Amid fallout over the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill, questions have been raised regarding what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) knew about the security situation there — and when.
The need for answers to those questions was only bolstered last week following explosive testimony to Congress from ousted House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, whose statements appeared to contradict the narrative being put forth by Pelosi’s office, the Daily Caller reported.
Who asked for what and when?
According to three unnamed sources said by the Daily Caller to have “direct knowledge” of Irving’s recent under-oath testimony to the House Administration Committee, the former head of House security recalled that he had been involved in discussions with Pelosi’s office and others about the potential need for additional security, including National Guard troops, in the days ahead of the riot.
However, Irving allegedly testified that Pelosi’s office, as well as other top Democrats, had expressed a desire to avoid the bad “optics” of having National Guard troops already on-hand to confront anticipated protesters at the Capitol.
Interestingly, a statement from Pelosi’s office to the Daily Caller didn’t deny the alleged claim from Irving, but did seem to shift blame onto the former sergeant-at-arms.
“The Speaker’s Office has made it clear publicly and repeatedly that our office was not consulted or contacted concerning any request for the National Guard ahead of January 6th,” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, said in the statement.
“That has been confirmed by former Sergeant at Arms Irving in sworn testimony before Senate committees,” Hammill added. “The Speaker expects security professionals to make security decisions and to be briefed about those decisions.”
A question of timelines
The Daily Caller noted that Irving’s testimony, according to its sources, also raised questions about the timing of the eventual request for National Guard troops in response to the unrest. Irving reportedly testified that he didn’t receive a request from then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund until shortly after 2 p.m. on Jan. 6.
That conflicts with the alleged testimony of Sund, who claimed that he first issued a request for National Guard troops as reinforcements for his officers just after 1 p.m., according to Axios.
It also seems to conflict with a timeline laid out in a report from The New York Times that asserted Irving, upon receiving Sund’s request for authorization to call in National Guard troops, first had to run it “up the chain of command” in the House — meaning to Pelosi’s office.
The Daily Caller reported that Irving denied being required to consult the higher-ups during his testimony.
Nearly a month and a half later, it seems we still have more questions than answers about what happened that day on Capitol Hill.