Capitol Riot: Witnesses Contradict Democrats’ Claim that Attack Was Expected

Steven Sund (Andrew Harnik / Pool / AFP / Getty)
Andrew Harnik / Pool / AFP / Getty

Witnesses at the first major congressional hearing on the Capitol riot testified that they did not expect the building to be targeted by violence — directly contradicting what Democrats told the Senate impeachment trial earlier this month.

The hearing, held jointly by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, included Paul D. Irving, the former Sergeant-at-Arms for the House of Representatives; Michael C. Stenger, the former Sergeant-at-Arms for the Senate; and Steven A. Sund, the former Chief of the Capitol Police. All three resigned after the riot. Acting Chief Robert J. Contee III of the D.C. Metro Police also testified, as did Captain Carneysha Mendoza, who suffered burns to her face and nearly had her arm broken during the January 6 riot.

“Based on the intelligence that we received,” Sund said, “we planned for an increased level of violence at the Capitol, and that some participants may be armed, but none of the intelligence we received predicted what actually occurred.”

He later added: “No entity, including the FBI, provided any new intelligence regarding January 6th.” As such, he said, the Capitol Police prepared for a protest that could become violent, but never prepared for an attack on the Capitol itself.

During the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, the House impeachment managers — all Democrats — repeatedly argued that the attack on the Capitol had been expected as a result of President Trump’s alleged “incitement.”

But the witnesses disagreed. In his prepared statement, for example, Irving said that neither the FBI nor the Department of Homeland Security “assessed or forecast a coordinated assault on the Capitol like the one that took place.”

Contee said in his prepared statement: “To be clear, available intelligence pointed to a large presence of some of the same groups that had contributed to violence in the city after demonstrations in November and December. The District did not have intelligence pointing to a coordinated assault on the Capitol.”

Sund wrote: “Although it appears that there were numerous participants from multiple states planning this attack, the entire intelligence community (IC) seems to have missed it.” Sund later added that he did not think the Capitol riot was “foreseeable,” given the intelligence that was provided at the time.

Witnesses said that the attack on the Capitol was well-coordinated and well-equipped, with clear advance planning.

The riot began 20 minutes before President Trump finished his speech about the election, more than a mile away at the Ellipse.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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