capitol riot
April 10, 2021

A previously undisclosed document prepared by the Pentagon for internal use that was obtained by The Associated Press provides a clearer picture of the government's response to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The timeline shows "the government's failure to comprehend the scale and intensity of a violent uprising by its own citizens," as well as the fact that former President Donald Trump's disengagement meant Pentagon officials, White House aides, former Vice President Mike Pence, and Congressional leaders were left to manage the situation, AP writes. One of the key aspects appears to be an hours-long attempt to coordinate plans between the military, the D.C. National Guard, and the Capitol Police.

The document reveals a minute-long phone call between Pence and then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, in which Pence tells Miller to "clear the Capitol" two hours after the mob initially overwhelmed the Capitol Police and entered the building.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), reportedly grew increasingly frustrated with a slow response after making multiple calls, and at one point reportedly accused "the National Security apparatus of knowing that protesters planned to conduct an assault on the Capitol." Read more about the Pentagon's riot timeline at The Associated Press. Tim O'Donnell

March 24, 2021

Footage obtained by The New York Times shows for the first time a rioter spraying Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick with chemical spray on Jan. 6. Sicknick collapsed later that day and died the next night, although Washington, D.C.'s, chief medical examiner has yet to release his autopsy and cause of death.

Two men, Julian Khater and George Tanios, have been charged with assaulting Sicknick and two other officers with bear spray — which the Times notes can be many times more powerful than pepper spray and is not meant for use on humans. The two men can be seen near the police line on the west side of the Capitol, where Sicknick was among the officers guarding the area. In one clip, Khater is heard asking Tanios to hand him "that bear s---," and appears to reach into Tanios' backpack to retrieve it.

Khater then heads back toward the police line before eventually raising his arm over other rioters and spraying something, allegedly bear spray, from a canister toward Sicknick, who reacts to it. The graphic footage can be seen below.

Later that night, Sicknick reportedly told his brother he was in "good shape" despite getting sprayed, but his condition worsened over the next 24 hours, and he was treated for a blood clot and a stroke, his brother said. Again, it remains unclear whether the spray caused Sicknick's death, but the footage published by the Times provides a clearer picture of what happened on the ground. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

February 23, 2021

There was quite a bit of finger pointing Tuesday as former security officials testified before Congress about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund — who said he regrets resigning in the riot's aftermath — testified that he requested assistance from National Guard troops two days before the attack, but was shot down by former House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving because of concerns about "optics." Irving, though, said Sund never made that request and suggested he would have ensured the National Guard's presence if he had.

The pair also offered conflicting stories from the day of the attack. Sund said he called Irving early on to request more help, but Irving says he has no memory of the call, even after reviewing his phone records.

Sund also alleged a lack of action on the part of the Pentagon, testifying that he waited hours for the department to authorize National Guard assistance during the assault. Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

January 17, 2021

Luke Mogelson, a veteran war correspondent and contributing writer for The New Yorker, captured what appears to be the "clearest" footage yet of the deadly riot at the United States Capitol earlier this month.

Mogelson attended (in a journalistic capacity) President Trump's rally on Jan. 6, which preceded the pro-Trump mob's march to and breach of the Capitol. He followed the rioters into the building and filmed a group that entered the empty Senate chamber. They began taking photos of documents in the room as part of a self-declared "information operation." One man said he was attempting to find something that he could "use against these scumbags," while another said he thought Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) "would want us to do this."

In a later scene, Mogelson witnessed Jake Angeli, otherwise known as Q Shaman, sitting in Vice President Mike Pence's chair, as a lone Capitol Police officer tried unsuccessfully to get him to move. He also gathered footage from outside the Capitol, including a large crowd aggressively forcing its way into the building, as well as a man telling people around him to "start making a list, put all those names down" and "start hunting them down one by one."

The New Yorker notes that although the footage was "not originally intended for publication, it documents a historic event and serves as a visceral complement to Mogelson's probing, illuminating" written feature. Read the full report here and watch the complete footage here. Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads