Political

House Oversight Committee chair to testify that 'government was unprepared' for Capitol riot

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(WASHINGTON) — U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., will testify Wednesday that the “federal government was unprepared” for the Jan. 6 insurrection on the United States Capitol, “even though it was planned in plain sight on social media for the world to see,” according to excerpts of her prepared statement obtained by ABC News ahead of a congressional hearing.

Maloney, who is chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform, is also expected to say that the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation “have a special duty to warn of domestic terrorist threats, yet it’s clear that despite all of this intelligence, the federal government was not prepared.”

“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 in her prepared testimony. “Today — more than four months later — we’re still in the dark about exactly what went wrong.”

Maloney is also expected to grill former acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller on the timeline of events regarding the delayed response in deploying National Guard troops after the Capitol building was breached by rioters. In her prepared testimony, Maloney says the U.S. Department of Defense’s “explanations of its own actions have failed to address critical questions.”

“Why did military leaders place unusual restrictions on commanders on the ground?” Maloney asks. “Mr. Miller says that he first learned that the mob had entered the Capitol between 1:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. So why did the Defense Department wait until after 5:00 p.m. before sending the National Guard to the Capitol?”

Miller will also testify Wednesday and is expected to defend his actions. He is also expected to refute earlier testimony by Maj. Gen. William Walker, commander of the District of Columbia National Guard, who said it took them more than three hours to get approval from the Defense Department to send in troops.

Former acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen will testify as well on Wednesday.

The testimonies will take place during a hearing held by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform entitled “The Capitol Insurrection: Unexplained Delays and Unanswered Questions” — the latest in a series of high-profile congressional hearings centered on the Jan. 6 insurrection.

“The failures of January 6th go beyond the craven lies and provocations of one man,” Maloney says in her prepared testimony. “This nation stands at a crossroads, and the path we choose will define American democracy for generations to come. We must reject President Trump’s big lie and the violent insurrection it inspired.”

The events of Jan. 6 occurred after then-U.S. President Donald Trump and his allies held a rally earlier that day in Washington, D.C., urging Congress not to certify the results of the November presidential election, in which Trump lost to Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Trump vowed to “never concede” and urged his supporters “to fight,” as he continued to push baseless claims of election fraud.

Crowds of people then made their way to the steps of the Capitol, pushing through barricades, officers in riot gear and other security measures that were put in place in anticipation of the protest. An angry mob breached the Capitol building, forcing a lockdown with members of Congress and their staff holed up inside. It took hours for law enforcement to clear the building and establish a perimeter around the area. Five people, including a police officer, died during or in the days after the rampage.

More than 440 people have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection, including at least 52 active or retired military, law enforcement or government service employees, according to an ABC News investigation based on military records, court records, interviews and publicly available news reports.

Prosecutors are currently ramping up efforts to engage in plea discussions with many of the accused.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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