IG Report: Congress Restricted The Capitol Police’s Utilization of Material And Tactics Ahead Capitol Riot

A new report by Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton has sent congressional leaders after finding that Capitol police were told that they could not use crucial riot materials and approaches in preparation for its Jan. 6th protests.  The finding challenges the narrative put ahead in the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump. Additionally, it raises questions of whether congressional leaders (who repeatedly condemned Trump for the death and injuries of officers) share responsibility for its reduction of control of Congress to the rioters.
The analysis,”Overview of the Events Surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Takeover of the U.S. Capitol,” raises additional questions over the duty of figures in Congress for the absence of adequate forces and materials to manage the protest. Previously, it was revealed that offers of National Guard support were not accepted prior to the protests.  The D.C. authorities under Mayor Muriel Bowser utilized just a small number of guardsmen in traffic positions.
Additionally, it raises whether, after the contentious clearing of Lafayette Park in the previous summer, leaders in Congress hamstrung their own safety force.
Ultimately, over 140 law police officers were wounded during the riot, and Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick later died. Two additional officers later died .
Bolton and his staff reportedly seen in its 104-page report which, three days before the riot, officials had been warned in an intelligence assessment that”Congress itself is the goal” in the proposed protests. Congress was further warned that”Stop the Steal’s propensity to draw white supremacists, militia members, and many others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous position for law enforcement and the public alike.”
This would seem more than adequate reason to call for National Guard support and assemble the entire force and resources available to the Capitol Police.  As stated by the Inspector General, this is not what occurred. Rather, the plan stated that there had been”no specific known dangers related to the joint session of Congress.” More to the point, the Capitol Police’s Civil Disturbance Unit has been ordered by supervisors to not deploy the division’s highest level resources and strategies in addressing any problems.  This including the use of”heavier, less-lethal weapons,” including stun grenades. The report states categorically that they”were not utilized that day because of orders from direction.” Rather, 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot by a Capitol police officer within the Capitol despite being unarmed and standing in a hallway.
That explains a lot.  On the day of the riot, many of us comfortable with the Capitol expressed disbelief over the shortage of severe perimeter protections along with the comparative simplicity of protesters in breaching the Capitol.
This is exactly the kind of information which must have been shown in the weeks after the riot. Indeed, as mentioned earlier in perennial columns, the House Democratic leadership refused to carry one hearing with key witnesses on what occurred before the riot. After using a”snap impeachment,” months went by without calling these witnesses before the Trump impeachment trial. Such evidence could challenge the narrative and also raised questions over choices made by Congress who left the Capitol vulnerable to such an attack.
The report also increases over the Lafayette Park impact. In the prior summer, White House officials emphasized that the compound could be breached by violent protesters who’d wounded dozens of officers and engaged in arson and strikes around the White House during this weekend. They chose to clean the region to set up fencing (which Congress just ordered after the Jan. 6th riot). They also deployed the National Guard along with the”heavier, less lethal weapons” that the Inspector General found were denied into the Capitol Police.
For this day, the press and several members continue to replicate false reports of the Lafayette Park. Many still have tales posted that claim that Lafayette Park has been removed for Trump to hold a photo op in front of a church. I discussed those reports in testimony before Congress and also in columns around the clearing of the Lafayette Park region. NPR still has a story on its website entitled”Peaceful Protesters Tear-Gassed To Clear Way To Trump Church Photo-Op.”
A wide variety of witnesses and records detailed the way the plan to clean the area has been set into motion over 24 hours before the actual operation — and long before any talk of a photo op.  The program has been approved by Attorney General Bill Barr but had been delayed because the officers were all awaiting the two fencing material and backup employees.
Still, the narrative remained that this is a peaceful protest which has been met with tear gas and stun grenades. While I criticized the use of force in the process, calling the protest completely peaceful is just possible by focusing on the time just before the clearing. The Justice Department claimed 750 injured officers during the various protests.  The strikes around the complex were so good that the President was moved into the bunker.
But Lafayette Park became the rallying cry against the use of National Guard personnel and tools like tear gas and pepper chunks. Following Lafayette Park, Mayor Bowser announced”in case you are like me, you saw something which you hoped you’d never find in the USA of America.”  Democratic leaders and the press denounced the use of the protector and tear gas as comparable to military rule.  The New York Times even apologized for publishing a column of Sen. Tom Cotton encouraging the use of National Guard (and effectively fired the editor who accepted the pillar ).
Both the media and members are heavily invested in the Lafayette Park narrative. It would be embarrassing to mention that the Congress must have ordered the exact identical growth of a fenced perimeter and protect installation before the protests — let alone the use of non-lethal devices like pepper balls.
The issue is whether that narrative influenced the limitations put on the Capitol Police. It was just after losing control of Congress that a full setup of fencing, riot resources, along with the National Guard has been permitted. It then stayed up for months at a massive daily cost. It was the ultimate illustration of locking the barn door after the horse had bolted. But in Washington, it is not really about horse or the barn. It is about who gets the attribute.