Senate investigation faults Capitol Police training, intel errors in riot

Supporters of President Donald Trump protest on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 6. Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS

A Senate investigation into the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol found sweeping intelligence and law enforcement errors, including a lack of proper training and preparation for police who were unable to prevent protesters from breaching the building.

The report, released Tuesday, found that Capitol Police had intelligence that an attack on the Capitol was possible but failed to communicate that properly and faulted bureaucratic delays for a failure to quickly call in the National Guard. It’s the first bipartisan review of the attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, but it does not address causes of the insurrection or Trump’s role in it.

The report — issued by Democrats Gary Peters and Amy Klobuchar and Republicans Rob Portman and Roy Blunt — does include, without comment, the full transcript of Trump’s speech to supporters just before the riot in which he called on them to march to the Capitol.

“If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore,” he said, eventually leading to allegations he incited the violence.

Many Republicans including Blunt have argued that this report, along with ongoing FBI investigations, negates any need for a Jan. 6 commission to further investigate causes of the riot. A proposal to create such a commission was defeated in the Senate last month.

“The entities responsible for securing and protecting the Capitol Complex and everyone onsite that day were not prepared for a large-scale attack, despite being aware of the potential for violence targeting the Capitol. The Committees’ investigation to-date makes clear that reforms to USCP and the Capitol Police Board are necessary to ensure events like January 6 are never repeated,” the report said.

The senators made a number of recommendations to prevent such violence in the future, including giving the Capitol Police chief authority to bring in the National Guard without waiting for the police department’s board to act. It also allows for quick-reaction National Guard resources for special events.

The report does not recommend building a permanent or retractable fence around the Capitol complex, as called for in a House-passed $2 billion emergency spending bill that stalled in the Senate.

The U.S. Capitol Police said in response to the report that reforms are necessary, including to “specific to intelligence analysis and dissemination,” but denied that it had knowledge thousands of rioters were going to attack the Capitol.

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