US Capitol Police (USCP) Inspector General Michael Bolton testified Monday before the Committee on House Administration, reviewing the contents of his third flash report, ostensibly dedicated to identifying “deficiencies” in Capitol Police threat assessment and counter-surveillance operations, before and during the attempted January 6 coup.
The hearing confirmed that on January 6, 2021, the two main missions of the Capitol Police department were to give fascists and Trump supporters carte blanche to swarm the Capitol and to avoid arresting anyone who participated in the assault. The aim of the attackers was to delay the certification of the Electoral College vote to help Trump’s plot to overturn his election defeat by Joe Biden.
The hearing also revealed that the Capitol Police have been purposefully falsifying reports, including the official January 6 timeline, in order to cover up their direct involvement in facilitating the attack on Congress.
The most damning revelations came near the conclusion of the hearing. In response to questions from Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (Democrat-California) regarding the official police timeline provided by the USCP, which noted that an estimated “200 Proud Boys” had gathered at “Garfield Circle” and moved towards the Senate end of the Capitol at 10:59 a.m., Bolton confirmed that no counter-surveillance teams were dispatched to monitor the fascist militia.
Bolton further confirmed that besides the one entry in the timeline, the presence of hundreds of Proud Boy fascists near or on Capitol grounds was not documented the rest of the day and that the Proud Boys, one of the main spearheads of the attack, were not monitored by police.
Instead, Bolton confirmed that “USCP personnel” were deployed at 11:24 a.m. to monitor “3–4 counter demonstrators” (i.e., anti-Trump protesters) who were apparently setting up “props” on Third Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Legislators from both parties, in this hearing as in the previous ones, have pontificated on the supposed lack of resources and “training” that led to the events of January 6, but no one at Monday’s hearing could explain why police were unconcerned about the presence of hundreds of Proud Boys marching towards the Capitol.
An incredulous Lofgren questioned Bolton as to who was responsible for assigning counter-surveillance agents to monitor “3–4 counter-demonstrators,” but not the violent Proud Boys. Bolton refused to name the officer responsible, but admitted to Lofgren that “we have a lot of concerns” and “a lot of questions” about the “accuracy of the timeline,” implying that it has either been falsified or key details have been purposely omitted.
Bolton followed-up by reiterating a comment he made after his opening statement, advising that in light of the discrepancies in the timeline and in order to conduct interviews with police personnel, the next flash report to be delivered in June, contrary to what had been previously planned, would deal with “command and control” and “radio communications.”
Testifying to the extreme indifference the USCP leadership took towards defending Congress from militia members, white supremacists and neo-Nazis, Bolton also revealed that even if the counter-surveillance officers had been deployed to monitor the Proud Boys, there is no guarantee that the intelligence gathered would have been acted upon.
Bolton’s report stated, and he confirmed in his testimony, that USCP counter-surveillance officers had no formalized process to “pass on information” to the intelligence operations section and there was also no process in place to ensure that the information gathered would make it to commanding officers.
Further underscoring the fact that police participated in deliberate stand-down, Bolton confirmed to Pennsylvania Democratic Representative Mary Gay Scanlon that despite the well-documented threats against Congress, the USCP intelligence operations section had not developed a “plan of action” for deploying officers on January 6. “There was no actual plan for the counter-surveillance units and what they were going to do,” he said.
The information unearthed in the hearing adds to the already voluminous evidence directly implicating the US Capitol Police commanders in then President Trump’s attempted coup, which was supported by a majority of the congressional Republicans and substantial sections of the financial oligarchy and police, military and intelligence agencies.
Bolton confirmed that on January 6 the USCP did not “adequately document, collect, and analyze PD-76 USCP Stop or Contact Reports.” In response to questions from Scanlon, Bolton explained that these reports would typically be used to document “suspicious activity” and be forwarded to command staff. Once analyzed these reports would be used to provide intelligence to the rank-and-file police regarding suspicious groups or individuals, which one would presume would include Oath Keeper militia members wearing body armor, fascist Q-Anon adherents covered in face paint and wielding spears, or perhaps several hundred Proud Boys marching in formation towards the Capitol.
Instead, Bolton confirmed to Gay Scanlon that only three of these reports were produced on January 6, the first one being at 2:18 a.m., followed by two more at 6:19 and 6:20 a.m. Apparently no USCP officers witnessed any other suspicious activity outside the Capitol on January 6.
In a severe understatement Bolton admitted that after reviewing a “little bit” of the radio communications on January 6 “there should have been many more” such reports.
The lack of communication between rank-and-file police and the leadership of the department during the siege was further revealed in an article by CQ Roll Call, posted the morning of the hearing. Three unnamed USCP officers described to the Capitol Hill publication the “useless” directives they were given by police leadership in response to how to handle suspected armed protesters, including the Proud Boys on January 6.
Referring to their police captain, one cop told CQ Roll Call, he was told to “take appropriate police action,” which the officer explained is “their catchall for ‘Do whatever you think is right’ or ‘We don’t know what to do.’”
“That scared me,” the officer said. Another cop said that, “We needed direction that day, we had zero direction.”
The three cops confirmed to CQ that despite warnings of armed attacks on the Capitol:
- a Capitol Police SWAT team was not scheduled to report until the afternoon of January 6
- department leaders abstained from issuing commands as the attack was underway
- police with previously scheduled days off were not recalled
- house Division officers who had completed their morning shift were allowed to go home
Describing the leadership provided by USCP intelligence chief Yogananda Pittman (now the acting chief) during the siege, one cop told CQ, “From a bird’s-eye view of the campus, she was watching us getting our asses kicked.”
Confirming multiple aspects of Bolton’s report, police interviewed by CQ confirmed that “we had no clue what was going on,” and that they were told, “it was just gonna be a regular day, we were going to have to come in early and work the demonstration. Nothing different.”
Another cop verified that police were told that “pretty much” the only “intel” they had that day was to “watch out for counter-demonstrators [i.e., “antifa” or other anti-Trump protesters]. That’s what we’re told.”
As the attack began, officers recalled that there were several opportunities for police leadership to get on the radio and issue calls for a “tactical retreat” which would have allowed the police to reform their lines and possibly hold back the mob.
“There was definitely an opportunity there for them to maybe do something, but I just remember hearing, ‘Oh, we’ve got to think about, like, a tactical retreat.’ And then they waited 40 minutes,” the officer said.
The police officer in charge of the Civil Disturbance Units, (CDU) at the time of the attack was Eric Waldow. The highest-ranking commander on the ground during the attack, Waldow was previously identified as the cop who warned on-the-ground police prior to the pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol to “look for … any anti-Trump counter-protesters.”
Waldow was observed fighting alongside officers against the mob during the attack, however, because he was engaged with the mob, he was not able to give directives over the radio, and no other commander stepped up to fill the leadership void.
“You had Deputy Chief Waldow out there throwing fists,” a third officer told CQ. “In my opinion, is that where he should be? No, he should be commanding these people.” CQ noted that Capitol Police refused to answer questions from CQ as to why Waldow was combating rioters instead of issuing commands. Waldow was among several leaders in the department to receive a no-confidence vote from the rank-and-file police following the attack on the Capitol.