Posts Tagged ‘Storming of the Capitol’

Why was Guard restricted in blocking mob?

March 5, 2021

Christopher C. Miller, appointed by President Trump as interim Secretary of Defense, restricted the District of Columbia National Guard in controlling pro-Trump demonstrators and in protecting the Capitol.

The memo above shows that the Guard were forbidden to disarm protestors or help police.  General William Walker, the commander of the D.C. National Guard, testified Wednesday that he also was forbidden in a later letter Jan. 5 deploy troops to the Capitol without permission from the Pentagon.

He said he would have sent troops immediately on Jan. 6 to protect the Capitol from pro-Trump rioters if his authority had not been restricted by the Pentagon.

As it was, he said, he had to wait more than three hours before getting the needed authorization.

The benign interpretation of Miller’s actions is that he was motivated by public relations concerns.  He may have feared being criticized for over-reacting as happened after the Black Lives Matter protests last June.

The sinister interpretation is that he was motivated by sympathy for the Stop the Steal protests.  Either way, he has a lot to answer for.

I don’t think we the public as yet know the full story of what happened on Jan. 6.


Christopher C. Miller Wikipedia biography.

Pentagon restricted commander of D.C. Guard ahead of Capitol riot by Paul Sonne for The Washington Post.

Trump Defense Secretary Disarmed D.C. National Guard Before Capitol Riot by Mark Sumner for The National Memo.

Pentagon prevented immediate response to mob, says Guard chief by Rebecca Beitsch for The Hill.

Pentagon hesitated on sending Guard to Capitol riot by Eric Tucker and Marie Clare Jalonick for the Associated Press.

Capitol riot probe zeroes in on Pentagon delay in sending troops by Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio for POLITICO.

House of Representatives gives in to fear

March 4, 2021

The House of Representatives canceled its session today because of fears of a “possible plot” by an obscure militia group known as the Three Percenters to storm the Capitol.

That’s shameful!  What are they afraid of?

There are thousands of National Guard troops being kept in Washington, D.C., just to protect Congress from a repetition of the events of Jan. 6.

I think there’s little likelihood of such a plot being real.  But even if it were, members of the House should be willing to stand up and show they are not going to be terrorized by threats, whether real or imaginary.

The U.S. Senate is meeting as usual.


Citing March 4 security threat, House cancels Thursday session by David Knowles for Yahoo News.

Capitol Police Officers say intel on possible March 4 plot being taken seriously by Jack Date, Luke Barr and Morgan Winsor for ABC News.

Nearly 5,000 National Guard troops to remain in Washington through mid-March by CNN.

Fake news and the storming of the Capitol

February 17, 2021

It is not true that Officer Brian Sicknick was beaten to death by a pro-Trump mob during the storming of the Capitol, Glenn Greenwald reported last night. 

This raises big questions about the credibility of reporting of the event and the justification for a “domestic war on terror.”

The report in the New York Times on Jan. 8, based on quotes from two anonymous law enforcement officials, and in a follow-up article.  It was cited as fact in the articles of impeachment against ex-President Donald Trump.

But on the same day, ProPublica published an article quoting Sicknick’s brother as having received a text from SIcknick after the riot saying he was okay, in spite of having been pepper-sprayed.  But then later they got word he had a blot clot and was on a ventilator.  He died that night.

Nobody has produced video evidence of the alleged beating of Sicknick.  Many of the rioters have been charged, but nobody has yet been charged with Sicknick’s murder. 

On Feb. 2, CNN published an article, noting in passing that the medical examiner’s report on Sicknick’s death has not been released, but quoting one investigator that there were no signs of head injuries and investigators no longer believe the fire extinguisher story.

I am not making excuses for Donald Trump or for the rioters.  It is clear to me that Trump intended the mob to storm the Capitol in order to intimidate Vice President Pence and the Senate into refusing to certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory.  This was wrong.  It was a symbolic and real attack on the democratic process.

Neither am I trying to trivialize the tragedy of Officer Sicknick’s death or deny that it was duty-related.

However, nothing is gained by false reporting or by believing false reporting.  You only weaken your cause.

I don’t fault the reporters of the initial NYT article.  When you’re reporting on deadline, you go with the information you’ve got.  But I do fault the NYT and the rest of the Washington press corps for not trying to check or verify the facts the next day. 

The great temptation for any reporter, as I know from my own experience, is to come across information that seems to confirm your biases and assumptions, and look no further.  This is the great fault of the so-called mainstream press in the Trump era.

The New York Times over many decades built a reputation as a reliable source of information by taking great care to be fair and accurate.  But it is much more easy to lose a good reputation than to gain one, and that is what is happening now.

Self-described liberals mock President Trump for talking about fake news.  They can’t understand why so many people believe things like the Q-Anon conspiracy.  But if respected institutions such as the NYT can’t be troubled to get things right, its editors and reporters shouldn’t be surprised if some people turn to disreputable sources.


The False and Exaggerated Claims Being Spread About the Capitol Riot by Glenn Greenwald.  “Insisting on factual accuracy does not make one an apologist for the protestors.  False reporting is never justified, especially to inflate threat and fear levels.”

“This Political Climate Got My Brother Killed”: Officer Brian Sicknick Died Defending the Capitol; His Family Waits for Answers by J. David McSwane for ProPublica.

Investigators struggle to build murder case in death of US Capitol Police Officer Brian SIcknick by Evan Perez, David Shortell and Whitney Wild for CNN.

MAGA Blood Libel: Why Are They Hiding the Medical Report? on Revolver News  [Added 2/18/2021]

Mom of US Capitol police officer Brian Sickwick believes he died of a stroke by Laura Collins for The Daily Mail.  [Added 2/24/2021]

What we know about Capitol Police officer Brian Sickwick’s death by Bill McCarthy for PolitiFact.  [Added 2/24/2021]