New details about January 6 riot reveal need for full-scale investigation

New information in media reports shows that Trump’s January 6 fascistic insurrection had high level support from within the Republican Party and critical sections of the police and military-intelligence apparatus. These revelations raise the need for a full-scale investigation into the plot to overthrow the Constitution and all those involved in it.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that in the days before the riot, congressional staff implored the US Capitol police to take seriously the clear signs that a coup attempt was being prepared, demanding greater protection for the scheduled Electoral College certification. Staff were “asking for briefings” and were desperate for information about the threat of violence, but Capitol police refused to provide any substantive response, the Post reported.

An NBC report also confirmed the overrunning of police barriers was not due to a mistake or lack of information. The FBI and New York City Police Department provided Capitol police with ample intelligence “about the possibility of violence during the Jan. 6 protest,” NBC reported, citing leaks from a senior law enforcement official. NBC noted that these “previously unreported details undercut the assertion by a top FBI official this week that officials had no indication violence was a possibility and add to questions of what intelligence authorities had reviewed prior to the Capitol riot.”

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Additional reports indicate that during the assault, when officials and staff were huddled in offices hiding from the mob, Capitol police leadership refused to take phone calls from Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who as chair of the House Administration Committee has oversight of the day-to-day operations of the Capitol, lied to her about the deployment of National Guard troops, and then hung up the phone on Congresswoman Maxine Waters when she requested help.

Critical support for the coup attempt also came from within the Pentagon, which Trump packed with loyalists in the aftermath of the November 3 election.

During the siege, Democratic leaders called Maryland Governor Larry Hogan from their bunker and begged for National Guard support. Hogan said his state guard was prepared to deploy to evacuate them, but the Pentagon refused multiple requests to allow them into the District. In a Sunday CNN interview, Hogan said: “All I know is that we were trying to get answers and we weren’t getting answers.”

In addition, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam revealed yesterday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called him on Wednesday and also pleaded for help. Northam quoted Pelosi’s words: “Ralph, there’s glass being broken around me. I’ve heard there’s been gunfire. We’re just very, very concerned right now.”

These are not the only signs of involvement from sections of the Pentagon. In the days before January 6, the Pentagon had disarmed the Washington D.C. National Guard and refused Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s request to arm and prepare them. An official Pentagon document reviewing the lead-up to the events of January 6 refers to the riot as “the January 6, 2021 First Amendment Protests in Washington DC.”

The Pentagon also blocked the deployment of a “quick reaction force,” which is stationed at Maryland’s Joint Base Andrews and is kept on reserve for precisely this type of situation. The Pentagon claimed the unit did not deploy due to insufficient planning, an obvious lie.

According to the Washington Post report, an aide to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—apparently acting without the authority of his employer and circumventing the official chain of command—called a personal friend who worked at the FBI and informed him of the situation. As a result, the friend “dispatched the first of three tactical teams, including one from the FBI Washington field office to secure the safety of US senators and provide whatever aid they could.”

Retired Brigadier General Thomas Kolditz spoke to Fortune magazine about the ongoing danger from within the military. Kolditz, a West Point professor who leads a Yale University think tank, referred to military officers who believed January 6 “was a good thing”:

We’re not talking about half a dozen people. We’re probably talking about thousands across the Department of Defense. Many of them will have already run their mouth, put things on social media. But this was an insurgency, a crime against the state. And it’s a duty obligation of the defense leadership to make sure that there are no, essentially, sleeper cells, people in the military who, for whatever reason, think an insurgency is a good idea or justifiable.

In addition, there is increasing evidence that Republican members of Congress and their staff were implicated in the coup attempt. Colorado Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert was live-tweeting Pelosi’s physical location to the mob during the storming of the Capitol. Boebert, a fascist QAnon supporter, tweeted “Today is 1776” at 7:30 a.m. At 2:18 p.m., as Pelosi was being evacuated, she tweeted, “The Speaker has been removed from the chambers.”

Democratic Majority Whip James Clyburn told CBS yesterday he believed Republicans had provided the mob with maps of the Congress and let rioters into the building:

I do believe that something was going on. They knew where to go. I’ve been told … by some other Congress people that their staff are saying that they saw people being allowed into the building through side doors. Who opened those side doors for these protesters, or I call them these mobsters, to come into the building, not through the main entrance where magnetometers are but through side doors? Yes, somebody on the inside of those buildings were complicit in this.

These facts make clear the need for an investigation into the forces behind Trump’s attempted coup. But as the evidence mounts that the Republican Party and the military-intelligence apparatus were involved in the plot, the Democratic Party becomes more vocal in its opposition to any real investigation and more desperate for “unity” with the Republican conspirators.

On January 8, President-elect Joe Biden stated his opposition to expelling the Republican coup plotters from Congress and instead pledged his desire to work with his “Republican colleagues” and ensure a “strong” Republican Party.

Instead of carrying out an investigation, the Democrats have announced they will initiate impeachment proceedings. This is a purely symbolic move that will not result in Trump’s removal before his term ends on January 20. Top Democrats indicated over the weekend that even if the House votes for impeachment this week, the charges will not be passed over to the Senate for at least 100 days into a Biden administration. It is a deliberate attempt to provide political cover to the Republican conspirators and to paper over the political implications of the January 6 coup attempt.

The warning must be made: Just as the failure to investigate the October plot to kidnap and kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer paved the way for the January 6 plot, the failure to investigate this attempt will only facilitate future conspiracies. History is full of examples of fascist movements bungling their first efforts only to come to power some time later.

The Democratic Party will soon control both chambers of Congress. Its committees will have the power to issue subpoenas. It can call those involved in the plot to testify and require that they divulge their letters, emails, text messages and other forms of correspondence to the public.

Congress is constitutionally required to investigate and expose plots to subvert the Constitution and the democratic rights of the people. Failing to investigate would therefore be an unlawful violation of its Article One responsibilities and an abrogation of the separation of powers.

The ultimate aim of the plotters is not yet known. It appears that those involved in the plot planned to kidnap members of Congress, as evidenced by the statements of many participants and the presence of militia members with zip ties on the Senate floor. It is possible that the plan involved the use of the lives of kidnapped members of Congress—perhaps including Speaker Pelosi herself—as bargaining chips to secure the delay of the inauguration or to win other concessions.

It is now necessary to uncover the political aims, connections and associations of those involved in this plot. This can be done only through a full-scale public investigation into the plot directors and their Republican accomplices. Such an investigation must give civil rights organizations and representatives of the public the opportunity to pose questions and call witnesses to explain what took place. This is necessary to shed daylight on the conspiracy and expose its contents to the population of the world.