Key officials at the U.S. Capitol were warned in advance that the Jan. 6 protest there could deteriorate, through violence, to “a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike.”
But in instructions to the Capitol Police, they claimed, apparently contrary to the evidence, that there were “no specific known threats related to the joint session of Congress” meeting to certify Joe Biden’s election victory.
Those details are from a new report, “Review of the Events Surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Takeover of the U.S. Capitol,” from Inspector General Michael Bolton.
A copy was obtained by the New York Times and the Hill has reported on it.
The report said, “Capitol Police officers were instructed by leaders not to use their most aggressive tactics when responding to the mob of pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to a new report from the agency’s internal watchdog.”
Bolton said three days before the events, officials were warned during an intelligence assessment of the possibility of trouble.
“Stop the Steal’s propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike,” the assessment charged, according to Bolton.
But he noted that the Capitol Police’s Civil Disturbance Unit, charged with handling large events, “was ordered by supervisors not to use the department’s most powerful tools and techniques,” the report said.
Bolton found that division was running “at a decreased level of readiness as a result of a lack of standards for equipment,” including the lack of shields.
About 140 law enforcement officers were injured during the riot, and policeman Brian Sicknick later died.
Two other officers later committed suicide.
Five of the protesters died, one when she was shot and killed by a police officer while she was trying to go through a broken door in the Capitol, and others from various medical complications.
At Becker News, an article described the instructions provided from Congress as a “stand down” order.
“The New York Times has finally confirmed what many political observers had been saying all along about the Capitol riots: It was pre-planned, the Capitol Police knew it was coming, and authorities effectively gave a ‘stand down’ order,” the report said.
The Times explained what happened apparently was that “key intelligence” was ignored, even after a warning came in that “Congress itself is the target.”
Becker News described the Bolton conclusions as “the most searing portrait yet of the lapses and miscalculations around the most violent attack on the Capitol in two centuries.”
It said, “At the Trump impeachment trial, it was revealed that Congress had been warned by the now-resigned Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund an attack from extremists was coming days before the uprising. House impeachment manager Rep. Stacey Plaskett revealed the explosive information on the second day of the Senate trial.”
Earlier, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., blamed Sund for ignoring warnings.
Online, constitutional expert Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University, said, the report “has sent congressional leaders scrambling after finding that Capitol police were told that they could not use critical riot materials and tactics in preparation for the Jan. 6th protests.”
“It also raises questions of whether congressional leaders (who repeatedly condemned Trump for the death and injuries of officers) share responsibility for the loss of control of Congress to the rioters,” he found.
He said, “The report magnifies suspicions over why House leadership refused to hold hearings with key witnesses before the second Trump impeachment.”
The report, he concluded, “explains a lot. On the day of the riot, many of us familiar with the Capitol expressed disbelief over the lack of serious perimeter protections and the relative ease of protesters in breaching the Capitol. This is precisely the type of information that should have been revealed in the weeks after the riot. Indeed, as previously discussed in repeated columns, the House Democratic leadership refused to hold a single hearing with key witnesses on what occurred before the riot. After using a ‘snap impeachment,’ weeks went by without calling such witnesses before the Trump impeachment trial. Such evidence could challenge the narrative and raised questions over decisions made by Congress that left the Capitol vulnerable to such an attack.”