Lofgren Opening Statement at Hearing, “Oversight of the U.S. Capitol Police and Preparations For and Response To the Attack of January 6”

Apr 15, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) made the following remarks at the outset of today’s hearing, Oversight Of The United States Capitol Police And Preparations For And Response To The Attack Of January 6th:

“I’d like to note that tomorrow marks 100 days from the horrific insurrectionist attack on the United States Capitol on January 6.  Among other steps taken by the House to respond to the attack, the Committee on House Administration has assisted and monitored two important reviews which were undertaken at the same time.

“First, the House engaged Lieutenant General Russel Honoré and a team of highly decorated and experienced former military and other leaders to assess Capitol security.  Second, at the same time, immediately after the attack, U.S. Capitol Police Inspector General Bolton set aside his team’s ongoing work to focus on an urgent review of the Department’s performance related to the attack, including its preparations for and response during the attack.  Inspector General Bolton recently provided his initial findings to congressional oversight committees in the form of “Flash Reports.”  Both of those reviews and that their initial findings and recommendation have been shared with Members on a bipartisan basis.  We will review and study them carefully as part of our oversight responsibility to the House.

“The purpose of today’s hearing is to hear directly from the Inspector General of the U.S. Capitol Police what he has found about the Department’s preparations for and response to the attack.  But as we undertake this review, we must not forget why there was an attack to respond to in the first place.

Who said this? “American citizens attacked their own government. They used terrorism to try to stop a specific piece of democratic business they did not like.  Fellow Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the Senate floor.  They tried to hunt down the Speaker of the House.  They built gallows and chanted about murdering the Vice President.  They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth — because he was angry he'd lost an election. … There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day.”

“And that was Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Mitch McConnell.

Who said this? “Former President Trump “incited that bloody insurrection for nothing more than selfish reasons … He claimed voter fraud without any evidence, and repeated those claims, taking advantage of the trust placed in him by his supporters and ultimately betraying that trust.”

“And that was Former Speaker John Boehner.

Who said this? “January 6 was clearly an attack that was attempted to stop the counting of electoral votes. … It’s very important for people to realize that a fundamental part of the Constitution, and as who we are as Americans, is the rule of law.  It’s the judicial process.  The election wasn’t stolen.  There was a judicial process in place.  If you attack the judicial process, and you attack the rule of law, you aren’t defending the Constitution, you’re at war with the Constitution.” 

“And that was Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the [Chair] of the Republican Conference.

“Former President Trump’s actions – inciting and encouraging the domestic terrorists who attacked the Capitol – are why bipartisan and historic majorities in the House and Senate concluded that it was both constitutional and necessary to impeach and convict former President Trump for those actions, including his false statements, and to disqualify him from holding future office.  That proceeding was about accountability for former President Trump.

“The Department of Justice is pursuing accountability for the attackers.  FBI Director Chris Wray has described the attack as “political terrorism.”  So far, hundreds of people have been criminally charged, and federal prosecutors have described this effort as “likely the most complex investigation every prosecuted by the Department of Justice.”

“But today’s hearing is about accountability for and oversight of the U.S. Capitol Police’s role and performance in responding to the attack and keeping the Capitol safe.  Unfortunately, as we will hear from Inspector General Michael Bolton, his initial review has found that the Department’s preparations for and response to the attack were deficient in several key respects.

“His initial findings differ significantly from the prior versions of events offered by Department officials, including in congressional testimony, and detail what he believes to be a number of critical shortcomings of the Department and its leadership.  The deficiencies and inadequacies the Inspector General has identified to date can be categorized in four key themes: (1) Training; (2) Planning, Policies, and Procedures; (3) Intelligence; and (4) Leadership and Culture.    

“Today’s hearing is focused on the U.S. Capitol Police.  But let us be clear that our important, and necessary, review of the Department’s performance as an institution and its leadership does not diminish the courage and valor of the men and women who so bravely fought to defend the Capitol on January 6.

“Officers lost their lives as a result of that horrific attack.  Scores more – not just from the Capitol Police, but other responding agencies – suffered grievous injuries.  For example:

  • Officers were viciously beaten with flagpoles – including some displaying “Blue Lives Matter” flags and the American flag.
  • They were assaulted with powerful bear spray and other chemicals.
  • An officer was crushed in a heavy door as he was attacked.
  • An officer who was beaten so badly she lost consciousness.
  • One officer lost an eye.  Another lost fingers.
  • Another officer had his own Taser used against him – to the point that he suffered a heart attack.
  • Dozens of officers contracted COVID – an illness that we are still coming to fully understand, but that doctors believe can have serious long-term effects, including significant neurological and cardiac problems.

“In our nation’s history, six citizens have lain in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.  Of those distinguished Americans, four were U.S. Capitol Police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the nation’s Capitol.  Two of them – Officer Brian Sicknick and Officer William “Billy” Evans – made that sacrifice in just the last three months.  This afternoon, as Officer Evans is laid to rest in Massachusetts, let us remember and honor their memories.  And let us all work together to make the Capitol Police Department stronger and more effective not just to keep the Capitol and those work here safer – but to keep the men and women who wear its uniform safe, as well.

“The January 6 attack was a horrific, traumatic event – for everyone who was present, their families and loved ones, and those who witnessed it.  For the whole country, I would like to take a moment to remind all Members and legislative branch staff that counseling and other assistance is available to you, should you need it. 

“I would now like to recognize the Ranking Member for the purposes of providing an opening statement.”

For a video of her delivering these remarks during the hearing, click here.

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Congress Number: 
117th Congress