OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
House Republicans issued a scathing report exposing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her role in security and intelligence failures at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Emails and text messages from Pelosi’s office reveal her staff held regular meetings discussing security detail, helped edit authorities’ plans, and turned down several requests from federal law enforcement needed to protect the Capitol on that day.
“Days after Pelosi’s Jan. 6 select committee recommended insurrection charges against former president Donald Trump over the Capitol riot, Republicans have hit back with a counter-investigation apportioning blame for the internal security breakdown on Jan. 6 to Pelosi and a dysfunctional Capitol Police intelligence division,” New York Post reported.
The New York Post reported:
“Leadership and law enforcement failures within the U.S. Capitol left the complex vulnerable on January 6, 2021,” says the report, which is based on a trove of texts and email messages, and testimony from Capitol Police leaders and rank-and-file officers.
House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, who answered to Pelosi as one of three voting members of the Capitol Police Board, “succumbed to political pressures from the Office of Speaker Pelosi and House Democrat leadership,” was “compromised by politics and did not adequately prepare for violence at the Capitol.”
Pelosi and her staff “coordinated closely” with Irving on security plans for the Joint Session of Congress on Jan. 6, but Republicans were deliberately left out of “important discussions related to security.”
And, in an apparent attempt to hide from Republicans the fact that they were being excluded from discussions, Irving asked a senior Democratic staffer to “act surprised” when he sent “key information about plans for the Joint Session on Jan. 6, 2021, to him and his Republican counterpart.”
The staffer replied sardonically: “I’m startled!”
The report also claims that “staff within the House Sergeant at Arms office emailed Paul Irving that January 6th was Pelosi’s fault,” although it provides no evidence for the assertion.
Nothing to see here
Just a text from Pelosi’s staff secretly editing the J6 security plan and telling the House Sgt. at Arms to “please act surprised” when the final draft was published
— Rogan O’Handley (@DC_Draino) December 30, 2022
The report said that the Speaker’s office “helped edit authorities’ plans, and turned down several requests from federal law enforcement needed to protect the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Troy Nehls (R-TX), Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) independently published a 141-page investigative report on Wednesday outlining what they describe as House Democratic leadership and Capitol authorities’ failures that left the complex vulnerable,” it said.
“Democrats and the Jan. 6 Committee used the Capitol Police as a political prop, then did nothing when USCP officers were harassed for telling the truth. They should be ashamed,” Rep. Banks, who led the investigation after he was banned from participating in the January 6 Select Committee, said to The Federalist.
Republicans showed how the Speaker’s office coordinated with law enforcement prior to the incident and how Democrats were concerned about the optics of increased police and National Guard presence.
“I have no power over the Capitol Police. Does anybody not know that? The Capitol Police have responded to that gentleman’s allegation, and that stands as what it is. But I have no power over the police,” she said in February.
“This is false,” Republicans said as they said that their investigation and witnesses showed how “then-House Sergeant of Arms Paul Irving carried out his duties in clear deference to the Speaker, her staff, and other Democratic staff.”
“The [House sergeant at arms] had a pattern of and practice of seeking and obtaining permission from the Speaker for all security decisions,” Republicans said.
“Staff within the House Sergeant at Arms office emailed Paul Irving that January 6th was Pelosi’s fault,” Republicans said.
The report added:
While officers were denied reinforcements from the National Guard until the Capitol was already under siege, the same officers left to defend the complex were practically defenseless. One unnamed officer told Republican investigators he or she was left to defend lawmakers with nothing but a baseball cap after leadership gave 15-year-old gear to new recruits.
A Department of Justice memo included in a June Judicial Watch lawsuit revealed that on Jan. 6, Capitol Police operated with “less than half” of what’s “usually assigned” for the House’s “normal staffing for a joint session.”
According to the GOP report, Capitol Police are still operating on a slim staff, more than 100 officers short of the authorized cap of 2,072.