F.B.I. Is Pursuing ‘Hundreds’ in Capitol Riot Inquiry, Wray Tells Congress

WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. is pursuing doubtlessly lots of extra suspects in the Capitol riot, the company’s director advised Congress on Tuesday, calling the hassle to seek out these answerable for the lethal assault “one of the most far-reaching and extensive” investigations in the bureau’s historical past.

“We’ve already arrested close to 500, and we have hundreds of investigations that are still ongoing beyond those 500,” Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, advised the House Oversight Committee.

His assurances of how significantly the company was taking the assault by a pro-Trump mob got here as lawmakers pressed him and army commanders on why they didn’t do extra to forestall the siege regardless of threats from extremists to commit violence.

“The threats, I would say, were everywhere,” mentioned Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York Democrat who’s the chairwoman of the Oversight Committee. “The system was blinking red.”

Ms. Maloney confronted Mr. Wray with messages from the social media website Parler, which she mentioned referred threats of violence to the F.B.I. greater than 50 instances earlier than the assault on Jan. 6. One message, which Ms. Maloney mentioned Parler had despatched to an F.B.I. liaison on Jan. 2, was from a poster who warned, “Don’t be surprised if we take the Capitol building,” and “Trump needs us to cause chaos to enact the Insurrection Act.”

“I do not recall hearing about this particular email,” Mr. Wray replied. “I’m not aware of Parler ever trying to contact my office.”

In hearings earlier than two congressional committees on Tuesday, lawmakers sought new details about the safety failures that helped result in the violence.

At one listening to, Ms. Maloney introduced her committee’s analysis into the delayed response of the National Guard, which confirmed that the Capitol Police and Washington officers made 12 “urgent requests” for his or her assist and that Army leaders advised the National Guard to “stand by” 5 instances because the violence escalated.

“That response took far too long,” Ms. Maloney mentioned. “This is a shocking failure.”

Documents obtained by the committee confirmed that, starting at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 6, prime officers on the Defense Department obtained pleas for assist from the Capitol Police chief, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington and different officers. But the National Guard didn’t arrive till 5:20 p.m., greater than 4 hours after the Capitol perimeter had been breached.

“The National Guard was literally waiting, all ready to go, and they didn’t receive the green light for a critical time period, hours on end,” mentioned Representative Ro Khanna, Democrat of California and a member of the committee.

Lawmakers had robust questions for Gen. Charles Flynn, who instructions the U.S. Army Pacific, and Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, the director of the Army workers, each of whom had been concerned in a key telephone name with police leaders through the riot in which Army officers apprehensive aloud concerning the “optics” of sending in the Guard, in keeping with these concerned. It was the primary time lawmakers had heard from both normal.

In their testimony, they described the frantic name in which the chiefs of the Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police grew to become agitated as they tried unsuccessfully to get army assist whereas rioters attacked their officers on the Capitol.

“Both speakers on the phone sounded highly agitated and even panicked,” General Flynn recalled.

By distinction, he mentioned, General Piatt was a “calm” and “combat-experienced leader.”

General Piatt has defended his caution in initially advising in opposition to sending in the National Guard, telling the committee that he was “definitely concerned” in the times earlier than Jan. 6 “about the public perception of using soldiers to secure the election process in any manner that could be viewed as political.”

He advised the committee that National Guard forces had been “not trained, prepared or equipped to conduct this type of law enforcement operation.”

“When people’s lives are on the line, two minutes is too long,” General Piatt mentioned. “But we were not positioned for that urgent request. We had to re-prepare so we would send them in prepared for this new mission.”

General Flynn is the brother of Michael T. Flynn, President Donald J. Trump’s disgraced former nationwide safety adviser who has emerged as one of the former president’s biggest promoters of the lie of a stolen election.

In submitted testimony, General Flynn mentioned he had not participated in the decision however merely overheard parts of it when he entered the room whereas it was in progress. He mentioned that he had not heard any dialogue of political issues with regard to sending in the Guard.

“I did not use the word ‘optics,’ nor did I hear the word used during the call on Jan. 6, 2021,” he mentioned.

The panel didn’t hear testimony from the performing chief of the Capitol Police, Yogananda D. Pittman, who declined to attend, citing her want to listen to testimony on the different listening to, earlier than the House Administration Committee. Republicans had been fast to criticize her determination and repeatedly referred to her absence through the session, which stretched into the night.

Ms. Maloney mentioned she was additionally “disappointed,” however she added that Chief Pittman had dedicated to testifying on July 21.

In a simultaneous session on Tuesday afternoon, the House Administration Committee heard testimony from Michael A. Bolton, the Capitol Police inspector normal, and Gretta L. Goodwin, the director of homeland safety and justice for the Government Accountability Office.

Mr. Bolton testified about his fourth investigative report into the failures of Jan. 6, which discovered that the division’s tactical unit didn’t have entry to “adequate training facilities” or satisfactory insurance policies in place for securing ballistic helmets and vests (two dozen had been stolen through the riot); the company’s first responder unit was additionally not geared up with satisfactory less-lethal weapons, among other findings.

Mr. Bolton’s experiences discovered that the Capitol Police had clearer warnings concerning the riot than had been beforehand recognized, together with the potential for violence in which “Congress itself is the target.” He additionally revealed that officers had been instructed by their leaders to not use their most aggressive ways to carry off the mob, in half as a result of they feared that they lacked the coaching to deal with the tools wanted to take action.

About 140 officers were injured through the assault, and 7 folks died in reference to the siege, together with one officer who had multiple strokes after sparring with rioters.

“It is our duty to honor those officers who have given their lives but also ensuring the safety of all those working and visiting the Capitol complex by making hard changes within the department,” Mr. Bolton mentioned.

Ms. Goodwin mentioned that a few of the command-and-control points had been flagged by her company in 2017. But the Capitol Police Board, which oversees the operations of the power, had not acted on the Government Accountability Office’s suggestions or responded to its requests for progress experiences.

“As of today, the board has not provided us with any substantive information consistent with the practices noted above,” she mentioned.

At earlier hearings on the assault, some House Republicans used the chance to attempt to rewrite the history of what happened on Jan. 6, downplaying or outright denying the violence and deflecting efforts to analyze it.

On Tuesday, some Republicans on the Oversight Committee tried to redirect the inquiry into different matters, calling for investigations of Black Lives Matter protesters or the Biden household.

“I would love to ask about the Durham report, Hunter Biden’s laptop, Hunter’s business dealings in China and a host of other things,” mentioned Representative Jody B. Hice, Republican of Georgia.

The hearings got here as Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the bulk chief, highlighted on the Senate flooring an evaluation from the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security that concluded that adherents to the pro-Trump conspiracy concept QAnon were likely to try to carry out violence, “including harming perceived members of the ‘cabal’ such as Democrats and other political opposition.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California mentioned on Tuesday that she was contemplating transferring ahead with a choose committee to additional examine the Capitol riot.

Ms. Pelosi mentioned her choice was for the Senate to approve a bipartisan fee, however that not appeared doable after Senate Republicans blocked it.

“We can’t wait any longer,” she mentioned.

Emily Cochrane and Glenn Thrush contributed reporting.

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