Why was Pelosi given a pass by her Select Committee
Beyond the one-sided composition of the Capitol Hill Select Committee, one of the earliest signs that it was created to go after Trump and Republicans more than investigate the facts was the exclusion of House Speaker Pelosi from the witnesses.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson specifically stated that Pelosi would not be called to testify. To my recollection, she was the only person involved in the events of that day to be exempted at the very onset.
What was not done on that day was as important to understanding the big picture as what was done. It is reasonably argued that had the Capitol Building been adequately defended, there would have been no riot.
It was obvious that as the protest started to become more violent – and that entering the Capitol Building became an objective –- that the Building was woefully unprotected. The Capitol Hill police were undermanned and ill-equipped to handle the situation. They were not provided with specific orders as to what to do in the event of the breach.
In other words, what should have been a coordinated response, wound up as a series of street fights.
Officers at different locations were acting on their own with different results. In one location Capitol Hill police were allowing people to enter – literally giving permission to enter. At other locations, they retreated from the oncoming mob. In yet other locations, they engaged in hand-to-hand combat.
In only one incident was a gun used – and that was by the Capitol Hill officer shooting Ashli Babbitt as she tried to enter the Senate Chamber. The only fatality of the day – excluding a death from a heart attack and a drug overdose, according to reports.
It was obvious from the start that the Capitol Building was inadequately defended even though the intel community had reported creditable potential threats of violence. Some groups that were to be in attendance had predicted violence as a possibility – although none were specific in expressing an intent to initiate violence or to use weapons.
In view of everything, the lack of sufficient protection was amazing – inexplicable. Minimally, it was a dereliction of duty on some person or part. But whose?
The person with the most direct authority and responsibility for the protection of Congress is … Nancy Pelosi. And to some extent, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The Sergeant-at-Arms, who supervised the Capitol Hill Police, reports to the Speaker – and the Senate counterpart is the Doorkeeper of the Senate.
Another person with secondary responsibility for the protection of the nation’s capital is District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser. The FBI also plays a role.
On standby in such events are other members of the intelligence community, the National Guard and – in extreme cases – the Army.
Had the Capitol Police been fully prepared … had there been a cordon of National Guardsmen surrounding the Building … had more impenetrable barriers been erected … it is impossible to believe that the riot would have ensured – and certainly not the chaos, injury and destruction (and death) that took place.
We saw the power of Pelosi’s authority on January 6, 2022, when the media was hyperbolically predicting that there would be another violent attack on the Building – as well as violence in cities throughout the country. In that case, Pelosi called on the National Guard and built a perimeter fence around the building.
Approximately 200 folks showed up – with a permit to assemble – heard some speeches and went home. There were no events in other parts of the country. It is important to understand that all that protection was there because Pelosi used her power to summons it.
That leaves the question as to why she did not do so in the face of a much more real event with all those intel warnings. We can only speculate on the answer because her pet Select Committee determined at the onset not to ask her. Not even to ask her. How outrageous is that?
That left fundamental questions unanswered. The Sergeant-at-Arms reported that on two occasion the Department of Defense contacted him with offers to send in military support. He rejected that offer each time after consulting with … ???
Well, we do not know for sure, but it would seem that there was only one person from whom he would have to get a decision. His boss, Nancy Pelosi.
It would seem critical to know who rejected that offer – and why.
Mayor Bowser was also contacted with the offer to get National Guard back up. She was not on the Select Committee witness list. Why not. There remains a question as to why the District police were not used as a supplemental force – and why did Bowser also reject the Defense Department’s offer to send in troops.
We know that she was the person to reject the offer because she did it in writing. Essentially, she thought it would not look good.
The lack of protection of the Capitol Building does not exonerate those who rioted – and caused damage and injury. There has been universal condemnation of the rioting – and calls for those participating to be brought to justice by folks on both sides of the aisle.
However, the lack of protection was a significant contributing factor. There was gross irresponsibility on someone’s part – or several someone’s. AND there was a flagrant – politically driven – lack of responsibility on the part of the Select Committee in refusing to investigate that aspect of what happened.
There have been reports that Trump did authorize the involvement of the D, C. National Guard. They were eventually deployed – and since the report to the President, authorization had to come from the White House. Confusion rests on when the Guard were finally deployed. It has been reported that Trump initially resisted use of the Guard. The controversy, itself, calls for investigation.
In addition, there have been questions raised regarding the role of the FBI and FBI informants in inciting the rioting. Again, that role is not clear, but there is sufficient evidence to warrant a serious inquiry.
All of this is more evidence that the Select Committee was formed and has been operating on a very narrow political agenda with a very specific political objective – mostly aimed at influencing the 2022 midterm elections.
Contrary to their chest-pounding and back-slapping claims of importance, I do not believe that history will be very kind to the work of Pelosi’s kangaroo Committee. Once the election is over, it will fade into insignificance as a mostly political hack job.
That does not mean there are not very important issues surrounding President Trump and the 2020 election, but those will be best and appropriately handled by the Justice Department. Pelosi’s gambit is purely political – and all the Committee’s accusations are just talk for the court-of-public-opinion. The Committee has zero law enforcement power …. Zero.
And … the lack of bringing Pelosi, Bowser, and others before the Committee crushes the panels already dubious credibility.
So. There ‘tis.