WASHINGTON – A series of bipartite investigative hearings will begin Tuesday in the Senate to examine security failures that have failed to prevent the deadly Capitol Building riot, the most violent attack in more than 200 years on the building where the Congress meets.
At a joint meeting of two Senate committees, lawmakers will have the opportunity to question those responsible for securing the Capitol during the January 6 attack, when Capitol Police officers and members of the department The city’s Metropolitan Police called in as the crowd swarmed with reinforcements as the Vice President and members of the House and Senate gathered inside.
It will be the first time the public hears from the two top security officials on Capitol Hill that day, who both resigned after the breach. Paul D. Irving, the former House Sergeant-at-Arms, and Michael C. Stenger, the former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, have come under scrutiny amid reports that they do not did not act quickly enough to call the National Guard. The committees will also hear from Steven A. Sund, the former chief of the United States Capitol Police, who also resigned after the attack, and Robert J. Contee III, the chief of the Metropolitan Police Department.
What we expect to see: Tuesday’s hearing will be the first in a series of watchdog hearings hosted by Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota and chair of the administration committee, and Senator Gary Peters, Democrat of Michigan and chair of the committee of the internal security. They will be joined by the top Republicans on the panels, Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri and Rob Portman of Ohio.
When we are likely to see it: The hearing begins at 10 a.m. Senators will make opening statements and swear in witnesses, who will make their own remarks and answer questions from lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans in turn. A joint hearing means almost twice as many senators asking questions, which is likely to mean a long day.
How to follow: The New York Times congressional team will be following all developments on Capitol Hill. Visit TBEN.com all day for live coverage.
What we will learn
Senators from both parties have said they want to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6. Despite ample reports that right-wing militias and extremist groups that supported President Donald J. Trump were planning violence – and even targeting Congress – law enforcement officials were powerless and under-equipped for riot.
Lawmakers are expected to extensively quiz witnesses about the threats they knew and how they prepared, what they did when it became clear the situation was getting out of hand and why they didn’t. failed to safely fortify the Capitol against the pro-Trump mob. .
It is also likely that one wonders why the National Guard was not called in more quickly to help quell the violence and who was responsible for the chaotic decision-making and communication breakdowns that contributed to a lag in almost two hours from when Mr. Sund applied for troops and when it was approved.
Will there be a 9/11 commission?
Even as the hearing was scheduled, President Nancy Pelosi proposed the formation of an independent, bipartite commission of inquiry, modeled after that which investigated the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The idea aroused interest of both sides, but already led to partisan divisions.
Republicans are resisting Ms Pelosi’s plan for the committee – which would allow each of the four top Congressional leaders to nominate two members and President Biden to nominate three, including the committee chairman – because it would tip the board to the Democrats.
Representative Kevin McCarthy, California Republican and minority leader, said in a statement that the commission should be split evenly between the two sides.
The 10-member National Commission on the Terrorist Attacks on the United States, which was the product of an intense round of negotiations on Capitol Hill, had five members appointed by Republicans and five by Democrats.