Capitol security officials failed to inform House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ahead of last week’s attack that the Capitol Police had warned they might need reinforcement from the National Guard, according to a report from The New York Times.
The police request, made to the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms and calling for the National Guard be put on standby, arrived as intelligence revealed Trump supporters were planning to target the Capitol on Jan. 6, a congressional official told the Times.
But the sergeants-at-arms, Michael Stenger of the Senate and Paul Irving of the House, who have since resigned, rejected the request without raising the issue with either McConnell or Pelosi, the aide and another person familiar with the matter told the publication.
Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, and a person close to McConnell told the Times that the leaders had not been informed of any request for the National Guard before Jan. 6.
The development is particularly significant as the sergeants-at-arms would likely have needed to ask both leaders whether or not to approve the request.
The sergeants-at-arms and the chief of the Capitol Police had reassured lawmakers ahead of the joint congressional meeting that was disrupted by rioters last week that security was prepared for the day’s events.
Former Capitol Police chief Steven Sund previously told the Washington Post that Irving has been opposed to putting the National Guard on standby over concerns about the “optics” of an effort that involved their presence.
Sund, who also resigned in the aftermath of the attack, said that the Senate sergeant-at-arms had told him to informally reach out to the National Guard.
Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) who was briefed on the security matter by Army secretary Ryan McCarthy also told the publication that the Defense Department’s additional attempts to bolster security with National Guard support were rebuffed as both the Metropolitan Police and the Capitol Police said no additional resources were needed.