Senate holds 1st public hearing on the Capitol insurrection

Lawmakers questioned top officials on the breach of security at the Capitol.
9:04 | 02/23/21

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Transcript for Senate holds 1st public hearing on the Capitol insurrection
The latest on that hearing on the assault on the capital here a few more highlights from today's testing. We are here today to better understand what was known and advance what steps were taken to secure the capital. And what occurred that day I received chemical burns to my face is still have not guilty of the same eyewitness officers being knocked to the ground and hill at various objects that were thrown by writers. Casting blame solely on united sates capitol police leadership is not only misplaced but it also minimized what truly occurred that day. These people came specifically with equipment what you bringing climbing gear to to a demonstration. You're bringing explosives you're bringing chemical spray such as what captain Mendoza the Mendoza talked about. You're coming at. For per hour prepared but the house managers made a big deal. That this was. Predictable this was foreseeable. Which I don't believe. Do you believe that what happened. The breach the capital did you believe asked for seaborne predictable no I don't breach of the capital was not something anybody anticipated. Ignored or thinks of our federal partners expected. Insurrections in the heat armor capital and I'm not only act but also would leave. All watched in horror as a writer. I of the capital or ugly or an hour's sleep shirt rioters and they. 800. Lacks. The attacks on January the six. Did not prevent congress from po polish response buildings both chambers. Reconvened that evening and finished a certification of the results. The beginning was found to be a long process of inquiry in reckoning about one of the worst incidents in American history let's bring in senior Washington reporter Devin Dwyer and ABC news contributor and former FBI agent Brad Garrett for more here. I double letting begin with you we heard. That gripping testimony from kept the men does about what she experienced on that day so how did that set the tone for the hearing while one of the moment stood out he. Got you could've heard eight can drop in that your room Terry. Start today police captain Carnie (%expletive) Mendoza a nineteen year veteran of the force and army veteran. In her own words describing what she said was worse than a war scene hand to hand combat you heard her earlier in the shows a chemical burns are still on her face. One interesting note she said she works it did add date your record for hours and fifty physical activity fighting she said truly harrowing account should. It was striking Terry that in her view she said that they could have had ten times as many people. In its steel would have been just as devastating. So much at this hearing vote focused on the lack of preparation for January 6 not just in manpower I was shocked to hear that the capitol police carried. Don't even have helmets gloves or batons as a matter standard practice. I today and over and over and over today we heard from all three of those officials you mention. I say their plan net debt threat on January 6 at least. As far as they knew that this was in March court in their view an intelligence failure and so. There's still a lot of questions to be had this is just the beginning of this inquiry. So much today the threat information was in the public space and begs a question why wasn't that known why was an amplified and why wasn't it taken more seriously. And brat Reese doesn't finger pointing from various security officials and some disagreement over the timeline. A when they called for backup Q we have a clearer picture now. Of how the response played outer isn't is it even more murky now than it was before. A lot of can't get seen today a lot of rules at 130 wasn't too clock. And then obviously the dance about how long it actually took make the call to get the National Guard there. You know I felt frustrated. After listening today because it was a lot of them. Back and forth about procedure about who said why. Never got to the yes maybe we didn't have the intelligence that's a whole different issue they didn't. But. This the question is preparation before. And it didn't. That has the great likelihood of something goings I wish you didn't need to know every piece of intelligence. So we are so much Marty gets through here today was a sort of in my abuse at an attack dance early in the opening chapter to a very long book. Mean and Devin that crucial question. After the capital had been breached by those riders as insurrections writers. Why did it take hours for the National Guard to right what do we learn about the process of getting the National Guard to defend the capital what happened. It's such a complicated but critical question terror and we learned today that it's not as simple as picking up the phone. Especially when you're in the nation's capital unlike. Any of the fifty states and DC it did the National Guard is not directly tied. To the mayor it has to go through the Pentagon. Various bureaucratic approval levels and that obviously was part of the problem here today we learned there was a lot of confusion. Over who is alternately good decision maker when it comes to code recruiting the National Guard other two brats points so much in this. Focuses on why the heck the National Guard wasn't preemptively deployed in some capacity around the capital especially. When we saw then you know guardian mafia park last summer ahead of the black lives matter protest. One interesting wrinkle though we heard Littleton mentioned today Terry about political leadership in this decision making Republicans over the past few weeks have been suggesting that perhaps speaker Nancy Pelosi. Bears some responsibility here that somehow she. Was it was complicit in not allowing the guard to be deployed ahead of time are calling them up cast an option. And I got to say we heard no evidence on any of that from either side today. I'm very much though again more questions as spreads it to be answered here but certainly it looks like this was a failure in in law enforcement decision making. And route I want to elaborate on your point about preparedness because former capitol police chiefs even sons says they quote. Properly plan for a mass demonstration with possible violence. And they got a military style assault instead what did you make of that given the preparations we shopped for the black lives matter protests over. The summer. And this is so hard to bond. Even while not seen the raw intelligence. It was so clear about what the potential was great potential. There that could turn violent. Think about the groups that were there had planned. Net head that that the FBI and other agencies had intelligence about. They were going to go there you commit a violent act. And why you wouldn't do in preempting. Lay out of law enforcement. And the military. Are Cuban mine who also needed additional. Law enforcement there because it actually fight and riot. You wouldn't need all the police departments that surround BC. I have a memorandum of understanding. What does DC police to comment at a moment's notice so it's is another hedge fracture in mind US to. Was obvious to us on the outside. Doesn't appear to be that obvious to the people that. Orange arch. And DeVon all this is congress appropriately investigating this grim political Brad so let's talk politics for a moment. There is an elephant in that. Which is that this riot was this insurrections attack was triggered by the lies that Donald Trump told that he had won the election that it was stolen from him that. Some of those Republicans supported when it was that talked about it all. Yeah I was a backdrop certainly to the hearing I was surprised Terry actually politics. I didn't come up at least explicitly in this hearing both sides seemed. I've ever pretty focused on getting to the facts it's a rarity as you pointed out in a lot of these hearings but there were those who tried to score points you saw senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin a fierce trump ally. Spent most of his time if for questions downplaying the fact that those riders had any tied to Donald Trump contrary to everything we know I am of course in the facts on the ground we also saw senator Alex Padilla a California girl out of his way to make clear that it's the commander in chief who bears responsibility for intelligence failures since he is in fact the commander in chief said there was a little bit of that but for the most part right now both sides at least in this very first hearing on these capital riots seemed focused. These lawmakers seemed focused on getting to the bottom of the facts at least constructive solutions for how that. This what can never happen again of course they lived it so they have a vested interest in that. But there's a long way to go in the fear right now is that this could go off the rails of politics. For now as we say it's it's a search France and dad Ben and Bradley are glad you're not here to help us get to the bottom of those answers thanks so much. Access.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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