Earlier today, we reported that top Republicans from various committees in the House had sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) demanding answers on some of the decisions she made about security before the Capitol riot last month. Now, Pelosi is firing back by saying that Republicans are “clearly” trying to “deflect responsibility for the Capitol attack from Donald Trump.”
On Monday, House Administration Committee Ranking Member Rodney Davis, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes sent Pelosi a letter in which they said that they have “many important questions” about her “responsibility for the security” of the Capitol on Jan. 6 “remain unanswered.”
Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, told Fox News in response that the speaker “has and will continue to take action to ensure accountability and enhance the security of the Capitol.”
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“Two of the four House Republican Ranking Members voted to overturn the results of a fair election, just hours after the Capitol was sacked by an insurrectionist, right-wing mob – a mob incited by Trump,” Hammill said. “A full 65 percent of House Republicans joined them in voting to undermine our democracy. All four Ranking Members also voted against holding Donald Trump accountable for inciting the mob.”
“Clearly, the security of our Capitol and democracy are not the priorities of these Ranking Members,” he added.
In their letter, the Republicans had asked, “When then-Chief Sund made a request for national guard support on January 4th, why was that request denied? Did Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving get permission or instruction from your staff on January 4th prior to denying Chief Sund’s request for the national guard?”
They went on to cite claims made by former Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund, who alleged that two days before the riot, he approached the sergeants at arms to request the assistance of the National Guard. In a letter of his own that he sent to Pelosi last month, Sund alleged that the former Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving said he was concerned about “the optics” and didn’t feel the “intelligence supported it.”
“As you are aware, the Speaker of the House is not only the leader of the majority party, but also has enormous institutional responsibilities,” the Republicans wrote. “The Speaker is responsible for all operational decisions made within the House.”
After the riot, both the House Sergeant at Arms and the Senate Sergeant at Arms were removed from their positions, and the chief of the Capitol Police resigned.
“It is the job of the Capitol Police Board, on which these three individuals sat, to properly plan and prepare for security threats facing the U.S. Capitol,” Hammill said. “It has been reported that the House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving has said that he did not present to House Leadership any request for the National Guard before January 6th.”
Hammill added that the Committees of Jurisdiction were briefed “in advance of January 6 about security preparedness.”
“During a briefing of the Appropriations Committee Majority on January 5th by the House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and U.S. Capitol Police Chief Sund both Chief Sund and Mr. Irving provided assurances that the Capitol Complex had comprehensive security and there was no intelligence that groups would become violent at the Capitol during the certification of electoral votes,” he explained. “It is our understanding that Ranking Member Davis was also briefed, but took no action to address any security concerns that he might have had.”
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“Following the insurrection, the Speaker immediately tasked General Honore with leading an immediate security review of the U.S. Capitol Complex and has called for a 9/11-style Commission to investigate, with legislation creating such a panel to be introduced in the coming days,” Hammill continued. “The USCP is also conducting an internal security review.”
Hamill concluded by saying that Pelosi “knows all too well the importance of security at the Capitol and is focused on getting to the bottom of all issues facing the Capitol Complex and the events that led up to the insurrection. Clearly, these Republican Ranking Members do not share this priority.”