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GOP lawmakers press Pelosi for answers about Jan. 6 Capitol breach

The four legislators told the House Speaker that "many important questions about your responsibility for the security of the Capitol remain unanswered."

Published: February 15, 2021 3:55pm

Updated: February 15, 2021 11:41pm

Several congressional Republicans sent a letter Monday pressing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for answers about issues related to the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol building.

In the letter to Pelosi, Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rodney Davis of Illinois, James Comer of Kentucky and Devin Nunes of California, say that "many important questions about your responsibility for the security of the Capitol remain unanswered" more than a month since the episode transpired.

"When then-Chief Sund made a request for national guard support on January 4th, why was that request denied?" the lawmakers asked Rep. Pelosi, a California Democrat. "Did Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving get permission or instruction from your staff on January 4th prior to denying Chief Sund's request for the national guard?"

Among the other questions posed by the GOP congressmen, they asked, "What conversations and what guidance did you and your staff give the Sergeant at Arms leading up to January 6th specific to the security posture of the campus?"

According to Fox News, Pelosi's office said, "It is the job of the Capitol Police Board, on which these three individuals sat, to properly plan and prepare for security threats facing the U.S. Capitol."

"It has been reported that the House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving has said that he did not present to House leadership any request for the National Guard before Jan. 6," the congresswoman's deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill said.

Sund wrote in a letter to Pelosi dated Feb. 1 that he had spoken to the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms to ask for National Guard assistance.

"I first spoke with the House Sergeant at Arms to request the National Guard," Sund wrote. "Mr. Irving stated that he was concerned about the 'optics' and didn't feel that the intelligence supported it. He referred me to the Senate Sergeant at Arms (who is currently the Chair of the CPB) to get his thoughts on the request. I then spoke to [Michael] Stenger and again requested the National Guard. Instead of approving the use of the National Guard, however, Mr. Stenger suggested I ask them how quickly we could get support if needed and to 'lean forward' in case we had to request assistance on January 6."

As a result of the riot, Stenger, Irving and Sund have all resigned from the positions they occupied on Jan. 6.

The letter from the four GOP legislators raised concerns about accessing information, stating that "we are very concerned by the obstruction and inability to procure and preserve information from your House Officers when requested."

"Preservation and production requests were sent to the SAA and the House Chief Administrative Officer, among other legislative agencies, requesting that such relevant information concerning the attack on the Capitol ... be preserved and produced to the relevant committees," they wrote. "In multiple cases, your appointees, acting on your behalf, have denied requests to produce this information ...

"Even more troubling is despite your House Officers refusal to comply with the request we have recently learned that some of the same material we requested was provided to the House Judiciary Committee on a partisan basis. This is unacceptable. Madam Speaker, that direction could only have come from you."

Hammill said that the Speaker of the House is focused on uncovering the issues surrounding the Jan. 6 episode.

"As the target of an assassination attempt, the Speaker knows all too well the importance of security at the Capitol and is focused on getting to the bottom of all issues facing the Capitol Complex and the events that led up to the insurrection," Hammill said, according to Fox News.

Meanwhile, even as the speaker evades questions about her own role in the security lapses on Jan. 6, she is planning to impanel a new 9/11-style commission to further investigate the the breach of the Capitol Building by a disruptive mob.

"We must get to the truth of how this happened," Pelosi said in a statement issued Monday. "To protect our security, our next step will be to establish an outside, independent 9/11-type Commission to investigate and report on the facts and causes."

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