WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, a series of two-pronged investigative hearings will begin in the Senate to investigate the security breaches that failed to prevent the deadly Capitol riot, the most violent attack in more than 200 years on the building where Congress is meeting.
At a joint meeting of two Senate committees, lawmakers will have the opportunity to question the officials responsible for securing the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack, when Capitol Police officers and members of the city's Metropolitan Police Department called as a gang overrun reinforcements as the vice president and members of the House and Senate gathered inside.
It will be the first time that the public will hear that day from the two top security officials in the Capitol, both of whom resigned after the breach. Paul D. Irving, the house's former sergeant-at-arms, and Michael C. Stenger, the former senate's sergeant-at-arms, have come under scrutiny amid reports that they have not acted quickly enough to to summon the National Guard. The committees will also hear from Steven A. Sund, the former chief of the US Capitol Police, who also resigned after the attack, and Robert J. Contee III, the chief of the Metropolitan Police Department.
What we expect to see: Tuesday's hearing is the first in a series of surveillance hearings hosted by Senator Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat and chairman of the board panel, and Senator Gary Peters, Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. They will be joined by the top Republicans on the panels, Senators Roy Blunt from Missouri and Rob Portman from Ohio.
When we'll likely see it: The hearing begins at 10 a.m. Senators will issue opening statements and swear witnesses, who will make their own comments and answer questions from lawmakers, taking turns with Democrats and Republicans. A joint hearing means nearly twice as many senators asking questions, which probably means a long day.
How to follow: The New York Times convention team will monitor all developments on Capitol Hill. Visit nytimes.com during the day for live coverage.
What we will learn
Senators in both sides have said they want to find out what happened on January 6. Despite ample intelligence to suggest that right-wing militias and extremist groups supporting President Donald J. Trump were plotting violence – and that even Congressional law enforcement officers were overburdened and inadequately equipped during the riot.
Lawmakers are expected to question witnesses in detail about what threats they knew and how they prepared themselves, which they did when it became clear that the situation was spiraling out of control and why they failed to secure the Capitol against the pro. -Trump crowd.
There are also likely questions as to why the National Guard was not called faster to help quell the violence and who was responsible for the chaotic decision-making and communication breakdowns that contributed to a nearly two-hour delay between when Mr. the request for troops and when it was approved.
Will there be a 9/11 style committee?
Even when the hearing was scheduled, Speaker Nancy Pelosi proposed the formation of an independent, two-party, fact-finding committee on the model of whoever investigated the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The idea aroused interest from both parties, but already sparked some partisan rifts.
Republicans oppose Ms. Pelosi's blueprint for the committee – which would allow each of the top four congressional leaders to nominate two members and President Biden to name three, including the committee chair – because it would allow the board of directors skew to the Democrats.
California Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy and the minority leader said in a statement that the committee should be split evenly between both sides.
The 10 members National Commission for Terrorist Attacks on the United States, which was the product of an intense round of negotiations on Capitol Hill, had five members named by Republicans and five by Democrats.