Trump Supporters Want to 'Blow Up' Capitol, Police Chief Warns

Pablo Tucker
February 26, 2021

"Although the Department's January 3rd Special Assessment foretold of a significant likelihood for violence on Capitol grounds by extremists groups, it did not identify a specific credible threat indicating that thousands of American citizens would descend upon the U.S. Capitol attacking police officers with the goal of breaking into the U.S. Capitol Building to harm Members and prevent the certification of Electoral College votes", Pittman says in her testimony.

Five people were killed in the riot, including a Capitol police officer.

But the Capitol Police were not prepared, she wrote, 'for the massive groups of violent insurrectionists, ' describing the number as being in the 'tens of thousands'.

The FBI also forwarded a warning to local law enforcement officials about online postings that a "war" was coming. But the wild invasion of the Capitol was far worse than police expected, leaving them unprepared to fight it off. How did the agencies share that information with each other?

The hearing is expected to be the first of many examinations of what happened that day, coming nearly seven weeks after the attack and over one week after the Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump of inciting the insurrection by telling his supporters to "fight like hell" to overturn his election defeat.

US Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman
Yogananda Pittman conceded that the agency's incident command protocols were"not adhered

The acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police says cellphone records back up the account of former Chief Steven Sund that he repeatedly asked his superiors for National Guard help during the January 6 insurrection. They were Sund's supervisors and in charge of security for the House and Senate.

Congress needs to know, quickly, how failed security preparations and delays in the response led to "a mad, angry mob invading this temple of our democracy", Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar said in an interview with The Associated Press.

A plot uncovered by federal law enforcement to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was a major red flag, and numerous rioters went on social media to echo Trump's calls to "stop the steal" and speculate about violence.

"Hindsight is 20/20", she told the lawmakers. She said Sund then called the Senate sergeant-at-arms at the time, Michael Stenger, at 1:05 p.m. On Thursday, Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman provided her account of the days leading up to the incident.

"How could you not get that vital intelligence?" asked Senate Homeland Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich., who said the failure of the report to reach the chief was clearly a major problem.

Even without the intelligence, there were clear signs that violence was a possibility on January 6.

Sund resigned after the January 6 attack, as did House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, who all said Tuesday they did not see a warning sent by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on January 5 that violent extremists were calling for "war" against Congress. Pittman says the police had been monitoring their communication. He said he would have expected that kind of intelligence "would warrant a phone call or something".

That testimony echoed the comments of Mr. Sund, who told the Senate earlier this week that he could not request National Guard troops without the board's approval.

Instead, Irving said Sund did not make the request for the National Guard until around 2 p.m. that day. Police tried to hold them back, but they breached security and forced their way into the building.

These include razor wire-topped fences and checkpoints manned by the National Guard. He said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. "And my response to that was simply I was just stunned that, you know, I have officers that were out there literally fighting for their lives".

Pro-Trump supporters took over the offices vacated by lawmakers who had been rushed to safety. They said they offered the assistance beforehand but were turned down.

"I think there's some real questions about the decision-making that was made, and I'm going to leave it at that", he said. "There was no coordination", she said.

The hearing Tuesday was the first of several this week examining what went wrong January 6.

U.S. Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman departs at the conclusion of a congressional tribute to the late Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick who lies in honor in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on February 3, 2021 in Washington, DC.

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