A House Republican who’s conducting his own investigation into the Jan. 6th riot appears to believe that the U.S. Capitol Police purposefully refused to call in the National Guard because they “wanted” the riot to happen.
“I think the Capitol Police didn’t have the National Guard here because maybe they just wanted it to happen,” Texas Rep. Troy Nehls told CNN’s Melanie Zanona.
He posited this remarkable theory after interviewing House Sergeant at Arms William J. Walker, who told him that the riot may have not even occurred had the U.S. Capitol Police simply called in the National Guard for assistance.
“He asked Walker whether 1/6 would have occurred if the National Guard had been called beforehand. Nehls said Walker responded: ‘No, it would have never happened,'” Zanona reported via Twitter early Wednesday evening.
Nehls is conducting his own probe into Jan 6 security failures & said he interviewed House Sergeant at Arms Walker.
He asked Walker whether 1/6 would have occurred if the National Guard had been called beforehand. Nehls said Walker responded: “No, it would have never happened.” https://t.co/XbxAiktS3V
— Melanie Zanona (@MZanona) June 8, 2022
Some of the evidence backs Nehls’ theory.
“[T]he National Guard only shows up to D.C. when they’ve been invited, and the Capitol Police did not extend that invitation until after the breach, according to a source with knowledge of the process, who was not authorized to speak about it on the record,” the Military Times reported in the days after the riot.
“The Defense Department was in contact with Capital Police ahead of Tuesday and Wednesday’s protests, Kenneth Rapuano, the assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, told reporters during a press call on Thursday. They asserted that they would not be requesting National Guard support, he said.”
However, former U.S. Capitol Police chief Steven Sund, who was in charge on the day of the riot, told an entirely different story in a post-riot interview.
“Sund says he requested assistance six times ahead of and during the attack on the Capitol. Each of those requests was denied or delayed, he says,” NPR reported on Jan 11th, 2021.
“Sund [said] that House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving was concerned with the ‘optics’ of declaring an emergency ahead of the protests and rejected a National Guard presence. He says Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger recommended that he informally request the Guard to be ready in case it was needed to maintain security.”
I just spoke with now former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund. In his first on-camera interview since Wednesday’s Capitol attack, Sund said he asked House and Senate security officials permission to call in the National Guard two days prior and was denied. @fox5dc
— Natalie Rubino (@newswithnatalie) January 11, 2021
Sund said he then asked 5 more times for the National Guard during Wednesday’s siege and was repeatedly denied until they arrived at 5:40pm several hours after the attack begun. @fox5dc
— Natalie Rubino (@newswithnatalie) January 11, 2021
“Sund says during a conference call with several law enforcement officials at about 2:26 p.m., he asked the Pentagon to provide backup. Senior Army official Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, director of the Army Staff, said on the call he couldn’t recommend that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy authorize deployment,” NPR’s report continues.
“I don’t like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background,” Piatt allegedly said.
Walker, who at the time of the riot was serving as the commanding general of D.C.’s National Guard, testified similarly to Congress in March of 2021.
Gen. Walker just testified that Gen. Charles Flynn and Gen. Piatt were the ones worried about “optics.”
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) March 3, 2021
Yet when Piatt testified before Congress three months later, he himself told an entirely different story.
“It has been stated that I used the term ‘optics’ in regard to having Soldiers respond to breach of the Capitol. I do not recall using this term on the 2:32 phone call on January 6,” he testified on June 15th, 2021, as reported by NBC News.
“I respect and understand that others may recall things differently, but ultimately, on that day, my chief concern was ensuring the Army was able to effectively assist D.C. and federal authorities in regaining control of the U.S. Capitol.”
Gen. Charles Flynn, who was reportedly also on the call, testified similarly.
“I did not use the word ‘optics,’ nor did I hear the word used during the call on Jan. 6, 2021, in response to any requests for support or during the planning and execution of that support,” he said.
“I also never heard LTG Piatt or any other Army senior leader use that word that day. My duty that day was to facilitate the planning and execution of (Army) Secretary (Ryan) McCarthy’s decisions and guidance.”
So which side is telling the truth? That, apparently, is for Nehls to decipher, though answers may also be forthcoming in the Democrats’ upcoming Jan. 6th committee hearings that are scheduled to commence late Thursday.
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