Probe of Deadly Jan. 6 Attack Turns to Capitol Police Inspector General

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
National Guard troops keep watch at the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 4. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Congress’s probe into security failures that allowed the deadly January assault on the Capitol by rioters turns on Thursday to the inspector general of the police department charged with securing the seat of American democracy.

The House of Representatives Administration Committee will hear testimony from Michael Bolton, the U.S. Capitol Police inspector general leading the investigation into the department’s preparation for and response to the Jan. 6 violence.

Those internal probes recommended that the Capitol Police immediately improve its intelligence operations and beef up the readiness of a unit that handles civil disturbances.

Trump and some of his fellow Republicans have tried to downplay the attack, when hundreds of his supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt Congress’s certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.

Five people including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died in the violence and many more officers suffered injuries. Lawmakers were forced to huddle in secure rooms while law enforcement battled the rioters.

Nonetheless, some congressional Republicans have sought to downplay the violence. Republican Senator Ron Johnson has expressed doubts that Trump supporters were behind the riot and a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that only three in 10 Republicans said Trump bears some responsibility for the attack.

A summary of Bolton’s report to Congress found the Capitol Police Civil Disturbance Unit was operating on Jan. 6 “at a decreased level of readiness” and that the department needed to improve its management of weapons, ammunition and riot shields.

The violence shook lawmakers, aides and the large support workforce.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, speaking on the Senate floor following the attack, said, “I have never lived through or even imagined an experience like the one we have just witnessed in this Capitol.”