WASHINGTON — Even as federal authorities are warning about new threats of political violence, Congress is beginning reviews of what went wrong with Capitol security when a pro-Trump mob stormed the building last week.
What You Need To Know
- Capitol Police confirmed to Spectrum News that it is investigating whether members of Congress inappropriately gave tours ahead of the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday that the House has hired retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to lead an immediate review of security at the U.S. Capitol
- Honoré served 37 years in the Army and is best known for his role as commander of the Hurricane Katrina joint task force
- Pelosi did not directly answer a question about when the House would submit the article of impeachment to the Senate
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Friday that the House has hired retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to lead “an immediate review of security infrastructure, interagency processes, and command and control.”
“We must subject this whole complex, though, to scrutiny in light of what happened and the fact that the inauguration is coming,” Pelosi said.
Honoré, 73, will issue recommendations for how to keep those who work at the Capitol safe, Pelosi said.
Honoré served 37 years in the Army and is best known for his role as commander of the Hurricane Katrina joint task force in New Orleans in 2005. Pelosi noted that he has experience providing military support to civilian authorities and with security in the nation’s capital region.
“The general is a respected leader with experience dealing with crises,” the speaker said.
The Jan. 6 riot resulted in five deaths, including of a Capitol police officer, and dozens of people hospitalized. Members of Congress, who had convened to vote on certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College, had to be evacuated to a secure location after people loyal to President Donald Trump breached the building.
The chaos immediately followed a speech by President Donald Trump in which he repeated false claims about election fraud and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. On Wednesday, the House impeached Trump for inciting the insurrection.
On Friday, Pelosi did not directly answer a question about when the House would submit the article of impeachment to the Senate. She, however, said Democratic managers are preparing for the upcoming trial.
Pelosi said other reviews of the assault on the Capitol are underway. She said congressional committees are moving forward with oversight and said there is “strong interest” in a 9/11-type outside commission to conduct a review.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, meanwhile, announced Friday that his office is launching a review of the department’s preparation for the protests and response to the assault on the Capitol.
The speaker also said that if an investigation finds that any Republican members of Congress were accomplices in the insurrection, they could face criminal charges.
This week, Democratic Reps. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey said she witnessed Republican members of Congress leading groups of visitors through the Capitol the day before the siege. Sherrill described it as “reconnaissance.”
On Wednesday, 34 House Democrats, including Sherrill, sent a letter to the acting House sergeant-at-arms, acting Senate sergeant-at-arms and United States Capitol Police to investigate “suspicious behavior” related to the tours.
On Friday, Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki confirmed to Spectrum News that the matter is under investigation.
“In order to serve here together, we must trust that people have respect for their oath of office, respect for this institution,” Pelosi said. “If, in fact, it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection — if they aided and abetted the crimes — there may have to be action taken beyond the Congress in terms of prosecution for that.”