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Ten revelations that changed Americans' understanding of events on Jan. 6

These Jan. 6 story developments show that there are still unanswered questions about the riot itself, law enforcement response, and the investigations in the aftermath.

Published: December 12, 2023 11:00pm

Updated: December 13, 2023 1:42pm

Videotape of a Capitol door being mistakenly unlocked. Photos of gallows being set up outside without any police interference. Officers exhorting protesters to storm the Capitol. Intelligence warnings of potential violence that went unheeded. Major changes to testimony.

A year after the Democrat-led House Select Committee on Jan. 6 ended its work, major new revelations have emerged from House Republicans led by Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., about how the Capitol riot unfolded that fateful day and the security failures that occurred in the days and hours ahead of the violence.

Loudermilk, the chairman of the House Administration Committee's Oversight Subcommittee, picked up the Jan. 6 probe in January when Republicans took over. And with the blessings of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his successor Mike Johnson, Loudermilk has released explosive new evidence ranging from videotapes to internal security memos.

The new information – chronicled by Just the News in more than two dozen stories – markedly changes the public's understanding of what happened on Jan. 6 and in the days that led up to it. And new information is flowing out almost weekly.

Here are 10 major revelations so far that have burst into the public in recent months.

Key Democratic witness changed her story

In late November, Just the News reported that one of the Democrats’ key witnesses in the Jan. 6 hearings submitted changes to her original, closed-door testimony before Jan. 6 Select Committee.

Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, revised her original February 2022 testimony before the committee using what are called errata sheets. The document, reviewed by Just the News, was uncovered by Loudermilk’s investigation and shows that Hutchinson made significant, substantive changes to her original testimony.

For example, Hutchinson updated the infamous story about the "Beast," the presidential limousine, which purportedly involved an incident in which President Trump was said to have lunged at the driver in anger after his request to be driven to the Capitol was refused. This is the version of the story that Hutchinson told former Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., at a public hearing in June 2022. It has been roundly disputed by Trump and other witnesses, including Secret Service personnel. This story was not in her original February testimony.

Hutchinson claimed that Stefan Passantino, her first lawyer, had pressured her to stay “loyal” to Trump in her testimony and that is why she changed her story. In her subsequent testimonies to the January 6 committee, Hutchinson contented that Passantino had coached her before her first interview. Passantino disputed Hutchinson’s characterization of his legal representation and filed a lawsuit against the House of Representatives for damages to his business and to his reputation.

Metro D.C. officer caught on videotape claiming “we go undercover as Antifa”

In November, Just the News obtained new footage from an undercover Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer as he worked behind police lines on Jan. 6. The footage was recently turned over to Loudermilk’s committee.

The video shows the officer giving water to his fellow police officers who were suffering from the effects of tear gas which the Capitol Police had deployed against the pro-Trump protestors.

While helping his fellow officer, the plainclothes, undercover officer told his colleague that “we go undercover as Antifa in a crowd.”

House GOP investigating coordination between J6 committee and Fani Willis

Last week, two House GOP chairman launched an investigation into potential collusion between Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and the Democrats' Jan. 6 select committee after uncovering evidence the prosecutor pursuing criminal charges against Donald Trump asked for evidence from Congress, Just the News reported.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and Loudermilk discovered a letter that Willis wrote to former Chairman of the January 6 Select Committee Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., requesting access to “records and transcripts of witness interviews and depositions, electronic and print records of communications, and records of travel.”

In a letter to Willis, Jordan expressed the concerns that he and Loudermilk share over Willis’ apparent cooperation with the January 6 Select Committee, including over the committee’s alleged “track record of procedural abuses and due process violations.” The congressmen also alleged that the select committee “fabricated and publicly released doctored evidence,” according to the letter.

“To the extent that your politically motivated prosecutions are now relying in any way on records obtained from the partisan January 6 Select Committee, it only reinforces concerns about your commitment to due process and whether you have fulfilled your obligations to properly disclose this material,” Jordan continued.

Government Accountability Office concludes intelligence failures

In February this year, the non-partisan investigative arm of Congress concluded that the Capitol Police, the FBI, and eight other federal agencies had gathered intelligence that certain extremists were planning to commit violence at the Capitol on January 6, but that they failed to adapt security protocols and get threat assessments to key decision-makers.

"Some agencies did not fully process information or share it, preventing critical information from reaching key federal entities responsible for securing the National Capital Region against threats," the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded in the February report.

GAO reserved its harshest criticism for the Capitol Police, which is the lead agency in charge of security at the Capitol complex, according to Just the News’ previous reporting. “Capitol Police did not share threat products with its frontline officers," the watchdog concluded, imploring Congress to press those agencies to change failed practices and procedures to avoid a repeat tragedy.

Secret Service missteps put Kamala Harris within yards of a bomb

In July, Just the News reported on two missteps by the Secret Service surrounding Jan. 6: the deletion of Jan. 6-related text messages and the Secret Service’s decision to bring Vice President-elect Kamala Harris within yards of where a pipe bomb was found.

In a letter to two congressional committees last year, the Department of Homeland Security inspector general said that the U.S. Secret Service had informed his office that “many… text messages, from January 5 and 6, 2021, were erased as part of a device-replacement program.”

Most importantly, “The USSS erased those text messages after OIG requested records of electronic communications from the USSS, as part of our evaluation of events at the Capitol,” the letter continued. The Secret Service denied that there was any “malicious" intent behind the deletion, but that it was part of a scheduled “technology system change.”

