35+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

The Capitol Riot: Documents You Should Read (Part 2)

collage
Published: Mar 3, 2021
Briefing Book #747

Edited by Lauren Harper

For more information, contact:
202-994-7000 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu

Second Installment of New Document Sourcebook Features Impeachment Video Evidence, Flash Message to D.C. National Guard, and Law Enforcement’s Official Testimony

Washington, D.C., March 3, 2021 - Video evidence presented by House impeachment managers during Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial shows just how close the violent mob came to physically confronting Vice President Mike Pence and Senators Mitt Romney and Chuck Schumer, and includes footage of the mob rifling through congressional desks and offices. The never-before-seen cell phone and surveillance footage, which members of Congress watched at the same time as the public, makes the Pentagon’s continued silence about its delay in sending in the D.C. National Guard to protect the U.S. Capitol all the more glaring.

The videos, as well as the flash message that was sent at 5:39 PM ordering all D.C. National Guard not already at the Capitol to report to duty – hours after the assault was underway – are among the documents posted today in the National Security Archive’s second "January 6 Sourcebook".

The Sourcebook’s second installment includes:

* A collection of seven videos presented by House impeachment managers;

* An FBI press release announcing a $75,000 reward for information on the person(s) who placed pipe bombs at the Democratic and Republican National Committee buildings;

* The flash message sent by Joint Operations Command ordering all D.C. National Guard troops not already supporting Operation First Amendment Support to report to the D.C. National Guard armory at 7 PM for encampment duty;

* The official written testimonies submitted by Steven A. Sund, Former Chief of Police, U.S. Capitol Police, Robert J. Contee III, Acting Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C., and others for the first joint Senate hearing on the events of January 6, “Examining the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol”;

* A re-posting of the Defense Department’s three-page timeline that fails, particularly in light of the impeachment video evidence, to answer mounting questions about the catastrophic decision to delay sending in the D.C. National Guard to assist the Capitol Police.

The January 6 Sourcebook publication marks the continuation of a systematic campaign by the Archive, a champion of the Freedom of Information Act, to use the FOIA to open the documentary record of what the government knew and when, and what the government did and didn’t do and when, about the mob attack on the Capitol. Archive staff have already drafted more than 100 specific, targeted FOIA requests to multiple federal agencies.

The video evidence and official testimony will likely continue to focus the spotlight on the Pentagon’s timeline and the unexplained two-hour gap between calls for help defending the Capitol to the belated decision to deploy National Guard troops. As former House Sergeant at Arms Paul D. Irving testified on February 23, 2021, “I have no personal knowledge of the information in DOD’s timeline, but I am aware that it reports the Secretary of the Army received a request from Mayor Bowser at 1:34 p.m., and that the National Guard received a request from Chief Sund at 1:49 p.m. Regardless of whether the National Guard was requested at 1:34 p.m. and 1:49 p.m. according to the DOD’s own timeline, or shortly after 2:00 p.m., it is clear that the National Guard was not quick to respond—as we 4 had planned—and it was several hours before they were onsite.”

 

The documents

 

Document 1

House Impeachment Managers present video evidence on second day of Trump’s second impeachment trial

Source: Impeachment Trial, Day 2, February 10, 2021

This collection of videos was presented by House Impeachment managers on the second day of President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. On February 10, 2021, the public and members of Congress watched a timeline of never-before-seen cell phone and surveillance videos showing the progression of the violent mob’s attack on the Capitol Building to interrupt the certification of Electoral College votes. The prosecution’s demonstration captured the desperate plight of the Capitol Police officers as they were overrun and rioters broached the building, as well as surveillance videos showing the evacuation of Vice President Mike Pence and Senators Mitt Romney and Chuck Schumer running to safety.

 

Document 2

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono’s Remarks on Press Call Regarding Violence at U.S. Capitol

January 26, 2021

Source: FBI Press Release

FBI Assistant Director for the Washington FIeld Office Steven M. D’Antuono’s public remarks from January 26, 2021, are notable for a number of reasons, including the revelation that the bureau is working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to identify and arrest the person(s) responsible for placing pipe bombs at both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee, and that the agencies were jointly offering a $75,000 reward for help from the public. D’Antuono also stated that the bureau has received more than 200,000 tips from the public helping to identify participants in the attempted coup.

 

Document 3

Flash Message from Joint Operations Command to all D.C. National Guard Troops

January 6, 2021 at 5:39 PM

Source: New York Times Reporter Thomas Gibbons-Neff Twitter

This flash message from Joint Operations Command – sent at 5:39 PM – ordered all D.C. National Guard troops not presently supporting Operation First Amendment Support to report to the D.C. National Guard armory at 7 PM for encampment duty “in support of District and Federal Partners”.

 

Document 4

Notice of Resignation, Steven A. Sund

January 7, 2021

Source: ABC Reporter Ben Siegel’s Twitter

Former United States Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund’s two-paragraph resignation letter to the Capitol Police Board states he is resigning, effective January 16, 2021, and that “as discussed, I will transition into a sick leave status effective January 17, 2021, until I exhaust my available sick leave balance of approximately 440 hours.”

 

Document 5

House Sergeant at Arms Resigns

January 11, 2021

Source: The Washington Post

This video shows the House clerk reading House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving’s letter of resignation aloud on the floor. The resignation was accepted without objection.

 

Document 6

McConnell on Resignation of Senate Sergeant at Arms

January 7, 2021

Source: Senator McConnell Press Release

A resignation letter from Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger has yet to be made public, but then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a press release on January 7, 2021, stating, “Today I requested and received the resignation of Michael Stenger, the Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, effective immediately.”

 

Document 7

Testimony of Robert J. Contee III,  Acting Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C.

February 23, 2021

Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Hearing, Examining the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol

Acting D.C. Police Chief Robert J. Contee III’s testimony adds to the emerging timeline of the day’s events and details the actions MPD took to restore order at the Capitol during the seven hours “between the urgent call for help from the Capitol Police to MPD and the resumption of work by both houses of Congress.”

 

Document 8

Testimony of Steven A. Sund, Former Chief of Police, U.S. Capitol Police

February 23, 2021

Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Hearing, Examining the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol

Steven A. Sund’s detailed written testimony meticulously outlines the USCP’s preparations for January 6, as well as the chronology of the day’s events. Despite the thorough outline, there is still the large, lingering question of why the Pentagon delayed – for over two hours – authorizing the use of the D.C. National Guard.

 

Document 9

Testimony of Michael C. Stenger, Former Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, U.S. Senate

February 23, 2021

Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Hearing, Examining the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol

Michael C. Stenger’s prepared remarks, considerably shorter than his peers at only one page, state: “There is an opportunity to learn lessons from the events of January 6th. Investigations should be considered as to funding and travel of what appears to be professional agitators. First Amendment rights should always be considered in conjunction with professional investigations.”

 

Document 10

Testimony of Paul D. Irving, Former Sergeant At Arms, U.S. House of Representatives

February 23, 2021

Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Hearing, Examining the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol

The most pertinent part of Paul D. Irving’s testimony also surrounds the Pentagon’s delay in activating the D.C. National Guard, and corroborates Sund’s testimony. Irving states, “Since that time, I have seen the timeline published by the Department of Defense (DOD). I have no personal knowledge of the information in DOD’s timeline, but I am aware that it reports the Secretary of the Army received a request from Mayor Bowser at 1:34 p.m., and that the National Guard received a request from Chief Sund at 1:49 p.m. Regardless of whether the National Guard was requested at 1:34 p.m. and 1:49 p.m. according to the DOD’s own timeline, or shortly after 2:00 p.m., it is clear that the National Guard was not quick to respond – as we 4 had planned – and it was several hours before they were onsite.”


Document 11

Warner Urges Wireless Carriers and Technology Companies to Preserve Evidence Related to the Attack on the U.S. Capitol

January 9, 2021

Source: Senator Warner Press Release

A press release from Senator Mark Warner says that the Senator sent letters to AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Apple, Facebook, Gab, Google, Parler, Signal, Telegram, and Twitter urging them “to immediately preserve content and associated meta-data connected to Wednesday’s insurrectionist attack on the United States Capitol.” Warner goes on to note, “The prospect of litigation on behalf of the victims of the mayhem also is highly likely. Messaging data to and from your subscribers that may have participated in, or assisted, those engaged in this insurrection – and associated subscriber information – are critical evidence in helping to bring these rioters to justice.”

 

Document 12

Title: Whitehouse Statement on Insurrection, Colleagues’ Role

January 11, 2021

Source: Senator Whitehouse Press Release

Senate Judiciary Chair Sheldon Whitehouse’s statement pointedlety notes: “Because Congress has protections from the Department of Justice under separation of powers, specifically the Speech and Debate Clause, significant investigation will need to be done in the Senate. Because of massive potential conflict of interest, Senators Cruz, Hawley, and Johnson (at least) need to be off all relevant committees reviewing this matter until the investigation of their role is complete.”

 

Document 13

DOD releases timeline to address critical delays in sending in the National Guard

Defense Department, Untitled timeline, January 8, 2021

Source: The Washington Post

Two days after the riot, the Defense Department released a three-page timeline in an attempt to answer mounting questions about the catastrophic decision to delay sending in the D.C. National Guard to assist the Capitol Police. The Washington Post reports that “a senior D.C. official expressed skepticism that some details in the Pentagon timeline are accurate.” Namely, that while the Pentagon said it approved activating the National Guard at 3:04 p.m., neither D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser nor acting D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert J. Contee III received word from the DOD to that effect until nearly 3:30 p.m.


Document 14

What Parler Saw During the Attack on the Capitol

January 17, 2021

Source: ProPublica

This collection of over 500 videos and selfies published on the social media platform Parler and collected by dozens of ProPublica contributors provides "one of the most comprehensive records of a dark event in American history through the eyes of those who took part."