Paul McLeod Profile picture
23 Feb, 25 tweets, 5 min read
The Senate Administration committee hearing on the Jan. 6 riots kicks off with a first-person account from Capitol Police Capt. Carneysha Mendoza, who described rioters firing CS gas in the Capitol. “I received chemical burns to my face that still have not healed to this day.”
Of all the days she worked, Mendoza calls the 6th “by far the worst of the worst. We could have had ten times the amount of people working with us and I believe the battle would have been just as devastating."
Acting DC Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee III says DC police had intel that violence could be expected throughout the city after the Jan 6 gathering and the force was fully staffed, along with 300 members of the DC national guard deployed. But it wasn’t enough.
Contee says his forces cannot go onto Capitol grounds unless they are asked to by Capitol police. After saying the president directs the national guard, he says “I was surprised at the reluctance to immediately send the national guard to the Capitol grounds."
Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund says that they received no intel, either from FBI or Homeland Security, about what was coming. “We properly planned for a mass demonstration with possible violence. What we got was a military-style coordinated assault on my officers."
Sund says security heads properly prepared for a large demonstration with the risk of some violence, but were not warned about the possibility of a full-fledged assault. He does acknowledge that after forces were overwhelme, centralized coordination broke down.
Former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving pushes back against reports that he turned down having soldiers at the Capitol because of “optics.”

He acknowledges using the word "optics" but says the collective judgement was the intel did not warrant having soldiers at the Capitol.
Fair amount of finger-pointing. The police forces are heavily blaming a lack of intel. Former Capitol Police Chief Sund highlights he asked on Monday for the national guard to be called in but sergeants at arms said no.

Seargants at arms say that was based on the intel, etc.
One thing they agree on is expressing shock that the national guard wasn’t deployed earlier. Contee describes a call where Sund was “literally pleading” for the national guard to be called in.

They didn’t say no per se, but they also didn’t say yes and actually send troops in.
“There was not an immediate response,” says Contee.

“I was just stunned. I have officers who are out there literally fighting for their lives.”
Ok we have full-on conflicting stories about why national guard troops were not present on the 6th.

SUND (Capitol police) says he requested assistance troops two days earlier and the sergeants at arms said no, including House Sergeant IRVING citing “optics."
Irving says Sund never asked for extra troops but passed on an offer from the national guard for them to run traffic control. Irving says the three of them discussed it and as a group decided to not call in the troops because the intel didn’t indicate it was needed.
They also disagree about what happened on the 6th. They’re both doubling down on their statements @byrdinator tweeted here.

Sund says he has no memory of a 1:09pm phone call. Looks like the committee will request phone records.
@byrdinator Oh boy, Sen. Ron Johnson is reading a first-person narrative, published in the Federalist, called “I saw Provocateurs at the Capitol Riot on Jan 6” that blames “fake Trump protestors” for the violence.
Johnson echoes the piece’s the conclusion that provocateurs turned “unsuspecting marchers” into an incading mob.
I don’t agree with that piece’s take. There were definitely many people there who just thought they were there for a march.

There were also many who either intended to storm the capitol or enthusiastically got involved once they saw it was happening.
I later talked to @Nigrotime who I thought summed it up well. He said some of these people seemed like they'd never stepped foot in DC before let alone the Capitol. They were basically tourists. Others were obviously geared up, dangerous, and knew what they were doing.
Ron Johnson also opened by warning senators against second-guessing how security handled the 6th… which is ostensibly the point of this committee hearing.

“2020 is hindsight, it’s pretty easy to Monday morning quarterback and I want to make sure we guard against doing so.”
It is just disorienting to hear someone like former Capitol police chief Steven Sund say the Capitol siege was not foreseeable or predictable when we, BuzzFeed News, a media organization with no access to classified intel, both foresaw it and prepared for it.
Presented without comment: Sen. Josh Hawley closes his question period by saying that anyone implying any Capitol police were in any way complicit in the Jan 6 attack is “extremely disrespectful” and “really quite shocking.”
It was out in the open for anyone who cared to look. But I think the far more likely explanation than anything nefarious is just simple incompetence. Many people clearly dropped the ball.

Irving asked by Sen. Ted Cruz whether he used the word “optics” in discussing calling in the national guard.

