Pelosi thanked “many of our police officers on Capitol Hill” for protecting the besieged lawmakers and staff. She called for “a full review” of what she described as “horrors that will stain our nation’s history forever.”
– Sam Brodey contributed reporting
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