One of the criticisms leveled by Republicans is that the January 6 Committee would not investigate potential contributions by Speaker Pelosi, and her office, and of the Capitol Police, to the disaster of that day. HERE is the 140 page sub-report dedicated to doing exactly what such Republican critics said would not happen.
The report is sometimes directly critical of Pelosi and her staff. It even suggests that protocols set up over the years by Speakers, to include Pelosi, may have slightly delayed calling forth the National Guard.
To be clear Pelosi never turned down any advance offer from Trump for the National Guard. No such offer ever happened and the report does not suggest it did. So let’s talk about what did happen.
- Pelosi and her staff were actively involved in security issues for the Capitol and regularly interacted with the Capitol Police leadership which generally deferred to their wishes. In a stunningly direct repudiation of Pelosi the report states:
On February 9, 2022, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, “I have no power over the Capitol Police.” This is false. Documents provided by the House Sergeant at Arms show how then-House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving carried out his duties in clear deference to the Speaker, her staff, and other Democratic staff.
For purposes of January 6th this deference manifested itself a several ways that contributed to the events of that day.
- Leading up to January 6th Capitol Police leadership succumbed to pressure from Pelosi’s office and did not include Republican leaders in reports on intelligence suggesting the January 6 protestors could be planning to assault the Capitol. The report does not suggest how this impacted things, but I will, while acknowledging it is wholly speculative. Had Republicans been more aware in advance of the threat of violence to the Capitol, and thereby to them personally, they may have been more reserved about firing up the crowd that day.
- Prior to January 6th, Pelosi’s staff communicated concern to the Capitol Police about the “optics” of a Capitol Police force presenting an overly aggressive or confrontational appearance. Thus, they were not issued equipment, and were discouraged from putting on equipment, that would protect them and more effectively deal with the initial mob assaults later.
- Written protocols did not require the Capitol Police leadership to confer with the Speaker of the House prior requesting National Guard support. However, by informal practice that was the custom. Thus as the violence unfolded on January 6th Capitol Police leadership briefly paused their formal request for the Guard to be summoned in order to ask Pelosi if she approved their doing so. Pelosi promptly did, but their taking the time to ask her delayed their request briefly. Given that approving the Guard’s deployment still took hours after that request, this was likely inconsequential.
Is any of this game changing information? Does it suggest that had Pelosi or her office done differently that events would have been much safer that day? Probably not. There is certainly no suggestion Pelosi, or her office, acted in bad faith (other than in Pelosi’s better than year later denial of having any influence over the Capitol Police).
The report was also very critical of the intelligence gathering by the Capitol Police of the looming threat, and the sharing of that intelligence with those who could have influenced things. That aspect of the report names names and is quite interesting. I’ll have more on that in a subsequent article.