A Senate investigation into the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol found widespread intelligence and law enforcement failures by multiple agencies that led to an “unprecedented attack” on Congress and the democratic process. The report by two Senate committees said Capitol Police received intelligence about the potential for an attack on the building by supporters of former President Donald Trump and right-wing extremists but failed to communicate that properly. Officers lacked the training to prevent the mob from breaching the building, it said.
The first bipartisan review of the attack on the Capitol provides fresh details about the multiple lapse by federal agencies and the trauma suffered by officers on the front line. But it doesn’t address the 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 as Congress was certifying the Electoral College results from the presidential election.
Many Republicans have argued that the report, along with ongoing FBI investigations and the prosecutions of those who allegedly took part in the riot, negates any need for an independent, outside commission that would also investigate the causes. A proposal to create such a commission was blocked by Republicans in the Senate last month.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Democratic-controlled House, which had previously passed the commission bill, would continue “to seek and find the truth of the assault on the Capitol, our Congress and our democracy.” Pelosi and other House leaders have told Democrats there are several alternatives to such an outside, independent commission if the Senate does not act.
Those include creation of a special, select House committee and separate investigations by various House committees with jurisdiction over issues related to the attack. Another is the designation of an existing committee — such as the Committee on Homeland Security — to conduct an in-depth review. All those run the risk of being attacked by Republicans as partisan, which likely would dilute the impact of any findings.
The Senate report also faulted the training of Capitol Police officers who were unable to prevent the mob from breaching the building and blamed bureaucratic delays for a failure to quickly call in the National Guard.
The Senate report 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.