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Senate to hold first public hearing on Capitol insurrection



(WASHINGTON) — Barbed wire fencing and National Guard troops are haunting reminders on Capitol Hill of the deadly riot on Jan. 6 that left 140 officers injured and five people dead.

The fallout from the attack continues Tuesday as the Senate will hold the first public meeting about the incident during a joint hearing between the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Rules and Administration Committee.

The hearing includes top officials who were responsible for security at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Three of those officials, former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, former Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper Michael Stenger and former House Sergeant at Arms Paul D. Irving, resigned in the immediate wake of the attack.

Additionally, law enforcement officials will examine the various security failures that led to the breach.

Lawmakers will also question Metropolitan Police Department Acting Chief Robert Contee on Tuesday. His agency provided backup for the Capitol security force that was overrun by the pro-Trump mob.

Lawmakers will use this hearing to determine what security is needed in Washington moving forward. However, this will be the first of several hearings.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Gary Peters, D-Mich., said the next hearing will include representatives from the Department of Defense, FBI, Homeland Security, and other agencies. Lawmakers from both parties said they want to prevent incidents like the siege from ever happening again.

Earlier this month, ABC News obtained a copy of a letter sent by Sund, who said the intelligence leading up to the event didn’t indicate it would become as violent as it did.

“Perfect hindsight does not change the fact that nothing in our collective experience or our intelligence – including intelligence provided by FBI, Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and D.C. Metropolitan Police (MPD) – indicated that a well-coordinated, armed assault on the Capitol might occur on Jan. 6,” Sund wrote.

In his letter, he wrote intelligence officials indicated Jan. 6 would be similar to previous mostly peaceful post-election demonstrations in November and December.

Sund said he directed the Capitol Police to have every sworn officer working, and activated seven Civil Disturbance Unit platoons, which included approximately 250 officers. Four of those platoons were equipped with helmets, protective clothing and shields.

On Jan. 5, Sund hosted a virtual meeting focused on the Jan. 6 event as well as the Inauguration.

“During the meeting, no entity, including the FBI, provided any intelligence indicating that there would be a coordinated violent attack on the United States Capitol by thousands of well-equipped armed insurrectionists,” Sund wrote.

“There is no question that on Jan. 6, a breakdown of leadership, preparation and response allowed domestic terrorists — including white supremacist and anti-government groups — to breach the Capitol in an attempt to overturn a free and fair election,” Sen. Peters told ABC News in a statement. “The American people deserve to know how it happened and what actions lawmakers will take to prevent hate groups and dangerous conspiracy theorists from further attacking our country.”

“The entire intelligence community seems to have missed this,” he added.

The ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said in a statement to ABC News, “the attack on the U.S. Capitol was an attack on democracy itself.” He added that he is looking forward to hearing directly from officials who were responsible for securing the Capitol complex.

He added Tuesday’s hearing “will inform what reforms need to be made to ensure nothing like Jan. 6 ever happens again.”

“The outrageous, deadly, and destructive attack marks a sad day in the history of our country,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., told ABC News in a statement. “The officers who defended the Capitol that day deserve to be recognized and praised for their valiant efforts.”

He added, “our institutions are durable, but I hope they will never again be tested in this way.”

Klobuchar told CNN on Monday that she wants to know what exactly happened with the National Guard and why there was a delay in deployment.

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