The joint hearing before the Rules Committee and the Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee began with an account from Carneysha C. Mendoza, a Capitol Police captain and army veteran. She recalled the horrifying incidents that took place right before her eyes and spoke of the chemical burns that are still affecting her.
Senior officials were also asked to testify and this was when the blame game began. Poor intelligence and a slow response from the federal government were cited by the officers in charge of Capitol security.
Former Capitol police Chief Steven Sund blamed the two former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Mike Stenger for the poor and slow response and also mentioned that Irving was concerned about the optics and didn’t feel the intelligence supported the need for the National Guard.
Irvine retaliated saying he didn’t speak to Sund at that time, nor had he mentioned “optics.” He said that it was a collective decision, based on intelligence reports, not to have troops at the Capitol.
Robert Contee, acting chief of Washington DC police, said that he and Sund asked for the National Guard for help after the Capitol was breached and was shocked by the Army’s reluctance to send the National Guard to the iconic building.
The hearing on Tuesday is the first one and there will be a series of them as the investigations continue. Representatives from law enforcement agencies and from federal agencies will also testify.
On Thursday, two current officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman and acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett will testify virtually at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have also been conducting interviews. A senator on the committee said that closed-door interviews were conducted with Sund and Pittman. The interviews are conducted to inform members’ questions.
Image Credit Twitter Mike Pence