Irving: “I cannot remember my exact verbage. Had I used any language to the effect, it was all in reference to whether the intelligence was matched to the security plan.”
Sund is directly saying that the sergeants at arms, especially Irving, shut down his attempt to get national guard troops in place in advance.

Irving rejects that and say 1) Sund never requested anything just passed on an offer, and 2) they jointly decided it wasn’t necessary
Unclear if we’ll ever get to the bottom of this. But their other big disagreement, about who did what during the siege, involves phone calls and witnesses and should be able to be definitively worked out.
Our story on today’s hearing: Capitol Security Chiefs Said The Jan. 6 Insurrection Was “Unforeseeable” Despite It Being Planned Online In Plain Sight.…

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More from @pdmcleod

11 Feb
Today we saw dozens of videos/tweets of Trump saying the election was stolen and the electoral college count needs to be stopped, urging supporters to “fight like hell” and “stop the steal,” then people storming the Capitol repeating those lines. How are Republicans reacting?
Pretty much everyone has said the footage of the attack shown today is awful, reprehensible, traumatizing, etc. But many are saying that the responsibility is solely on the rioters, not Trump.
Sen. James Lankford on Trump’s culpability: “He's had 100 rallies and we have never seen that before. So that's the tough one to be able to link together.”
Read 10 tweets
10 Feb
On day 2 of Trump’s impeachment trial begins with Rep. Jamie Raskin laying out Trump’s tweets calling people to DC on Jan. 6, then telling a crowd of supporters that day to “fight like hell or you’re not going to have a country anymore."
Raskin: “He told them to fight like hell and they brought us hell on that day.”

Raskin says for hours Trump did nothing to call off the mob once the Capitol attack started. “He watched it on tv like a reality show. He reveled in it. He did nothing to help us.”
Raskin closing: “Can our country and our democracy ever be the same if we don’t hold accountable the person responsible for inciting the violent attack against our country, our Capitol, our democracy and all of those who serve us so faithfully and honorably. Is this America?”
Read 25 tweets
9 Feb
Republican Senator Bill Cassidy blasts the performance of Trump’s lawyers today: "It was disorganized, random. They talked about many things but they didn’t talk about the issue at hand… The House managers made a compelling, cogent case and the president’s team did not.”
Cassidy switched from his previous position and voted that the trial is constitutional. Longer quote:

“Anyone who listened to those arguments, the House managers were focused, they were organized, they relied upon both precedent, the constitution, and legal scholars...
...President Trump’s team were disorganized, they did everything but to talk about the question at hand, and when they talked about it they kind of glided over it almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments.
Read 5 tweets
9 Feb
And here we go, arguments in Trump’s second impeachment trial in the Senate are beginning.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead House impeachment manager, assures senators they won’t have to listen to lectures about the Federal Papers because his case will be based on “cold, hard facts"
Raskin kicks off by showing a supercut of rioters storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 spliced with Trump talking about how the election was a fraud. “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore” etc. I’d expect to see a lot of this.
You can follow along here.…

I don’t know how many hours of riot footage I’ve watched in the last month but it’s still shocking to see.
Read 31 tweets
8 Feb
With Joe Biden (and, uh, Mitt Romney) proposing to send out direct cash payments to parents, there’s a pretty direct parallel we can look to to see what the impact would be — Canada!
Biden’s proposing to give parents $3,600 per child under the age of six, as well as $3,000 per child aged 6-17.…

This is almost exactly the same program as the Canada Child Benefit introduced in 2016.
The Canda Child Benefit is more generous (around $6,700 for young kids per year, $5,700 for older kids) but has basically the same structure, including phasing out for higher-income families. So how did it go?
Read 7 tweets
6 Jan
I don't have the signal to tweet photos but the scene outside the Capitol is pretty wild. They've broken down fences to get up to the outside doors of the Capitol. To be clear, most people are standing around chanting or taking photos.
I've never seen anything like this. Protestors crawling all over the Capitol steps, massive crowds outside chanting. "This is our house, let's take it back!" A guy next to me yells.
Smoke bombs of some sort deployed on the west side of the Capitol to clear people out
Read 35 tweets

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