Gov’t Watchdogs To Investigate Capitol Police, Potential Congressional Role In Attack

WASHINGTON DC, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES - 2021/01/06: Police use tear gas around Capitol building where pro-Trump supporters riot and breached the Capitol. Rioters broke windows and breached the Capitol building in an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election. Police used batons and tear gas grenades to eventually disperse the crowd. Rioters used metal bars and tear gas as well against the police. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON DC, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES - 2021/01/06: Police use tear gas around Capitol building where pro-Trump supporters riot and breached the Capitol. Rioters broke windows and breached the Capitol bu... WASHINGTON DC, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES - 2021/01/06: Police use tear gas around Capitol building where pro-Trump supporters riot and breached the Capitol. Rioters broke windows and breached the Capitol building in an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election. Police used batons and tear gas grenades to eventually disperse the crowd. Rioters used metal bars and tear gas as well against the police. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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January 13, 2021 3:26 p.m.

Two federal watchdogs are opening investigations into last week’s breach of the Capitol — including one looking at the potential involvement of Republican legislators. The New York Times reported the probes Wednesday.

The Government Accountability Office, the nonpartisan congressional body, has indicated it will investigate whether members of Congress played any role in inciting the rioters that attacked the Capitol last week, Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) told the Times. 

Crow, who requested the investigation, said on MSNBC Monday morning that “it’s been shown that folks that were given tours of the Capitol were involved in the assault,” but he declined to get into specifics, citing a potential investigation. 

“To the extent there were members of the House that were complicit, and I believe there were, we will pursue appropriate remedies including expulsion and a prohibitions from holding elective office for the rest of their lives,” Crow told the Times.

“They will of course be subject to criminal investigation and prosecution if that’s what the facts of the investigation show.”

A GAO spokesperson, Chuck Young, confirmed a request “from the Hill that covers many aspects of the attack on the Capitol.” But Young told TPM that the request still needs to go through GAO’s formal review process.

The inspector general of the Capitol Police will also investigate the security breaches of the building, the Times said, citing an unnamed congressional aide with knowledge of the probe.

The investigations come after multiple Democratic members of Congress accused GOP lawmakers of abetting the insurrection. It also follows reporting that the Capitol Police have suspended three officers and are investigating 17 others for their actions on Jan. 6. 

On Tuesday, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) said without offering specifics that some members of Congress had hosted people on tours of the Capitol building on Jan. 5, the day before the insurrection, calling it “reconnaissance for the next day.” 

Sherrill said in a Wednesday letter that the tours were “so concerning that they were reported to the Sergeant at arms on January 5.” 

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), who chairs a subcommittee with oversight authority over the Capitol Police, told the Times that he had also heard about the pre-insurrection tours, as did Rep. Crow.  

In addition to investigating the rhetoric of members of Congress, Crow asked for a probe into “efforts by government and/or elected officials to limit preparation, coordination, or response, particularly regarding the use of force and arrests,” the Times reported.

This post has been updated.

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