President Donald Trump met with high navy officers and gave his approval to activate the D.C. National Guard three days earlier than he inspired a mob of indignant protesters to take their grievances to the U.S. Capitol.
A Pentagon memo launched Friday provides these insights, in addition to the first detailed timeline of the bungled regulation enforcement response to Wednesday’s rebellion.
The timeline exhibits that the planning began no less than way back to Dec. 31 and included dialogue with choose Cabinet members of the potential want for Pentagon reinforcements.
But it additionally leaves many questions unanswered, together with why the U.S. Capitol Police declined repeated provides of help from navy officers and the full extent of how a lot Trump knew about the safety planning or was concerned in decision-making.
The memo, first reported on by NBC News on Friday night, presents a restricted account of the days earlier than the rebellion, and reports have questioned the completeness of the Pentagon’s model of occasions and the effectiveness of its planning and response. But the memo might nicely present a partial roadmap as legislators call for an investigation into how pro-Trump protesters breached the Capitol in a riot that left 5 folks lifeless, including one Capitol Hill police officer. Three officers who supervise the drive have already submitted resignations.
Here’s what we all know to this point, and what we don’t.
There was practically per week of preparation
The Pentagon’s timeline begins on the final day of 2020, when Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser and one other metropolis official delivered a written request for D.C. National Guard assist on Wednesday. For weeks, Trump supporters had shared plans on social media for descending on Washington that day to protest the election outcomes as Congress licensed the Electoral College votes that sealed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. In the days after, Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller met with “select Cabinet Members,” the memo says with out specifying which, to debate Defense Department involvement and “potential requirements” for DOD assist.
The Pentagon says Trump approved the National Guard deployment days earlier than the protest, however the timeline doesn’t say what that entailed
On Sunday, Jan. 3, Miller and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, met with Trump. According to the memo, the president “concurs in activation” of the National Guard to “support law enforcement.” Miller authorized the activation of 340 Guard members the following day.
The particulars of Trump’s dialog with Miller and Milley usually are not recognized.
The Pentagon participated in a planning train — after the protests had been already underway
Swarms of pro-Trump protesters assembled in Washington on Wednesday morning, beginning at the Ellipse to listen to Trump communicate and heeding his suggestion that they take their complaints to the Capitol, the place Congress was assembly in joint session to certify Biden’s election. Trump ended his remarks simply after 1 p.m.
Around 11:30 that morning, Miller participated in a tabletop planning train concerning DOD’s “contingency response options,” the memo says. While Miller participated in quite a few preparatory conversations with native and federal officers in the week main as much as Wednesday, the timeline offers no indication that any formal planning workouts came about earlier than the day of the assault. The Pentagon didn’t instantly present an evidence for the eleventh-hour train.
The U.S. Capitol Police declined the Pentagon’s provide of assist — twice
Three days earlier than the mob overtook the Capitol, DOD contacted the U.S. Capitol Police to substantiate that the drive was not requesting backup upfront of the scheduled protests, based on the timeline. The subsequent day, the memo says, USCP officers participated in a telephone name with Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and as soon as once more confirmed they didn’t want the Pentagon’s assist.
That place solely modified at 1:49 on Wednesday afternoon, when USCP Chief Steven Sund known as requesting instant help. By then, members of Congress had been sheltering in place, with the mob minutes away from breaching the Capitol steps.
It stays unclear what intelligence the Capitol Police, which boasts greater than 2,300 staff and a price range of over $400 million, gathered in anticipation of Wednesday’s occasions or why Sund declined to bolster the Capitol’s defenses. Sund’s resignation was introduced on Thursday, and he’ll go away his place on Jan. 16. Sund and the USCP didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Washington’s mayor and the Pentagon provide conflicting accounts of the lead-up to the protests
After Bowser despatched her New Year’s Eve request for assist from the D.C. National Guard, the DOD memo says it authorized sending 340 Guard members to assist native officers. It additional says that on Tuesday, Bowser delivered a letter confirming that Washington officers had all the assist they wanted.
But a spokesperson for Bowser’s workplace advised NBC News that it was McCarthy, not the mayor, who made the key selections about the National Guard’s response, together with setting the quantity of personnel and establishing “that the guard members were not to move East of 9th Street NW,” blocks away from the Capitol itself.
Once the mob was inside the Capitol, it took hours for the National Guard to reach
At 1:26 p.m. Wednesday, with a mob of protesters about to push via police traces, the USCP ordered the Capitol evacuated. Eight minutes later, based on the DOD timeline, Bowser was on the telephone with McCarthy requesting an “unspecified number of additional forces.” Sund’s name to Pentagon officers adopted shortly thereafter.
At 3 p.m., greater than an hour after the mayor’s name, Miller decided that D.C. National Guard forces had been wanted to reestablish management of the Capitol, and minutes later, he formally authorized the full activation of the D.C. National Guard. At 5:02 p.m., 154 guard members left the D.C. Armory to move to the Capitol, the place they arrived roughly 40 minutes later.
By 6:14 p.m., regulation enforcement had efficiently established a fringe round the west facet of the Capitol, based on the memo, and at 8 p.m., Capitol Police declared the constructing safe.