Rep. Nancy Pelosi was among the key players whom former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund said was responsible for the breakdown in security that led to the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Mr. Sund testified before the House Administration oversight subcommittee Tuesday and told lawmakers that at the time of the attack, he learned that then-House Speaker Pelosi never wanted the National Guard deployed.
According to Mr. Sund, on Jan. 3, 2021, he talked to House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger about calling in the National Guard. He was told by Mr. Stenger would ask the Maj. Gen. William Walker, who was the commander of the D.C. National Guard, how quickly his troops could deploy to the Capitol Complex if necessary.
Mr. Sund said at the hearing that four months after the riot, Mr. Stenger told him Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, did not want the guard on capitol grounds that day.
“I said, ‘Mr. Stenger, you came up with that response fairly quickly for me to call Gen. Walker.’ And he told me Paul Irving had called him ahead of time and said, ‘Sund came here asking for the National Guard. We’ve got to come up with another plan. Pelosi will never go for it.’ I was floored by him saying that.”
According to Mr. Sund, on the day when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol and disrupted Congress’ certification of President Biden’s win, he contacted Mr. Irving at 12:58 p.m. and requested they call in the National Guard.
“He was fully aware of just how bad it was outside …. and I did not get the approval,” he said.
He said Mr. Irving said he would “run it up the chain” to get approval.
Final approval, which Mr. Sund interpreted as getting from Mrs. Pelosi, was not received for another 71 minutes, he said.
Mr. Sund resigned on Jan. 16, 2021, after Mrs. Nancy called for him to step down from his post and blamed him for not securing the Capitol.
He maintains that he called the National Guard six times for three days before the attack but they didn’t deploy.
Republican lawmakers excoriated Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Irving for making Mr. Sund a scapegoat the day the Capitol was breached by pro-Trump protesters.
“None of us in this room are saying what happened on Jan. 6 was correct. But I absolutely believe the conditions for that to occur rests at the former speaker’s lap, and those the two Sergeant at Arms and complicit with other individuals,” said Rep. Greg Murphy of North Carolina. “It’s one thing for something to occur, but it’s another thing to create the conditions for that to occur.”
Rep. Norma Torres of California, the top Democrat on the panel, turned the panel’s attention to former President Donald Trump’s involvement in spurring the attack.
“In the weeks and months leading up to Jan. 6, Trump continued to incite unrest, accusing Democrats of rigging the election and referring to it as the biggest scam in our nation’s history,” she said. “The former president orchestrated a corrupt scheme to overturn the results of a free and fair election. And when that didn’t work, he incited he incited his supporters to violence.”
House Republican leaders promised to scrutinize the defunct Democratic-run House Jan. 6 Select Committee from the last Congress, which GOP lawmakers say botched a proper after-action report by politicizing the investigation and not focusing on preventing future security breaches.