A Senate investigation into the US Capitol riots has uncovered a “number of intelligence and security failures” leading up to and on the day violence erupted.
On 6 January pro-Trump supporters broke into the Capitol building, vandalised and destroyed property and ransacked offices as Congress met to certify Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.
Seven people died, including three police officers, and dozens were arrested in the aftermath of the attack.
The 95-page report found intelligence officers, including the FBI, failed to issue any warning of potential attacks on the Capitol, leaving police officers unprepared to deal with rioters.
It said the police’s intelligence unit “knew about social media posts calling for violence at the Capitol” including a plot to breach the building, online sharing of maps of the area’s tunnel systems and other specific threats.
Published by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Rules committees, it also said Capitol Police were compromised by multiple issues and its incident command system “broke down” during the insurrection.
The report said Chief of Police at the time, Steven Sund, believed officers would need support securing the area but did not order an operational plan ahead of time – which resulted in a lack of leadership during the riots.
“I was horrified that no deputy chief or above was on the radio or helping us,” one officer told the committee in an anonymous statement.
“For hours the screams on the radio were horrific, the sights were unimaginable and there was a complete loss of control.”
The report also noted the lack of “effective protective equipment” for officers.
The Capitol Police Labor Committee released a statement recounting some of the serious injuries seen, which said there were officers “who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who sustained brain injuries” as well as an officer with “two cracked ribs” and another who was “going to lose his eye”.
The Senate report recounted how the National Guard was delayed for hours due to a “lack of emergency authority” to obtain the necessary approvals for its assistance and the failure by Capitol Police to request its help before 6 January.
Deployed troops did not arrive until about 5:20pm – nearly three hours after they were requested – and by which time the House and Senate chambers had already been declared secure.
The committees have made several recommendations following the investigation including giving the Chief of Police the power to request National Guard help in an emergency, improvements to officers’ training, equipment, intelligence collection and operational planning.
The report also found:
• Capitol Police officers were not provided periodic training in basic civil disturbance tactics
• The police incident command system “broke down during the attack, leaving front line officers without key information or instructions as events unfolded”
• Capitol Police Board members in charge did not “fully understand” the requirements for asking for assistance from other agencies or declaring emergencies
• The Department of Defense’s response was “informed by criticism” of its “heavy-handed” response to the protests last summer that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis
Big win for Joe Biden as Democrats land outright majority in the US Senate, NBC News projects
Democrat Raphael Warnock has been re-elected to the US Senate in a crucial win for President Joe Biden, NBC News has projected.
His expected victory gives Democrats an outright majority in the Senate after two years under a 50-50 divide, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting tie-breaking votes.
Mr Warnock defeated Republican rival Herschel Walker during the Georgia race – a former NFL star.
A run-off election was triggered because neither candidate had won an outright majority during the midterm elections last month.
In his victory speech, Mr Warnock told supporters: “After a hard-fought campaign – or should I say campaigns – it is my honour to utter the four most powerful words ever spoken in a democracy: The people have spoken.”
Mr Biden called him to offer his congratulations.
He tweeted: “Tonight Georgia voters stood up for our democracy, rejected Ultra MAGAism, and most importantly: sent a good man back to the Senate. Here’s to six more years.”
Mr Walker, an American football legend in the 1980s, was unable to overcome a bevy of damaging allegations, including claims he paid for two former girlfriends’ abortions.
A multimillionaire businessman, he inflated his philanthropic activities and business achievements, including claiming his company employed hundreds of people and grossed tens of millions of dollars in sales annually, even though records indicate he had eight employees and averaged about $1.5m (£1.2m) a year.
He has suggested he has worked as a law enforcement officer and was a college (university) graduate, though he has done neither.
His Senate run was endorsed by former president Donald Trump.
Yet another signal America is moving away from Donald Trump as a political force
Having followed Herschel Walker on the campaign trail in Georgia, it is difficult to believe this race ever went to a runoff.
The former NFL star has consistently struggled to convey a coherent message, with badly delivered speeches in contrast with his opponent, Reverend Raphael Warnock, a preacher by trade who commands an audience.
Walker was handpicked as a nominee by the former president, Donald Trump, but his reputation was smashed to smithereens during the course of the campaign.
