House Republicans demand answers from Pelosi on security decisions leading up to Capitol riot


EXCLUSIVE: Top Republicans on several committees are demanding answers from Speaker Nancy Pelosi regarding security decisions made leading up to and on the day of the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

House Administration Committee Ranking Member Rodney Davis, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes sent a letter to Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday, saying that “many important questions” about her “responsibility for the security” of the Capitol on Jan. 6 “remain unanswered.”

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Davis, Jordan, Comer and Nunes pointed to claims made by former Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund, that he, on Jan. 4, approached the sergeants at arms to request the assistance of the National Guard. Sund, in a letter to Pelosi last month, said the former Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving said he was concerned about “the optics” and didn’t feel the “intelligence supported it.”

“As you are aware, the Speaker of the House is not only the leader of the majority party, but also has enormous institutional responsibilities,” they wrote. “The Speaker is responsible for all operational decisions made within the House.”

Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

The Republicans added that for the past two years, they have observed a “very heavy-handed and tightly controlled approach to House operations that has been exerted by yourself, your staff, and an army of appointed House officials.”

“When then-Chief Sund made a request for national guard support on January 4th, why was that request denied?” the Republicans wrote. “Did Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving get permission or instruction from your staff on January 4th prior to denying Chief Sund’s request for the national guard?”

In their letter, the Republicans also pointed to Sund’s Jan. 6 move to notify the Sergeant at Arms of his request for national guard support and said it “took over an hour for his request to be approved because the SAA had to run the request up the chain of command,” saying that chain “undoubtedly included” Pelosi and her “designees.”

Davis, Jordan, Comer and Nunes went on to slam Pelosi for her move to “unilaterally” fire Irving and demand the resignation of Sund.

“These decisions were made in a partisan manner without any consultation of House Republicans and therefore raise questions about the political motivations of your decisions,” they wrote.

Meanwhile, the Republicans pointed to Pelosi’s comments made on Jan. 7 during a press conference, in which she explained her reasoning for demanding Sund’s resignation, saying that he “hasn’t called us since this happened.”

Republicans said that claim was “refuted” by Sund, who “detailed two occasions that he briefed you on the situation on the Capitol campus—the first occurring at 5:36 p.m. and the second at 6:25 p.m., both on January 6th.”

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Sund, in a letter to Pelosi earlier this month, detailed these calls, saying that during the first call at 5:36 p.m., he briefed former Vice President Pence on the security posture and then claimed Pelosi joined the call, in which he “advised you both that the Chambers could be safely re-occupied by 7:30 p.m.”

Sund also detailed the call at “approximately 6:25 p.m.,” which he said was a conference call with congressional leadership that included Pelosi, now-Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, now-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. James Clyburn.

Following the firings of Irving and Sund, Pelosi, last month appointed retired Gen. Russel Honoré to lead a security review of the events at the Capitol amid calls from members on both sides of the aisle, in both chambers of Congress, to conduct a review.

“While there is wide-spread support to conduct an independent security review of the campus, General Russel Honoré was appointed solely by you, without consultation of the minority,” the Republicans wrote. “To the General’s credit he has reached out to several Republicans to brief on his work to date. We are hopeful his review will result in beneficial recommendations that are not influenced by political motivations.”

They added, however,  that “it is easy to understand why we and our Senate counterparts remain skeptical that any of his final recommendations will be independent and without influence from you.”

Davis, Jordan, Comer and Nunes also raised concerns about “obstruction and inability to procure and preserve information” from House officers when they have requested it.

“Such information is necessary to properly conduct oversight on the January 6th events,” they wrote. “Preservation and production requests were sent to the SAA and the House Chief Administrative Officer, among other legislative agencies, requesting that such relevant information concerning the attack on the Capitol, including correspondence, video footage, audio recordings, and other records, be preserved and produced to the relevant committees.”

“In multiple cases, your appointees, acting on your behalf, have denied requests to produce this information,” they continued. “The response we received was: ‘We regret to inform you that given the scope of the information requested and the concerns implicated by the nature of the request… we are unable to comply with the request at this time.’”

The Republicans added that despite the officers’ “refusal to comply with the request,” they learned that “some of the same material we requested was provided to the House Judiciary Committee on a partisan basis.”

“This is unacceptable. Madam Speaker, that direction could only have come from you,” they wrote.

“Lastly, your hyperbolic focus on fabricated internal security concerns has taken critical resources away from the real threat, which is from outside the U.S. Capitol,” they wrote. “Your decision to install magnetometers around the House Chamber is yet another example of this misdirection and misappropriation of House resources, which could be better used to protect members, staff, and official visitors from real, confirmed threats.”

They added: “Tellingly, Madam Speaker, you have failed to comply with this requirement yourself.”

“End this political charade, and work with us to protect the Capitol and those who work here every day,” they wrote.

The request from Republicans comes as Capitol Police have been under heightened scrutiny amid the siege of the Capitol on Jan. 6 during a joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College results in favor of President Joe Biden.

But Pelosi last week said she would introduce a resolution to give the Congressional Gold Medal — the highest honor Congress can bestow — to the U.S. Capitol Police officers and other law enforcement personnel who protected the Capitol during the riot.

“They are martyrs for our democracy, those who lost their lives,” Pelosi said during her weekly press conference.  

Five people died when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, including U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, 42, who was struck in the head by a fire extinguisher. Two other officers died by suicide in the week after the siege. 

“The service of the Capitol Police force that day brings honor to our democracy. Their accepting this reward brings luster to this medal,” the California Democrat said. “We must always remember their sacrifice and say vigilante against what I said before, about what Abraham Lincoln said: the silent artillery of time. We will never forget.”

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Pelosi said the attack on the Capitol highlighted the “extraordinary valor” of Capitol Police who “risked their lives,” including Officers Howard Leibengood, Jeffrey Smith and Eugene Goodman.

“We want to honor them in the best way we possibly can,” Pelosi said. “We will continue to do so beyond a medal, but in our hearts.”

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