WASHINGTON — Congress is scheduled to hold multiple hearings this week – including a joint hearing between the Senate Homeland Security Committee and the Senate Rules Committee – to dive deeper into the security failures that contributed to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by pro-Trump rioters.
Coming off the heels of former President Trump's second impeachment — and acquittal — the hearings aim to provide even more clarity about the roots of the insurrection and accountability for those involved. Leaders from both the U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. Police, as well as key security officials for the House and Senate, will testify.
There's a lot of information to sort through, and WUSA9 will be streaming the hearings live in the video player. Here's what to expect:
When are the hearings and what will they discuss?
The hearings will last three days, starting at 10 a.m. EST on Tuesday, February 23, and continuing through Thursday, February 24. Each day will have a different focus, with different people testifying.
Tuesday, February 23:
- Who: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, with leaders from U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. Police (like acting MPD Chief Robert Contee), as well as the former sergeants-at-arms of the House and Senate.
- Focus: Tuesday will hone in on the role of leadership during the riots and the resulting security measures. U.S. Capitol police chief Steven Sund, and both the House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving and Senate sergeant-at-arms Michael Stenger, resigned following the attacks. Now, the committee wants them to testify on their specific actions during the attack and what was, and wasn't, done – including decisions not to call for help from the National Guard.
Wednesday, February 24:
- Who: House Judiciary Committee, domestic terrorism experts
- Focus: This hearing will narrow in more on the warning signs and signals prior to the attack on the Capitol and hear more from experts.
Thursday, February 25:
- Who: House Financial Services Committee
- Focus: Titled "Dollars Against Democracy: Domestic Terrorist Financing in the Aftermath of the Insurrection," this hearing will look at the financial impact of the insurrection and at policing and security measures.
Also happening on Thursday: the acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman and acting House sergeant-at-arms Timothy Blodgett will testify before the House Appropriations Committee about the breakdown of security measures at the Capitol. Pittman previously testified in a closed-door session, in which she said there was "no way" to prevent what happened at the Capitol if Congress wants to keep it open to the public.
Pittman will also likely be asked to testify about the ongoing investigations into 35 Capitol Police officers currently under investigation for their actions on the day of the riot.
To catch up on the first day of the hearings, we are live-tweeting a thread here:
How is this different than what was talked about in the impeachment?
Former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial ended only weeks ago in an acquittal, but efforts to determine accountability on Jan. 6 are far from over.
The article for the second impeachment trial revolved around the question of whether Trump was "personally responsible" for the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and incited the violence during his speech to rioters.
While an abundance of new information about rioters was presented during the trial, the impeachment honed in what the president was responsible for, not so much on the failures from other top security officials.
These hearings will have those top officials testify, speaking under oath about their involvement and what measures they took.
Are there other legal battles about the Capitol riots, or is this the end?
This week's hearings are from the end of litigation focusing on the insurrection and with Trump.
Last week, the NAACP sued Trump in federal court, accusing him, Rudy Giuliani and far-right groups of conspiring to incite the riot and delay election certification results. Led by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, it's another legal effort to keep an eye on.
Other similar lawsuits have been filed in Georgia and in Michigan, as well as New York and Wisconsin.
Beyond the lawsuit, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also called for a bipartisan, independent "9/11 style commission" to investigate the attack on top of this week's hearings.
The latest on arrests:
Roughly 50 people were added to the now nearly 200 people arrested in connection to the insurrection in February, with multiple off-duty police and a handful of organizers and members from the Proud Boys among them.
Nine Oath Keepers, an extremist far-right anti-government militia organization, have now been indicted in a growing conspiracy case. Prosecutors from the Justice Department have said members coordinated their travel before the event, discussing weapons and training together, even suiting up with body armor.
WUSA9 is also providing updates about the arrests, as well as charges and investigations stemming from the assault on the Capitol, in the daily Capitol Breach Newsletter. Sign up for it here.