Legal watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed a federal lawsuit seeking video, emails, and other materials pertinent to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building as the group seeks to uncover why security was not heightened despite warnings.
Specifically, the conservative group is interested in learning what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is in charge of Capitol security, may have known about preexisting threats beforehand.
In a statement, Judicial Watch also noted that it had requested the materials Jan. 21, but that Capitol Police “refused to provide any records” to the organization. The department said the requested materials are not “public records.”
“The public has a right to know about how Congress handled security and what all the videos show of the US Capitol riot. What are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer trying to hide from the American people?” Tom Fitton, the organization’s long-serving president, said in a statement.
Judicial Watch is seeking email communications regarding security arrangements that may have been discussed prior to Jan. 6 between the Capitol Police executive team and the department’s police board.
Also, the group wants emails between the Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department, and the FBI, as well as security camera footage from that day between 12 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Judicial Watch announced that it filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Capitol Police seeking for emails and videos concerning the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. READ HERE: https://t.co/9eGgqDxluz pic.twitter.com/eCluc1mh1u
— Judicial Watch ⚖️ (@JudicialWatch) February 17, 2021
The former House and Senate sergeants-at-arms, Paul Irving and Michael Stenger, respectively, are scheduled to provide testimony next week before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, along with former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund. They are expected to be questioned about pre-planning for Jan. 6, including what intelligence they had regarding potential threats and what preparations were to meet any potential threats.
Federal investigators have determined that the assault on the Capitol was planned weeks in advance on social media. According to a dozen FBI affidavits, some rioters conducted surveillance of the Capitol, engaged in specific training, requested cash for the purchase of communications and gear, and also identified scene commanders.
“More than a half dozen of the suspects are now charged with conspiracy to commit violence for actions predating the Jan. 6 riots,” Just the News’ John Solomon reported. “The early actions identified in court documents date back to November, with planning and rhetoric accelerating after Christmas, court records show.”
Like Judicial Watch, some Republicans have also suggested that Pelosi may have been negligent in her duty to ensure the Capitol Complex was more secure.
“I understand what happened on January the 6th was one of the low points in my time in office,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo last month.
“It was horrendous to see these people take over the Capitol, the House, and the Senate, beat officers, defile the seat of government, how in the hell could that happen? Where was Nancy Pelosi, it was her job to provide Capitol security? We will get to the bottom of that,” he added.
“Ultimately, she’s responsible, OK, whether or not her staff or her sergeant of arms, you know, she’s the mayor of the capitol. It’s a big responsibility,” House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told the Just the News podcast earlier this month.
He went on to reference reports indicating Capitol Police requested additional support ahead of Jan. 6, the date a joint session of Congress met to count electoral ballots and at least 100,000 people descended on Washington, D.C., to hear then-President Trump speak.
National Guard troops and fencing around the Capitol were among the support reportedly requested, Nunes said, but they were turned down by the Capitol Police Board.
“If you go back in time, somebody would say she (Pelosi) ought to be coming out and be pushed on these questions. Who in your office knew? And when did they know it? Did you know it?” Nunes added.
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