The same month, Just the News reported that security footage from the Capitol complex shows that the Secret Service brought Vice President-elect Kamala Harris into a garage at the Democratic National Committee on Jan. 6, just yards away from where a pipe bomb was planted the night before by an unidentified subject, who has yet to be found by law enforcement.

Loudermilk said that this was troubling. He told the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show at the time that the committee knows there was “actionable intelligence that there was going to be an attack on the Capitol.” He said that he believes the Secret Service had access to this information, so he asked: “So, why did they not catch a pipe bomb?”

Capitol door left unlocked, unguarded

This summer, Just the News obtained footage showing a door on the west side of the U.S. Capitol was left open and unguarded, allowing more than 300 protesters to enter the building during the height of the riot.

The footage shows that the door was unlocked after Capitol Police directed a small number of intruders already in the building towards an emergency door, marked by a sign. After a few of the intruders exit the doors, they remain unlocked, permitting hundreds of protestors to enter the building unchecked with no police presence at the entryway.

After Capitol Police arrived at the doors, they did not block the entryway and rioters continued to flow unimpeded into the building, even as police elsewhere attempted to hold out the mass of protesters.

According to Just the News’ reporting this summer, current and former Capitol Police officers as well as congressional aides briefed on security said the video footage shows a powerful lesson to be learned, since it did not involve a forced breach but rather a fateful decision to move a few intruders through the emergency doors.

Some videotape evidence has gone missing

Recently, the congressman leading the House Republican investigation into Jan. 6 told Just the News that tapes of the interviews of key witnesses were not preserved by the Jan. 6 Select Committee, instituted by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi to investigate the riot on that day.

“I wrote a letter to Bennie Thompson asking for them and he confirmed that they did not preserve those tapes. He didn’t feel that they had to,” Rep. Loudermilk, whose subcommittee is investigating the January 6 response and the Democratic committee’s work, told the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show last month. “But according to House rules, you have to preserve any data and any information and documents that are used in an official proceeding.”

Metro Police had plainclothes officers in the crowd, seen exhorting protestors on video

In June, Loudermilk told Just the News that the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department confirmed to Congress that it had plainclothes officers at the Capitol on January 6 and at least one of those officers was caught on video exhorting the crowd.

Loudermilk confirmed that a video leaked to the Rumble video platform was authentic and confirmed that MPD officers were in the crowd. “We know that it is one of their officers and at one point he is encouraging, and it appears he's encouraging, he’s definitely helping people climb the scaffolding, and he's telling them go, go, go,” Loudermilk told the "Just the News, No Noise" television show in June.

You can watch the video here.

Steven Sund warns of politicized security on Capitol Hill

In an interview with Just the News early this year, former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who was in charge during the January 6 riot, claimed that the political bureaucracy under former Speaker Nancy Pelosi hampered his department from planning appropriately and that failures inside his department, in the political leadership in Congress, and across federal law enforcement agencies led to the tragedy.

"A lot of people think okay, I'm the chief,” Sund said. "So I'm at the top of the pyramid as far as security at the Capitol. I'm actually at the bottom ... You've got the Capitol Police Board, and the Capitol Police Board has communications with the House and Senate leadership. So the line of communications between me and leadership would be through the respective sergeant-at-arms.”

Sund explained that he communicated with House and Senate leadership for any intelligence “going up” or “coming down” from or to him. He claimed that this process can be politicized.

Sund described the politicized nature of security at the Capitol in his book, “Courage under Fire,” which he released two years after resigning as chief of the Capitol Police one day after the riot. "I point out in the book how politicized security on Capitol [Hill] is, and that hasn't changed. It's still the same," he said. "You still have way too much politics playing a role in security. All the oversight over the police department is all politically aligned. And anytime you have oversight that reports to a certain political party, it's a recipe for disaster.”

For example, Sund told Just the News that House and Senate leadership were involved in security planning for that day and that when he first requested National Guard troops to be deployed to the Capitol on January 3, he was denied by political leaders because of the optics, despite the Pentagon first offering support to Sund’s department the day prior.

Nancy Pelosi's daughter allowed to accompany, videotape her mother during Capitol evacuation

Capitol Police security footage obtained by Just the News in June shows Pelosi, then-House speaker, exited Hollywood-style from the home of Congress that fateful day with her daughter filming her as security officers tried to guide her through a secret safe passage corridor.

The footage, made available by McCarthy and aired for the first time on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show on Real America's Voice, provides three different angles of Pelosi's evacuation the afternoon of Jan. 6. Each shows her daughter Alexandra roving around her mother's delegation with a camera as they moved briskly through corridors, led by members of the Capitol Police protective detail.

The video shows Pelosi was not in jeopardy after fleeing the breached Capitol chamber, because the footage shows no protesters or rioters penetrated the evacuation route. Capitol Police confirmed to Congress the woman holding the camera in the footage was Alexandra.

Steven Sund, the former Capitol Police chief, who resigned after the Jan. 6 tragedy, said he was deeply concerned that Pelosi's actions that day put an unnecessary strain and created a dangerous distraction for her security detail.

"When you look at the footage, what you need to realize is a protective detail is specifically for the protectee. You're there, you're protecting the protectee," Sund told Just the News. "Now, Capitol Police statutorily do have the authority to protect family members. And it's my understanding the person holding the camera was Pelosi's daughter. But she's there in the position of being media.

"The protective detail isn't there to protect media. And whoever else was there with her for the sole purpose of videotaping creates a major distraction for the protective detail," he added. "You know, they don't train to protect those additional people."

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