US Capitol rioters ‘came prepared for war’, Senate hears in testimony

Testifying on Tuesday in the first congressional hearing on the US Capitol attack, the chief of Capitol police who resigned over the riot said the pro-Trump mob which stormed the building “came prepared for war”.

Merrick Garland would seem to agree. In a confirmation hearing on Monday which set the scene for Tuesday’s session before the Senate homeland security and rules committees, Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general said he would expand the criminal investigation into the 6 January assault, telling Congress domestic terrorism is a greater threat to American democracy than it has been for decades.

Before the Senate judiciary committee, Garland described the insurrection of Trump supporters and white supremacists as “a heinous act that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy”. He said his first act if confirmed would be to focus on domestic terror.

Describing the events of 6 January as “not necessarily a one-off”, Garland, currently a federal judge, pledged to use the full powers of the justice department to prevent a repeat attack.

“I intend to look more broadly at where this is coming from, what other groups there might be that could raise the same problem in the future,” he said.

On Tuesday, the two top officials in charge of securing the Capitol the day of the deadly assault were called to give evidence to Congress.

Paul Irving, the former sergeant-at-arms for the House, and Michael Stenger, his equivalent for the Senate, both resigned after the breach. Their testimony marked the start of a congressional investigation into security lapses behind the insurrection.

Stenger said: “This was a violent, coordinated attack where the loss of life could have been much worse.”

Irving said: “Based on the intelligence, we all believed that the plan met the threat, and we were prepared. We now know we had the wrong plan.”

Source: US Politics -


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