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Editorial: Senate report on Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection is appalling in its omissions

Editorial: Senate report on Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection is appalling in its omissions

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Capitol riot

In this image from U.S. Capitol Police video, Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, of Tampa, Fla., front, stands on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Jan. 6. Hodgkins, who carried a Trump 2020 flag, pleaded guilty on June 2 to a felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding.

(U.S. Capitol Police via AP)

Two Senate committees released a bipartisan joint report Tuesday that purports to look at the multiple layers of communication and intelligence failures ahead of and during the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. The report itself, sadly, is among the communication failures because of its glaring omissions and glossed-over facts about then-President Donald Trump’s role.

The 128-page report bears Sen. Roy Blunt’s stamp of approval as the ranking member of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, one of the two panels responsible for the study. Blunt has been strenuous in efforts to avoid pointing so much as a pinky finger toward Trump for having inspired and encouraged the attack.

The report includes statements that Captain Obvious would find too self-evident to be worth mentioning, such as that the U.S. Capitol Police force was “not prepared for the attack on the Capitol, hampering its response” and the “opaque” internal processes “slowed requests for National Guard support.”

The ease with which the attackers overwhelmed Capitol Police officers was broadcast live on television, along with the appallingly slow arrival of National Guard troops to help secure the Capitol. The slow response gave insurrectionists plenty of time to ransack desks and commit mayhem.

Left unsaid was the role Trump played, not only in encouraging the attack but also in slow-walking the federal response, not to mention his “We love you” video embrace of the insurrectionists.

Deep into the report’s text is this shocking revelation about plans for armed confrontation: The Capitol Police’s intelligence unit received a report on Dec. 21 — more than two weeks ahead of the attack — with messages among participants saying: “Bring guns. It’s now or never.” Another says: “If a million patriots show up bristling with AR’s, just how brave do you think they’ll be when it comes to enforcing their unconstitutional laws?” Yet another says: “Anyone going armed needs to be mentally prepared to draw down on LEOs [law enforcement officers]. Let them shoot first, but make sure they know what happens if they do.”

As those exchanges were occurring, Trump tweeted: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

Why was law enforcement not prepared? According to the report, commanders didn’t share the threat assessment with Capitol Police officers.

The Senate committees made no effort to investigate Trump’s role. The report also does not include the word insurrection. The final 22 pages do include a transcript of the speech Trump gave on the morning of Jan. 6, when he told his supporters to “fight like hell” while directing them to head to the Capitol.

With Blunt abstaining, the Senate on May 28 rejected a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack. The joint committee report is a sorry excuse for accountability. Blunt should be ashamed for his cowardly response to this blatant attack on American democracy.

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