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Connecticut senators seek answers on slow military deployment during Capitol siege; article of impeachment introduced in House
Hartford Courant - 1/11/2021
In the wake of the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol by right-wing insurgents last week, Connecticut’s senators called on the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense Monday to explain why the Capitol was so vulnerable and how the prosecution of insurrectionists will unfold.
Simultaneously, House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against Trump Monday for inciting the insurrection at the Capitol. All five of Connecticut’s House representatives have signed on. Every member of Connecticut’s delegation also supports efforts to remove Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment.
Calling the Capitol siege a “systemic massive failure,” Sen. Chris Murphy said outside the Connecticut State Capitol Monday that it took far too long for additional military support to arrive during the insurrection Wednesday.
Murphy noted that lawmakers were already being evacuated from the Capitol by the time the Capitol Police and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser requested National Guard deployment, around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. It took hours after that for National Guardsmen to arrive. (Before the attack, the Pentagon had placed limits on the D.C. National Guard, only permitting some unarmed troops to direct traffic near the White House.)
“It was clear early on that the Capitol Police did not have the manpower or the ability to defend the United States Capitol from invasion or insurrection. And yet, it took four hours for the Department of Defense, specifically the National Guard, to get any kind of troop presence to defend the Capitol from attack,” Murphy said. “That is unconscionable. That is unacceptable.”
Murphy signed a letter Monday to Christopher C. Miller, the acting Secretary of Defense, asking for a full review of the process for deploying U.S. Armed Forces to the Capitol in emergency situations. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) also signed the letter, which called for military and law enforcement forces to be deployed in under an hour in any future emergencies.
Regarding the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Joe BidenJan. 20, Murphy said he is “worried that there is not yet a very clear, unified command structure for the defense” of the event. Murphy added that President Donald Trump is “not working on trying to make sure that the inauguration is peaceful” and reiterated his support for removing Trump from office.
In light of armed protests planned at state capitols across the country in the coming week, Murphy contended that the insurgency that engulfed the Capitol Wednesday is not over.
“Obviously there are big questions about what these lunatics are planning for this weekend and next week, but I think you have to assume that this insurgency against the federal government is going to continue into 2021,” he said.
Request for details on investigation
Sen. Richard Blumenthal and other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee signed a letter to the Department of Justice and the FBI Friday demanding information on how the Capitol siege is being investigated and prosecuted.
In the letter, addressed to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rose, the senators ask how evidence of the attack is being collected and preserved, who is coordinating the law enforcement response to the siege, whether a team has been assembled to oversee prosecutions, and who is reviewing “the role in this incident of right wing domestic terrorist groups or other criminal enterprises,” among other questions.
“The swift and effective investigation and prosecution of those who illegally broke into the Capitol and those who incited them to do so is essential,” the senators write. “Please assure us that the necessary steps are being taken to identify and prosecute the participants in this crime. Early failures to gather evidence can impede later prosecutions.”
Along with Blumenthal, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) signed the letter.
Article of impeachment introduced
The article of impeachment introduced Monday by House Democrats notes that while addressing a crowd of his supporters Wednesday in D.C., Trump falsely asserted that “we won this election, and we won it by a landslide.” He also “encouraged” lawlessness through statements to the crowd, including, “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
“Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts,” the document reads.
Congressional Democrats are also pushing for Vice President Mike Pence to remove Trump from power by invoking the 25th Amendment, an effort which Congressional Republicans oppose.
Eliza Fawcett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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