Investigation into US Capitol attack finds military and police failings but omits Trump’s role

·3-min read
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

An investigation into the US Capitol riots uncovered widespread failures across military and police which lead to the violent attack.

The Senate report revealed a lack of training and preparation for Capitol police officers who were quickly overwhelmed by the mob on January 6.

However, it does not delve into the root causes of the attack including the role of Donald Trump who called for his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat .

Five people died in the chaos when a mob pushed through police barricades before smashing into the government building.

The report released Tuesday found there were clear warnings that supporters of former presidentTrump, including right-wing extremists, were planning to “storm the Capitol.”

Tips warned of weapons and a possibly plan to break into the tunnel system under the building but the intelligence never made it up to top leadership.

Police on the front lines suffered chemical burns, brain injuries and broken bones, among other injuries, after fighting the rioters who broke in.

Officers told Senate investigators that they were left with no leadership or direction when command systems broke down.

The US Capitol stood unprotected by National Guard troops for the first time in May (AFP via Getty Images)
The US Capitol stood unprotected by National Guard troops for the first time in May (AFP via Getty Images)

The report is the first, and could be the last, bipartisan review of how hundreds of Trump supporters were able to violently push past security lines and break into the Capitol that day, interrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.

It recommends immediate changes including:

  • Giving the Capitol Police chief more authority

  • Providing better planning and equipment for law enforcement

  • Streamlining intelligence gathering among federal agencies

In addition to omitting Trump’s role, the report does not call the attack an insurrection.

It comes two weeks after Republicans blocked a bipartisan, independent commission that would investigate the insurrection more broadly.

“This report is important in the fact that it allows us to make some immediate improvements to the security situation here in theCapitol,” said Michigan Senate Gary Peters.

“But it does not answer some of the bigger questions that we need to face, quite frankly, as a country and as a democracy,” he. added

The Michigan Senate also chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee which conducted the probe along with the Senate Rules Committee.

The House in May passed legislation to create a commission that would be modelled after a panel that investigated the September 11 terrorist attack two decades ago.

But the Senate failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance, with many Republicans pointing to the Senate report as sufficient.

The top Republican on the Rules panel, Missouri Senate Roy Blunt, has opposed the commission, arguing that investigation would take too long.

He said the recommendations can be implemented faster, including other legislation that would give the Capitol Police chief more authority to request assistance from the National Guard.

The Senate report tells how the Guard was delayed for hours on January 6 as officials took bureaucratic steps to release the troops.

It details hours of calls between officials in the Capitol and the Pentagon and as Steven Sund, then Capitol Police chief, desperately begged for help.

It finds that the Pentagon spent hours “mission planning” and seeking multiple layers of approvals as officers were overwhelmed and brutally beaten by the rioters.

It also states that the Defense Department’s response was “informed by criticism” of its heavy-handed response to protests in the summer of 2020 after the death of George Floyd in police custody.

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