The Latest: Lawmaker says Capitol police didn't grasp threat

·5 min read

WASHINGTON — The Latest on congressional testimony about the Capitol insurrection (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

The lawmaker who's chair of a hearing on the Jan. 6 riot says the U.S. Capitol Police’s acting chief failed to understand the threat facing lawmakers that day.

Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio told acting Chief Yogananda Pittman on Thursday, “You took the intelligence and I feel like you didn’t put it all together and synthesize it in a way to go, ‘Holy cow, something really bad can happen here.’”

Pittman was serving then as assistant chief of protective and intelligence operations.

Pittman has acknowledged that an FBI warning of violence sent the day before the riot was received by the Capitol Police but was never forwarded to her. She insists the warning would not have changed her department’s security plan the next day.

Ryan asked Pittman how she would define a credible threat and why her agency didn’t prepare for a “worst-case scenario.”

Pittman said in hindsight her agency would have replaced bicycle racks that were quickly overrun by pro-Trump rioters with a stronger fence. She also noted that former Chief Steven Sund’s advance request for National Guard help was turned down by former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, which Irving has denied.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SECURITY OFFICIALS TESTIFYING ON THE CAPITOL INSURRECTION:

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman and acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett appear before a House subcommittee to discuss the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection. Lawmakers press them for answers about intelligence and procedural failures that allowed thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump to storm the Capitol.

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HERE'S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:

Noon

The acting head of the U.S. Capitol Police says about 800 pro-Trump rioters forced their way into the halls of Congress during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Acting Police Chief Yogananda Pittman offered the estimate as she testified Thursday to a House subcommittee investigating the attempt to force Congress to overturn the November election results.

Those who entered the Capitol building were a relatively small subset of the estimated 10,000 people who gathered on the grounds outside the House and Senate after marching from a Donald Trump rally earlier in the day.

Authorities say there were about 15,000 people at the Trump rally south of the White House and another 10,000 gathered outside the formal rally.

Five people died in the attack on the Capitol, including a Capitol officer.

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11:50 a.m.

Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman denies law enforcement failed to take warnings of violence prior to Jan. 6 seriously because many of the people travelling to Washington before the Capitol insurrection were white.

Pittman said before Congress on Thursday she had “no evidence whatsoever” that the Capitol Police changed its response based on race. She noted that she became the department’s first Black and female leader after Chief Steven Sund resigned following the riot.

Democratic Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts asked the chief about a “culture of white supremacy” and noted that far-right and white supremacist groups have pushed false and debunked claims that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election, not Joe Biden.

Images on Jan. 6 of pro-Trump rioters walking unimpeded through the halls of Congress contrast with far more robust law enforcement responses during protests for racial justice last summer, even when there was little or no violence.

Five people died in the Capitol riot, including a Capitol officer.

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11:10 a.m.

The acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police says the agency’s incident command protocols “were not adhered to” on the day of the Capitol insurrection.

Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman says commanders in charge of supervising the officers were supposed to be giving directions as the violent mob stormed the Capitol. But she says there was a “multi-tiered failure.”

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler on Thursday laid out a series of leadership failures at the U.S. Capitol Police as thousands of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol while Congress was meeting to vote to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win over Donald Trump. Beutler says officers were operating without proper communication or strong guidance from the supervisors.

Pittman says officials are working on communications and have streamlined communication with other agencies.

Five people died in the riot, including a Capitol officer.

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10:55 a.m.

The acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police says cellphone records back up the account of former Chief Steven Sund that he repeatedly asked his superiors for National Guard help during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Testifying before Congress Thursday, acting Chief Yogananda Pittman listed several times she says Sund called the sergeants-at-arms of the House and Senate as a violent mob was surging outside the Capitol building.

Pittman says Sund’s phone records show he called former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving at 12:58 p.m. to request the Guard, then called ex-Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger at 1:05 p.m. Pittman says Sund made at least four more calls in the next 40 minutes.

Sund and Irving disagreed earlier this week on when the chief asked for the Guard. Sund testified he requested the Guard at 1:09 p.m., while Irving denied receiving a call at that time.

The Guard didn’t arrive for several hours, leaving overwhelmed Capitol Police officers fighting rioters who in many cases were better armed than they were.

Five people died in the riot, including a Capitol officer.

The Associated Press