Riot at U.S. Capitol: Senate report reveals new details of security failures ahead of Jan.6 attack, but omits Trump role
Among the failures was the inability of intelligence officials to link a troubling whirlwind of internet gossip leading to the riot and an addiction to using Trump’s past non-violent gatherings in security planning. The report also found that although the Capitol Police’s main intelligence unit “was aware of the potential for violence,” some officials were left in the dark until January 6.
Sources told CNN that in order for this report, which was compiled by the Senate Homeland Security and Rules Committees, to have the support of both sides, the language had to be carefully drafted, and that included the exclusion of the word. “insurrection”, which does not appear apart from witness quotes and footnotes.
“Have we looked at Trump’s role in the attack? The answer is no,” a Senate committee aide told reporters.
“The report did not attempt to examine the origins and development of the groups or individuals who participated in the attack on Capitol Hill,” the aide said.
Yet this is the most comprehensive government report on the security breaches that led to the Capitol uprising. Congressional investigators looked at “thousands of documents,” received written statements from 50 police officers who defended the Capitol, and obtained testimony from a wide range of current and former officials who played a role in the claims. preparations and security response.
Like previous testimony and independent reports of the failures surrounding the attack, the Senate report painted a damning portrait of security breaches at multiple levels before and on January 6.
Senate advisers said the information in the report came from a variety of sources – public hearings, private communications and five transcribed interviews, including with former Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller and Acting Capitol Police Chief. United States, Yogananda Pittman.
But there was a clear frustration among the committees that not everyone fully cooperated with their requests for information. The report largely gleaned information from the Capitol Police.
“We have developed information regarding DHS and FBI. It is not that DHS and FBI withheld information. It is that their response so far has been very partial and frankly unsatisfactory,” said an adviser to the Senate.
In addition, Senate investigators encountered institutional obstacles, notably from the House Sergeant-at-Arms, who did not provide information to the panels because “the House is in a way responsible for its own affairs. own affairs, and the Senate is responsible for its own affairs, ”said an aide.
New details on the extent of communication between rioters
Assistants said the Senate investigation revealed new information about the extent of communication between the rioters, including increased traffic to a website on the Washington tunnels.
Helpers were pressed to find out why, despite mounting evidence that there were plans to attack the Capitol, law enforcement appeared to be relying on past MAGA marches that have remained largely non-violent. Assistants said law enforcement intelligence was focusing on clashes between groups rather than violence against a building.
The report also concluded that the Capitol Police main intelligence unit “was aware of the potential for violence in the days and weeks leading up to January 6”. But not everyone knew about it. The investigation determined that the USCP’s “decentralized” intelligence operation meant that some people had seen these warnings while other officials were left in the dark.
Pittman provided important testimony, both in an interview and in public hearings. However, the report notes apparent variations in his responses, which assistants acknowledged but declined to explain further.
“You will see important quotes from Acting Chief Pittman throughout the report and we highlight where there have been perceived inconsistencies, including with regard to intelligence products,” the aide said.
In a statement, Capitol Police said the intelligence reflected a “large demonstration attracting various groups, some of which encouraged violence.” However, the agency added: “What it didn’t know, as acting chief Pittman noted, was that the large-scale protest would become a full-scale attack on the Capitol – because it didn’t There was no specific and credible attack information. “
“Neither the USCP, nor the FBI, the US Secret Service, the Metropolitan Police or our other law enforcement partners knew that thousands of rioters were planning to attack the US Capitol,” added the agency. “The known intelligence simply did not support this conclusion.”
Limitations of a bipartisan congressional inquiry
The narrow scope of the report underscores the limitations of a bipartisan congressional inquiry. While the evidence and interviews were gathered over the months from bipartisan staff and members of two committees, the information was almost entirely about the security and intelligence gaps that have led to this day, not focusing on why individuals would have come to Capitol Hill in the first place. and the role of Trump.
Democratic Senate investigators took cautious steps not to alienate their Republican counterparts in the inquiry process, which meant failing to take a closer look at Trump’s role in promoting the Jan.6 rally and a months-long attempt to pressure local officials, congressional lawmakers and then Vice President Mike Pence to subvert the will of the electorate.
Aides also avoided comments that could discourage some Republicans, including failing to qualify the attack as an “insurgency.”
“The language that was chosen was intentional – and represents the consensus of the four members and their respective staff,” said an aide to the Senate committee. “We did our best to stick to the facts as we understood them and leave the characterizations in quotation marks where there were characterizations.”
In a clear example of this, the report’s appendix includes Trump’s full speech to the crowd on January 6 – but doesn’t go further into the interpretation of how it influenced the rioters on Capitol Hill. A Senate adviser said the decision was made to avoid inserting “our editorial judgment” into the speech.
While the report nods to some of Trump’s statements and tweets leading up to the events on Capitol Hill, the report did not fully explore the root causes of what led to an insurgency on Capitol Hill, nor did not blame the former president directly. for promoting a lie that the election was stolen that mobilized supporters to rally on Capitol Hill on January 6.
The conclusion of the congressional inquiry comes weeks after the Senate rejected a House of Representatives bill that would have established a bipartisan commission to study the insurgency. This body is said to have been made up of people from outside Congress and the administration. This investigation would have been wide-ranging and would have been tasked with exploring some of the events that could have been responsible for triggering the events of the insurgency. The bill, however, failed to gain traction in the Senate where only a handful of Republicans joined Democrats in supporting it.
Senator Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican and senior member of the Homeland Security Committee who wrote the Congressional report on Tuesday, voted to advance legislation that would have established the commission. But, Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri who was the top GOP member on the rules, did not.
Blunt argued that the Congressional report went quite far and provided the framework for making security fixes on Capitol Hill, which could be delayed if a commission is established.
“I think a commission would slow down the things we need to do,” Blunt said last month. “Frankly, I don’t think there are so many gaps to be filled in what happened on January 6 when it comes to building safety.”
It’s unclear what the bipartisan Senate report will mean for Democratic House leaders, who may decide in the days and weeks to come to launch their own investigation either through a new select committee or through the through committees already established, which work to investigate the incidents that occurred on January 6 for months.
Now that the report is out, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could argue it doesn’t go far enough and force another vote to establish a commission. However, there would still not be the Republican votes to pass it. Without 60 votes or a united Democratic caucus willing to detonate the filibuster, a commission could not be established.
CNN’s Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.