A Senate investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol found a broad intelligence breakdown across multiple agencies, along with widespread law enforcement and military failures that led to the violent attack.
Watch Psaki’s remarks in the player above.
There were clear warnings and tips that supporters of former President Donald Trump, including right-wing extremist groups, were planning to storm the Capitol with weapons and possibly infiltrate the tunnel system underneath the building. But that intelligence never made it up to top leadership.
The result was chaos. A Senate report released Tuesday details how officers on the front lines suffered chemical burns, brain injuries and broken bones, among other injuries, after fighting the attackers, who quickly overwhelmed them and broke into the building. Officers told the Senate investigators they were left with no leadership or direction when command systems broke down.
The Senate report is the first — and could be the last — bipartisan review of how hundreds of Trump supporters were able to push violently past security lines and break into the Capitol that day, interrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
Mike Balsamo, a reporter for the Associated Press, said the report recommends immediate changes to give the Capitol Police chief more authority, to provide better planning and equipment for law enforcement and to streamline intelligence gathering among federal agencies.
“And what we’ve learned since the insurrection is that the Capitol Police chief was trying to get that approval, frantically calling other members of the Capitol Police Board, the House and Senate Sergeants-at-Arms, the Architect of Capitol, trying to get that approval,” Balsamo said. “And then those calls kind of being unanswered, and this delay. And by the time they do actually reach the Pentagon, there’s additional delays on the side of the military in trying to mobilize to decide what the operational plan will be and to get those U.S. National Guard troops to the Capitol itself.”
As a bipartisan effort, the report does not delve into the root causes of the attack, including Trump’s role as he called for his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat that day. It does not call the attack an insurrection, even though it was.
Balsamo said it comes two weeks after Republicans blocked a bipartisan, independent commission that would investigate the insurrection more broadly.
“The Senate failed to get the 60 votes that would be needed to advance that, with a lot of Republicans basically pointing to this report as being sufficient,” Balsamo said. “It doesn’t really go into the details of what happened before all of these rioters descended on the Capitol itself. The event at the Ellipse where the (Trump) spoke and, you know, kind of encouraged his supporters to walk down to the Capitol. It doesn’t address any of those things. So that is the push for Democrats of why they believe that a 9/11 style commission is necessary to both look at, again, the security failures, kind of massive failures at every level of government here, but also to look at the root cause of what happened.”
In a response to the report, the Capitol Police acknowledged the need for improvements and said some are already being made.