Four House Republicans sent a letter to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday, suggesting she may have been involved in delaying the deployment of National Guard troops both before and during the Capitol siege, a claim the House speaker’s office quickly bucked as a “partisan” attack.
The letter from Republican Reps. Rodney Davis (Ill.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), James Comer (Tenn.) and Devin Nunes (Calif.) suggests Pelosi wielded influence over the security decisions before and during the Jan. 6 attack due to her “enormous institutional responsibilities” and involvement in “all operational decisions made within the House.”
The lawmakers suggest that Pelosi was involved in denying a request former Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund claimed to have made for National Guard troops prior to the attack, though it has been reported that Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving did not consult with Pelosi about the decision.
“The response from the [sergeant-at-arms], acting on your behalf, was that the ‘optics’ of the National Guard on-site were not good and the intelligence didn’t support the move,” read the letter.
The lawmakers also claim Pelosi may have played a role in delaying the deployment of troops while the pro-Trump mob was inside the building on Jan. 6, saying “it took over an hour” for Sund’s request to be approved “because the [sergeant-at-arms] had to run the request up the chain of command, which undoubtably included you and your designees.”
Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, labeled the claims baseless in a statement to Forbes, accusing the members of a “transparently partisan attempt to lay blame on the speaker” and highlighting the fact that the letter does not question Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) about his involvement in the parallel decision by his chamber’s sergeant-at-arms to reject Sund’s appeal.
“Clearly, these Members are trying to deflect responsibility for the Capitol attack from Donald Trump,” said Hammill. “We look forward to these Ranking Members asking these same questions of former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.”
Sund and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving both departed their positions in the aftermath of the deadly attack amid harsh national scrutiny. Sund later told The Washington Post that his requests for help were rejected or delayed six times before or during the attack. Both the House and Senate sergeant-at-arms rejected his pre-emptive request for National Guard troops, Sund said, while the Pentagon denied his pleas during the attack. Maryland Gov.
Larry Hogan (R) similarly said that the Department of Defense denied repeated requests for National Guard intervention on Jan. 6. The Washington Post later reported that D.C. National Guard Commander Gen. William Walker’s power was restricted by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller in the run-up to the Capitol attack, making it more difficult for him to quickly mobilize troops. Ultimately, National Guard personnel did not arrive at the Capitol until 5:30 p.m.—hours after the attack began—by which point four people had died.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Pelosi on Monday announced a 9/11-style commission that will investigate the “facts and causes” of the Jan. 6 attack, a review that has gained bipartisan support.
“Outgoing Capitol Police chief: House, Senate security officials hamstrung efforts to call in National Guard” (The Washington Post)
“Pentagon restricted commander of D.C. Guard ahead of Capitol riot” (The Washington Post)
“Maryland Governor Says Pentagon ‘Repeatedly Denied’ Approval To Send National Guard To Capitol” (Forbes)