House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is concealing information about her culpability in the security breakdown during the Jan. 6 riot, according to Republican lawmakers who have been pursuing those documents since immediately after the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois said Mrs. Pelosi is stonewalling. He is the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, which oversees the management of the Capitol complex.
“The Sergeant at Arms, at the direction of the speaker has refused to provide us their communications surrounding Jan. 6. I believe those records will show there was a lot of communications and coordination between the speaker’s office and law enforcement officials leading up to and on Jan. 6,” Mr. Davis wrote in a statement Tuesday to The Washington Times.
He sent a letter Monday to Mrs. Pelosi that reiterated House Republicans’ demand for the release of documents and communications involving the decision not to deploy the National Guard for the mass protests anticipated that day.
“In the immediate aftermath of January 6th, Republicans began an examination of the Capitol’s security vulnerabilities. On Jan. 13, 2021, as the ranking Republican member of the House Administration Committee, I sent letters to the Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms, the House Chief Administrative Officer and the Acting Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) asking them to preserve all records relating to January 6th,” Mr. Davis wrote.
“Although the USCP immediately complied with my request to preserve and produce relevant documents, the House Sergeant-at-Arms and Chief Administrative Officer — the two House officers who report directly to you — responded jointly that they were ‘unable to comply with the request at this time.’ Now, nearly a year after this request, the House Sergeant-at-Arms and Chief Administrative Officer have yet to comply with my request.”
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House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, California Democrat, called Mr. Davis’ letter “pure revisionist fiction” and another attempt by Republicans to “distract and deflect” from the Jan. 6 mayhem.
“The Chief Administrative Officer and House Sergeant at Arms have already notified Ranking Member Davis they are complying with preservation requests and will fully cooperate with various law enforcement investigations and bonafide congressional inquiries,” Ms. Lofgren said in a statement. “House Democrats will continue to examine the facts, circumstances and causes of the January 6th attack, identify lessons learned, and recommend laws, policies, procedures, rules, or regulations necessary to protect our republic in the future.”
However, the Feb.1 response to Mr. Davis from the Capitol’s chief administrative officer and sergeant-at-arms denied the request to turn over documents.
“It’s been almost a year since the first request. We’ve made multiple attempts since to get this information but have been unsuccessful each time,” said Ashley Phelps, a spokeswoman for House Administration Committee Republicans. “If the House SAA and CAO do plan to comply with our request, we’d hope it would be this Congress. Speaker Pelosi could direct them to do so, and this wouldn’t be an issue.”
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, also is involved in the effort. He said there have been conflicting accounts about security preparations days before a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joseph R. Biden’s presidential election win.
“You have conflicting testimony from that time period. The Capitol Hill police have said that they asked for the National Guard to be present on Jan. 6. The sergeant-at-arms has said, ‘No, you didn’t.’ So one guy says we asked for it; the other guy says we didn’t,” Mr. Jordan said on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
“The guy who says we didn’t ask for it reports directly to the speaker and won’t turn over the documents. The guy who said we did ask for the National Guard, they’ve given us the information.”
The top Republicans on several House committees that started early probes into the Jan. 6 attack first sent Mrs. Pelosi a letter on Feb. 15 asking for her communications with law enforcement related to the security plans.
“It has been widely reported and confirmed by multiple sources that when Chief [Steven] Sund requested the National Guard be activated ahead of the January 6th Joint Session of Congress, the response from the [sergeant-at-arms], acting on your behalf, was that the ‘optics’ of having the National Guard on-site were not good and the intelligence didn’t support the move,” wrote the Republicans from the Administration, Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, and intelligence committees.
Senate Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, also have questioned Mrs. Pelosi’s responsibility for security at the Capitol before the riots.
Mr. Graham’s inquiries prompted Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill last year to tweet: “This disgraceful attempt to shift blame for the mob attack on the Capitol is absurd & pathetic. He need only look in the mirror if he wants to start pointing a finger. He has repeatedly cast doubts on results of a fair election & dangerously fanned flames of rightwing quackery.”