- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2023

ORLANDO, Fla. — House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil said Monday his panel will investigate the breakdown of security during the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 and explore ways to keep the Capitol grounds secure while keeping it open to the public.

“We didn’t have a proper after-action report that actually looked at how we secure the Capitol and keep it open to the American people. Instead, we had a politicized Jan. 6 Select Committee with no one appointed by then-minority leader, now Speaker of [the] House Kevin McCarthy,” he said.

“What I think we actually should be doing is looking to make sure how we secure the Capitol to prevent a breach of security from occurring,” Mr. Steil said in an exclusive interview with The Washington Times at the House GOP retreat here.

According to the Wisconsin Republican, the House Administration Committee has already spoken to one of the three members of the Capitol Police Board, which at the time of the Jan. 6 riot had the authority to declare an emergency. Since that day, people who held positions on the board changed: the chief of Capitol Police, Senate Sergeant at Arms and the House Sergeant at Arms.

“We had a hearing with the architect of the Capitol, the third member of the Capitol Police Board, who said he didn’t even come to work on Jan. 6 … where he more or less said he did not have actual intelligence of a threat on Jan. 6,” Mr. Steil said.

In the last Congress, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed all nine members of the Jan. 6 Select Committee, including two Republican lawmakers — then-Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. Both were both anti-Trump Republicans. 

That select committee focused its investigation primarily on former President Donald Trump and how much he was to blame for the pro-Trump supporters who breached the Capitol following a “Stop the Steal” rally he had in Washington that day. 

Almost 1,000 people have been arrested by the FBI and charged by the Justice Department over their involvement in the riot at the Capitol, which Democrats have denounced as an “insurrection.”

Almost two weeks ago, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a member of the committee, told reporters that his subcommittee will launch an inquiry into the now-defunct Democratic-controlled Jan. 6 panel.

“As a subcommittee on House administration, Loudermilk is going to spearhead that work. We’ll follow where the facts go,” Mr. Steil said. “But I think the important piece is that we make sure that we’re actually securing the United States Capitol, rather than simply trying to use what occurred in a partisan and political manner.”

Mr. Loudermilk told reporters earlier in the month that he anticipates the first hearing on his investigations will likely be in April.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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