Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., is chairman of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., is chairman of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots. Oliver Contreras/The New York Times via AP, Pool

Lawmakers Demand Documents From Many Agencies on Jan. 6 Preparation and Response

Information will include how agencies deployed resources and potentially impeded the presidential transition.

A congressional committee has made sweeping requests to a group of federal agencies on their preparations for and response to the riots on Jan. 6, probing how the Trump administration failed to prevent the violent attacks. 

Lawmakers are seeking information on the role agencies played in organizing the Jan. 6 protests, responding to them, defending the Capitol Building and potentially contributing to “efforts to subvert the rule of law, overturn the results of the November 3, 2020, election, or otherwise impede the peaceful transfer of power,” said Democrats on a select committee established to investigate the events. The committee requested information from the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Interior and Justice; the National Archives and Records Administration; the FBI; the National Counterterrorism Center; and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 

“Our Constitution provides for a peaceful transfer of power, and this investigation seeks to evaluate threats to that process, identify lessons learned and recommend laws, policies, procedures, rules, or regulations necessary to protect our republic in the future,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the select committee. 

The seven-hour melee by supporters of President Trump contesting the outcome of the 2020 presidential election resulted in several deaths, assaults on 140 police officers and about $1.5 million in damages after the rioters stormed the Capitol and delayed a certification of the election.

The lawmakers asked all the agencies for information and communications related to personnel changes between the election and inauguration, efforts to delay transition activities, the deployment of law enforcement personnel or military equipment to prevent the peaceful transfer of power and discussions regarding their abilities to respond to the events. The panel also asked for any communications the agencies had with President Trump and the White House related to the attacks.

It requested from NARA all documents related to Jan. 6 preparation and response from a range of White House officials, including President Trump, his family members and associates. It also asked for visitor records, call logs and any information related to contesting the election results. From Defense, the committee asked for information on deploying the National Guard and the possibility of revoking demonstration permits on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6. The lawmakers instructed Interior to turn over all documents related to its awarding of permits to the protesters. 

The committee asked DHS and intelligence agencies for information on their social media monitoring in the run up to the events and what companies shared with them. The Government Accountability Office recently faulted DHS for maintaining a confusing and rigid system for providing enhanced security at special events, which contributed to an inadequate response on Jan. 6. 

The committee gave the agencies just two weeks to produce all the documents. Thompson characterized his requests as just the “first round of demands.”