Top Capitol security officials will be grilled on Tuesday by two Senate committees investigating law enforcement failures involving planning and response during the Jan. 6 riot when supporters of former President Donald Trump converged on the building as a joint-session of Congress was voting on certifying the November election.
Steve Sund, the former chief of the Capitol Police, will appear along with Paul Irving and Michael Stenger, the former sergeants-at-arms of the House and Senate.
The three stepped down after the Jan. 6 siege in which five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died.
Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, whose officers responded to the scene after the mob seized the Capitol and secured the building, will also testify.
The hearing will take place as part of a joint investigation by the Senate Homeland Security Committee and the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.
Senators are expected to aggressively question the four on how much they knew about the riot beforehand, how they prepared for the onslaught that had been talked about publicly online, how they shared information between agencies, and why the Capitol Police were so easily overpowered by the rioters.
The mob, many of them carrying Trump, American and Blue Lives Matter signs, breached the defenses to get to the Capitol where they shattered windows and busted down doors to enter the federal facility, leaving lawmakers gathered to certify the Electoral College vote for President Biden scurrying to safe locations.
Some entered and vandalized lawmakers’ offices, including that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The mob breached the defenses to get to the Capitol where they shattered windows and busted down doors to enter the federal facility,AFP via Getty Images
More than 200 people have been charged for their roles in the breach, including some with ties to extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.
More than 140 Capitol Police officers and roughly 65 Metropolitan police officers were injured in the siege.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), speaks with Michael Stenger, Senate Sergeant at Arms, before returning to the Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.Bloomberg via Getty Images
Merrick Garland, Biden’s nominee for attorney general, told senators at his confirmation hearing on Monday that his first order of business heading the Justice Department will be to investigate the Jan. 6 melee.
“If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6 — a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government,” Garland said.
Other congressional committees are also expected to launch probes into what happened that day.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the chairwoman of the Rules Committee, said her panel will focus on why there was a delay by the National Guard to respond to the attack on the Capitol even as “a mad, angry mob” invaded “this temple of our democracy.”
“We are on a fast track here simply because decisions have to be made about the Capitol,” Klobuchar (D-Minn.) told the Associated Press.
Trump was impeached by the House for “incitement of an insurrection” but acquitted in a Senate trial.
With Post wires
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