Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform dinged Democrats leading the panel about not having officials from the U.S. Capitol Police called to testify about the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol during a hearing on Wednesday.
Instead, Democrats, who lead the committee, called the chief of the Metropolitan Police Department and former executive branch officials to testify.
“While the subject matter of this hearing is extremely important we cannot fully investigate the events of Jan. 6 as the Capitol Police are not present,” said Rep. Fred Keller, Pennsylvania Republican.
Rep. Scott Franklin, Florida Republican, said without a representative from the Capitol Police testifying, the hearing was “not an effort to get to the truth,” but a “political show.”
“Everyone seems in agreement that the Capitol Police would be the agency most responsible for protecting the Capitol and yet they are not here today,” he said. “I can’t for the life of me fathom why, if we are going to call a panel of witnesses, the agency primarily responsible for safeguarding this institution was not invited to participate,” he said.
Christopher Miller, former acting secretary of the Department of Defense, Jeffrey Rosen, former acting attorney general, and Robert Contee, the chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, fielded questions about the Jan. 6 attack and the preparations before the deadly day by the executive branch.
But it quickly became apparent the Capitol Police could have better answered some of the lawmakers’ questions about the timeline of the attack, given they were the first to respond to the chaotic protesters and rioters.
“The people responsible for securing the Capitol are the Capitol Police,” Mr. Rosen told the lawmakers.
“If there is a question directed specifically at the Capitol Polices’ awareness and the potential of violence…I’m just not the one you should ask that question to,” he added.
One Capitol Police officer who was attacked during the riot died hours later from a stroke. Two others committed suicide after rioters entered the Capitol that day, taking over both the House and Senate chambers and forcing members of Congress to flee for safety.
An aide for Democrats on the committee said Capitol Police officials have already testified about the attack five times before Congress, and Wednesday’s hearing was focused on the executive branch, pushing back against the criticism.
“Contrary to claims by Republicans, the Oversight Committee did not deny a request to have Capitol Police, or any other witness testify at this hearing,” a committee aide said. “The Capitol Police Inspector General testified just two days ago before the House Administration Committee.
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