The report adds significant emphasis to previous evidence that there were massive intelligence failures, critical misunderstandings, and ignored warnings that ultimately led to the chaotic response that day.
Failures included the inability of intelligence officials to pull together the whirlpool of disturbing internet chatter that led to the riot and to rely on using past, non-violent Trump rallies in security planning.
Sources tell CNN that this report, compiled by the Senate Homeland Security and Rules Committees, had bipartisan support, the language had to be carefully worked out, and that included the exclusion of the word “insurrection,” which it specifically did does not appear outside of witness citations and footnotes.
“Did we look at Trump’s role in the attack? The answer is no, ”a Senate committee member told reporters.
“The report made no attempt to examine the origins and evolution of the groups or individuals who participated in the attack on the Capitol,” the advisor said.
Still, it is the most comprehensive government report on the security deficiencies that led to the Capitol Rebellion. Congressional investigators sifted through “thousands of documents,” received written statements from 50 police officers defending the Capitol, and received testimony from a variety of current and past officials who played a role in security preparations and responses.
New details on the scope of communication among rioters
The aides said the Senate investigation had previously uncovered new information about the level of communication among the rioters, including an increase in traffic on a website over Washington’s tunnel.
The aides were pressured as to why law enforcement appeared to be relying on past MAGA marches, which remained largely non-violent, despite increasing evidence that there were plans to attack the Capitol. Staff said law enforcement intelligence services focused on group clashes rather than violence against a building.
The report also concluded that the Capitol Police Main Intelligence Unit “was aware of the potential for violence in the days and weeks leading up to January 6th.” But not everyone was aware of it. The investigation found that the USCP’s “decentralized” intelligence operation meant some people saw these warnings while other officials remained in the dark.
In a statement, Capitol Police said the intelligence reflected a “large demonstration that is attracting various groups, including some encouraging violence”.
The agency added, however, “What they didn’t know, as acting Chief Pittman noted, was that the large-scale demonstration was going to turn into a large-scale attack on the Capitol – as there was no specific, credible information about an attack,” was referring to Yogananda Pittman, the acting police chief of the US Capitol.
“Neither the USCP, nor the FBI, US intelligence, the Metropolitan Police or our other law enforcement partners knew that thousands of rioters were planning to attack the US Capitol,” the agency added. “The known intelligence just did not support this conclusion.”
Senate officials said the information in the report was drawn from a variety of sources – public hearings, private communications, and five transcribed interviews, including with former Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller and Pittman.
But there was clear frustration among the committees that not all of their information requests fully cooperated. The report relied heavily on information from the Capitol Police.
“We developed some information regarding DHS and FBI. It’s not that the DHS and FBI withheld information. Your reaction so far has been very partial and frankly unsatisfactory, ”said a Senate adviser.
Senate investigators also encountered institutional hurdles, including the House Sergeant-at-Arms who failed to provide information to the committees because “the House of Representatives is responsible for its own affairs and the Senate is responsible for its own affairs is “. Affairs, “said one employee.
Pittman made significant statements in both an interview and open hearings. However, the report found obvious discrepancies in their responses, which the helpers confirmed but refused to explain.
“You will see significant quotes from incumbent Chief Pittman throughout the report, and we point out where some inconsistencies have been found, including regarding intelligence products,” the adviser said.
Limits of a bipartisan Congressional investigation
The narrow scope of the report underscores the limitations of a bipartisan investigation by Congress. While the evidence and interviews were gathered over months from bipartisan staff and members in two committees, the information related almost entirely to the security and intelligence deficiencies that led to the day, and did not focus on why individuals came to the Capitol in the first place were and Trump’s role.
Democratic Senate investigators took careful steps not to alienate their Republican counterparts in the investigation process, which meant Trump’s role in promoting the January 6 rally and months of trying to reach out to local officials, lawmakers in Congress and the then Vice President Mike Pence undermine the will of voters.
Aides also stayed away from words that might put some Republicans off, including not calling the attack a “riot”.
“The language chosen was targeted – and represents the consensus of the four members and their respective employees,” said an advisor to the Senate Committee. “We did our best to get the facts down as we understood them and leave characterizations in quotes where characterizations were.”
In a clear example of this, the appendix to the report includes Trump’s full speech to the crowd on 6. A Senate adviser said the decision had been made not to include “our editorial judgment” on the speech.
While the report points to some of Trump’s testimonies and tweets that led to the events at the Capitol, the report does not fully examine the causes of the Capitol uprising, nor does it directly accuse the former president for promoting a lie that the election was stolen that mobilized supporters to gather at the Capitol on January 6th.
The Congressional investigation concludes weeks after the Senate rejected a House bill that would have set up a bipartisan commission to investigate the insurrection. This body would have been made up of people outside of Congress and the administration. This investigation would have been far-reaching and would have had the task of examining some of the events that could have been responsible for triggering the events of the uprising. The bill, however, found no approval in the Senate, where only a handful of Republicans partnered with Democrats to support it.
Senator Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican and the senior member of the Homeland Security Committee who drafted the Congressional report Tuesday, voted to move forward on a law that the commission should have instituted. But Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri who served as the top GOP member of Rules, didn’t.
Blunt argued that the Congressional report went far enough and provided the framework for fixing Capitol Hill security that could be delayed if a commission were set up.
“I think a commission would slow down the things we have to do,” Blunt said last month. “In all honesty, I don’t think there are that many building security gaps that need to be filled in what happened on January 6th.”
It is unclear what the Senate’s bipartisan report will mean for House Democratic leaders, who in the coming days and weeks could decide to launch their own investigation, either through a new special committee or through committees already established to investigate the Incidents around the 6th for months.
Now that the report is out, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could argue that he is not going far enough and could force another vote to set up a commission. However, there would still not be the Republican votes to pass it. No commission could be set up without 60 votes or a united democratic group ready to blow up the filibuster.
This story has been updated with additional details from the report.
CNN’s Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.
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