WASHINGTON — In the days following the attack on the United States Capitol, a high-level military account from the Department of Defense provides insight into the hours before and after the attack.
It appears that Capitol Police officers were overrun on their own turf, and looking back there were warnings that something like this could happen.
A Department of Defense (DOD) timeline shows D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser began preparing for pro-Trump supporters to come to the District on Jan. 31. On New Year's Eve, the Mayor submitted a request for D.C. National Guard support.
On Jan. 3, 2021, the Acting Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met with the President, who concurred in activating the Guard to support law enforcement.
Also on Jan. 3, the Department of Defense confirmed with the U.S. Capitol Police there was no request for Department of Defense support.
That request was echoed on Jan. 4 when USCP confirmed again there would be no requirement for Department of Defense support.
That confirmation came despite warnings of pro-Trump demonstrations taking place in D.C.
Several people briefed on the law enforcement's response told the Associated Press the U.S. Capitol Police Department did not bolster its staff.
Fast forward to Jan. 6 shortly after 1 p.m. the Acting Secretary of Defense received reports that demonstrators were moving to the Capitol.
At 1:26 the DOD timeline shows Capitol Police ordered an evacuation of the Capitol.
Not long after, at 1:34, the timeline from the Department of Defense shows Mayor Bowser had a call with the Secretary of the Army where she requested additional forces.
Fifteen minutes later, the Department of Defense timeline shows Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund also requested immediate assistance.
Shortly after 3 p.m. approval was granted to fully activate D.C. National Guard and DCNG began full mobilization.
During the riots and as communication was being put in a position to gather reinforcements, Ashan Benedict, who leads the Washington field division for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the rioters were apparently armed with more bear spray and pepper spray than the officers trying to keep them out.
It wasn’t until 8:00 p.m., according to the DOD timeline, that the Capitol was declared secure.
In the hours after the attack occurred, there was sharp criticism of the Capitol Police’s handling of the events, Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it a Capitol Police leadership failure.
On Jan. 7 Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund announced he would resign from the department.