Graham on security for Capitol Hill during riot: 'Where was Nancy Pelosi?"

Senator Lindsey Graham targeted Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the lack of security on Capitol Hill during the riot on January 6. He noted it is her job to provide Capitol security. While many people blame President Trump for inciting violence during his rally with supporters, including Pelosi, it is a twist for the speaker to be blamed for allowing the mob to take over the Capitol.

‘To see people come and take over the Capitol – the House and the Senate – beat officers, defile the seat of government. How in the hell could that happen? Where was Nancy Pelosi? It’s her job to provide Capitol security,’ the South Carolina Republican, and staunch ally of President Donald Trump said during an interview on ‘Sunday Morning Futures.’

He added: ‘We’ll get to the bottom of that.’

It didn’t take long for Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill to slam Graham for asking the question. There is lots of finger-pointing these days and lots of heated rhetoric but so far there are few answers. Hammill blames Graham for his role in questioning the election results and voting irregularities.

“This disgraceful attempt to shift blame for the mob attack on the Capitol is absurd & pathetic,” Hammill tweeted Sunday morning. “He need only look in the mirror if he wants to start pointing a finger.”

“He has repeatedly cast doubts on results of a fair election & dangerously fanned flames of rightwing quackery,” Hammill added.

After the rioting died down and the Congress returned to do its constitutional duty – to accept the electoral votes and confirm that Joe Biden won the presidential election – Graham did what many of those agreeing with Senators Cruz and Hawley before the riot broke out did when he changed his mind and declined to support the objections to the votes in the Senate. Cruz and Hawley continued to object. “Count me out, enough is enough,” he said.

The question is how did those storming the Capitol manage to get past Capitol Police and into the Capitol building? The number of rioters quickly overwhelmed the Capitol Hill police on duty. Chair of the Committee on House Administration chair, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, said she intends to look into it.

“The breach today at the U.S. Capitol raises grave security concerns,” Lofgren said in a statement after the riot. “I intend to have the Committee on House Administration work with the bipartisan House and Senate leadership to address these concerns and review the response in coming days.”

Lawmakers have called for investigations into what happened that day. Speaker Pelosi announced that she has asked retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to lead a review of the Capitol security posture after the January 6 attack. Honore is well-known for his handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. During a press briefing last week, Pelosi said that Honore accepted her request that he review Capitol “security infrastructure, interagency processes and command and control.” He famously said of government responses to the devastating hurricane, “Don’t get stuck on stupid.”

“The general is a respected leader with experience dealing with crises,” she said. “As a former vice director for operations, J-3, with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his focus was military support to civilian authorities … and he has experience with the national Capitol region security.”

Pelosi said that in addition to the immediate review Honoré is conducting, congressional oversight efforts looking into the Capitol attack and how to prevent future incidents will be ongoing.

“Members are moving forward with strong oversight from committees, of course, to have after-action review,” she said. “There is strong interest in Congress in a 9/11-type commission, an outside commission to conduct that after action review.”

Pelosi may not be willing to accept any responsibility for the failures of security during the riot, but she is happy to say she has been “personally involved ” in ensuring the appropriate security measures are in place for the inauguration.

Pelosi said security preparations for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday are ongoing. But she sought to assure the public that the festivities are not being scaled back because of the attack on the Capitol. The small size of the event, she said, is because of COVID-19 precautions that had been planned before last week.

“But it hasn’t changed the nature of the swearing in. I think it’s important for people to know that,” she said. “This is not a concession to the terrorists. It is a recognition of the danger of COVID.”

Pelosi said she’s been personally involved in ensuring the appropriate security measures are in place for the inauguration. She spoke with the head of the Secret Service Thursday night and said she planned on Friday to speak with the Army secretary, who has direct control over the D.C. National Guard, for the third time in two days.

“We all want to be sure that the requests that are made by the Capitol Police are being honored by those who are in a position to meet the needs,” she said. “It depends on the intelligence, and we have to have more security than the intelligence might warrant. I think in this case, redundancy may be necessary. Not too much, but enough.”

Honore holds the Capitol Police responsible for their failure to provide adequate security. He calls them “complicit” in the attack and expects that to come out in the investigation. On January 8 he gave an interview from New Orleans and said, “I’ve just never seen so much incompetence. So they’re either that stupid or ignorant or complicit. I think they were complicit.” He blames the Capitol Police for turning down help from other law enforcement agencies. He also is concerned that they didn’t provide regular press briefings immediately after the riot or responded to FOIA requests, from which they are exempted.

Honore has been active in telling people to get vaccinated, too.

It is reported that he may have political ambitions. From the looks of his Twitter feed, he is a Democrat. It will be interesting to hear what he comes up with in his investigation.