The Latest: Hearing on Capitol riot wraps; little new info
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on congressional testimony about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot (all times local):
A House hearing on the federal response to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has concluded after more than five hours of testimony that exposed stark partisan divisions.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform heard testimony from former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee.
The hearing elicited little new information about the preparations and response to the Jan. 6 insurrection. A mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win. Five people died, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, and dozens of officers were injured trying to hold the crowd back.
Republicans sought to shift the narrative on the violent insurrection, with some painting the Trump supporters who stormed the building as patriots who have been unfairly harassed. Democrats clashed with the former Pentagon chief while drilling into the government’s unprepared response.
The hearing unfolded as the House Republicans removed Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership post after she rebuked former President Donald Trump for his false claims of election fraud and his role in inciting the Capitol attack.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE LATEST CONGRESSIONAL HEARING INTO THE DEADLY CAPITOL RIOT:
Two senior Trump administration officials defend their actions during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in testimony before Congress, with former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller standing behind every decision he made that day.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:
Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen won’t answer questions from Congress about whether then-President Donald Trump instructed him to take any action to try to advance Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud.
Rosen would not answer Wednesday in response to questions from Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia at a hearing on the deadly Capitol insurrection.
Rosen was asked specifically whether Trump had asked or instructed him to take any action at the Department of Justice “to advance election fraud claims or to seek to overturn any part of the 2020 election results.”
Rosen would not answer, claiming there were “ground rules” he had “abide by.” Rosen said he was limited by the Justice Department on the topics he could discuss. He later said he would seek permission to answer the question.
The Justice Department hasn’t responded to questions about whether Rosen was instructed not to answer questions about his conversations with Trump.
Election officials and judges across the country have found no evidence to support Trump’s claims of election fraud.
Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona is defending a woman who was shot and killed by the Capitol Police as she tried to break into the U.S. House chamber during the Jan. 6 insurrection, saying she was “executed.”
At a House hearing on what went wrong that day, Gosar questioned former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen about the death of Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who was part of the mob that attacked the Capitol. Babbitt was shot by a Capitol Police officer as she tried to climb through a broken window while lawmakers were trapped inside.
The Department of Justice has decided not to charge the police officer who shot Babbitt. The officer’s name hasn’t been disclosed. Federal prosecutors said there was “insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.”
Gosar on Wednesday asked Rosen why Babbitt was “executed” and asked the name of the officer who killed her. Gosar called Babbitt “a young lady, a veteran, wrapped in an American flag that was killed in the U.S. Capitol.”
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney says former President Donald Trump is responsible for the Capitol riot. The House impeached Trump for telling his supporters that day to “fight like hell” to overturn the results of the election, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden. The then-Republican-led Senate acquitted Trump.
Attorney General Merrick Garland says the Justice Department is still in the early days of its investigation of the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Garland told the Senate Appropriations Committee that it has only been a “relatively short” period since the riot by supporters of President Donald Trump sought to overturn the results of the November election. That’s especially true, he said, because of the large number of separate investigations and huge amount of video and other data that authorities are combing through as they pursue leads in the investigation that has so far resulted in about 400 arrests.
Garland says the investigation “is not over.” He says, “We will pursue each lead until we’re confident that we will have reached the end.”
Garland and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas were testifying to the Senate committee about their budget needs as both agencies confront a growing threat from domestic violent extremism.
The chief of police in the nation’s capital says investigators believe there was pre-planning involved when two pipe bombs were left at the headquarters of the Democratic and Republican national committees.
Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said Wednesday that investigators also believe the explosives were “positioned out there by a lone individual.”
The two explosive devices were planted the night before the riot but only discovered on the afternoon of Jan. 6, shortly before the crowd descended on the Capitol.
The FBI has said the bombs were placed outside the two buildings between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 5. It is not clear whether that means the pipe bombs were unrelated to the next day’s riot or were part of the riot planning. Both buildings are within a few blocks of the Capitol.
Contee says the investigation remains ongoing.
Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen says he is “proud” of the Department of Justice’s response to the Capitol insurrection.
Rosen testified Wednesday before a House panel examining the federal response to the deadly Jan. 6 riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Rosen insists the Justice Department “took appropriate precautions” ahead of the riot and put tactical teams and other elite units on standby. Rosen says Justice Department officials and federal law enforcement officials “moved with urgency” to assist the U.S. Capitol Police to clear the Capitol. The Justice Department has charged more than 400 people in connection with the riot. Trump was impeached by the House and then acquitted by the Senate.
Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller says criticism about the response from the military to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection “is unfounded.”
Miller testified Wednesday at a House Oversight Committee hearing about the federal government’s response to the deadly riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Miller and other military officials have been criticized in the months following the riot, with congressional leaders and others questioning why it took hours for the National Guard to respond to the Capitol as the mob descended on the Capitol.
Hundreds of people broke into the building as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win.
Miller says he believes the criticisms “reflect inexperience with, or a lack of understanding of, the nature of military operations.”
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney says Congress must find out why the federal government “failed to coordinate an effective and timely response” to the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Maloney made the comments Wednesday as she opened a hearing with former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, both of whom were involved in the response.
Maloney says, “It is our duty to understand what went wrong that day, to seek accountability and to take action to prevent this from ever happening again.”
Maloney says it’s clear Trump is responsible for the Capitol riot. The House impeached Trump a week after the siege for telling his supporters that day to “fight like hell” to overturn the results of the election, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden. The then-Republican-led Senate acquitted Trump in February.
Republicans immediately tried to change the subject of the hearing to protests in several cities over the last year in response to the death of George Floyd. The top Republican on the panel, Kentucky Rep. James Comer, says Democrats “continue to demonize tens of millions of Americans who support President Trump.”