A Capitol Police officer instructed “all outside units” on the morning of the joint session of Congress ratifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory to solely zero in on anti-Trump demonstrators “who want to start a fight” rather than any “pro-Trump in the crowd.”
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) described the details of these internal investigation into the deadly Capitol insurrection during a House Administration Committee hearing this week.
An unnamed Capitol Police spokesman defended the alleged instructions to CNN after the hearing Wednesday, saying the radio dispatch that Lofgren referenced occurred around 8 a.m., hours before the breaching of the Capitol. According to CNN, the spokesman said that the communication was intended to instruct officers to also look for clashes between pro-Trump protesters and counterprotesters. The official who issued the comment is not under investigation, the spokesman told CNN.
While questioning Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton about the security failures ahead of the attack, Lofgren pressed Bolton on the findings by the Department Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). Lofgren quoted the department’s internal investigation that reviewed information from a radio transmission directing “all outside units’ attention” to not look for “any pro-Trump in the crowd,” before adding they were “only looking for any anti-Trump.” Lofgren did not identify the officer.
The audio of the broadcast has not yet been publicly released by the Capitol Police or Congress.
Bolton said he had not reviewed the internal reports from the investigation while appearing before the House Administration Committee on Wednesday, but planned to do so once the probe was completed. Several investigations into the conduct of Capitol Police officers on Jan. 6 are ongoing in the OPR.
Politico reported that although a committee aide declined to disclose additional details from the OPR’s investigation, Lofgren’s committee “is recently in receipt of new documents and emails related to the Jan. 6 insurrection, including materials which brought to light these issues the Chair asked the (inspector general).”
“The committee is continuing to review those documents and emails and intends to review the relevant recorded audio when it is available,” the committee aide told Politico.
Bolton also testified during the hearing that he was unsure about which “entity” has oversight over the Capitol Police Board when questioned by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA).
“Actually, sir, I went back and tried to research that just for my own edification — I don’t believe there is any actual oversight of the board,” Bolton said.
After Loudermilk appeared taken aback by Bolton’s comments, Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI) shared a similar reaction to the Capitol Police inspector general’s remarks a few questions later, exclaiming “holy smokes!”
The House Administration Committee hearing highlighted the lingering questions surrounding the security failures on the day of the deadly Capitol insurrection.
Although a more comprehensive report is expected from the joint Senate Rules and Homeland Security committees next month, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have struggled to get a 9/11-style commission going that would investigate the Capitol attack, primarily due to a disagreement on scope.
Democrats want the panel to include in its investigation a review of former President Trump’s bogus claims of a “stolen” election that incited the rioters. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he’d want the commission to also investigate “violent disturbances around the country last year,” a nod to conservatives’ efforts to falsely equate violence that broke out during Black Lives Matter protests to the deadly Jan. 6 attempted-coup.