He ran on an anti-abortion pledge, yet two women emerged to allege he paid for them to have an abortion after they became pregnant by him (claims he denies). He also condemned absentee fathers, particularly in black households, but later acknowledged he has a son he never sees.
But his defeat is not only important for Democrats because of the rejection of his personal integrity – or lack thereof – and the “Make America Great Again” values he espoused.
It also means that – for the first time in Joe Biden’s presidency – his party has an outright majority in the senate.
The new 51-49 split means Democrats can speed up judicial nominees and control committees in the Senate. But it also avoids a situation where one senator – in the past two years it has been Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema – can wield their swing vote as a weapon.
Perhaps most significantly, though, it is yet another signal that America is moving away from Mr Trump as a political force.
On the campaign, Mr Warnock, the state’s first black senator, promoted his Senate accomplishments, touting a provision he sponsored to cap insulin costs for low income patients, and deals on infrastructure and maternal healthcare.
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said Mr Warnock’s victory was one “against MAGA Republican extremist policies”.
The closing weeks of the election period grew increasingly bitter. Mr Walker labelled Mr Warnock – senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia’s capital – as a “hypocrite” and servile to President Joe Biden.
Although a Democrat, Mr Warnock had been attempting to distance himself from Mr Biden, whose approval ratings have lagged as inflation in the US remains high.
The Democrats’ new outright majority in the Senate does not mean an end to divided government, as the Republicans narrowly flipped House control in recent midterms, but it does mean they will now hold control of powerful committees.
Donald Trump firm guilty of defrauding tax authorities for more than 15 years
Donald Trump’s real estate company has been found guilty of running a criminal scheme to defraud tax authorities for 15 years.
The scheme operated by The Trump Organization included avoiding paying personal income taxes on perks such as rent-free apartments and luxury cars.
“The smorgasbord of benefits is designed to keep its top executives happy and loyal,” prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told
jurors during his closing argument on Friday.
The firm, which operates hotels, golf courses and other real estate around the world had pleaded not guilty.
The former US president was not personally charged in the case.
The Trump Organization had argued that chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, 75, ran the scheme to benefit himself.
He is on paid leave and testified that he received more than $1m in salary and bonus payments this year.
The firm will be sentenced on 13 January. Trump Organization lawyer Alan Futerfas told reporters the company would appeal.
While the firm now faces paying a fine, it is considered unlikely that it would cause serious damage to a company of its size. The group comprises about 500 business entities.
However, the conviction could make lenders and partners think twice.
The Trump Organization also faces a fraud lawsuit brought by New York state Attorney General Letitia James.
And Donald Trump himself is being investigated by the US Department of Justice over his handling of sensitive government documents after he left office in January 2021 – and attempts to overturn the November 2020 election, which he lost to Joe Biden.
Republican leader snubbed as police who defended US Capitol honoured
The Republicans’ leader in the Senate has been snubbed by the family of a police officer who died following the US Capitol riots on 6 January 2021.
It happened during a ceremony held for officers who defended the Washington DC landmark against Donald Trump supporters.
The officers have been honoured with Congressional gold medals for “courageously answering the call to defend our democracy in one of the nation’s darkest hours”, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell commented: “Thank you for having our backs. Thank you for saving our country. Thank you for not only being our friends, but our heroes.”
But when the family of Brian Sicknick, who died after suffering two strokes on 7 January, passed Mr McConnell in a line-up, they refused to shake his outstretched hand.
In contrast, the Democrats’ leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, received a kiss from Gladys Sicknick, the late officer’s mother.
Recognising the hundreds of officers who were at the Capitol on 6 January, the medals will be placed in four locations: US Capitol Police headquarters, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Capitol and the Smithsonian Institution.
President Joe Biden said one was being placed at the Smithsonian museum “so all visitors can understand what happened that day”.
“Many of us still carry the mental, physical and emotional scars,” Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said.
He told the officers: “It was your blood, your sweat and your tears that marked these grounds.”
US Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger called it a “day unlike any other in our nation’s history – and for us”.
He added: “It was a day defined by chaos, courage and tragic loss.”
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