Lawmakers reportedly made unanswered pleas for help as rioters stormed Capitol

The New York Post:

Lawmakers made a flurry of desperate calls for help as they watched the Capitol overrun by rioters — but their pleas were rebuffed until an FBI official reached the bureau’s director, who agreed to send back up, according to a report Sunday.

Soon after the Capitol was breached Wednesday, those inside saw a constant stream of shouting rioters — with no police in sight, a leading adviser to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told The Washington Post.

Lawmakers and their aides, armed with some of the best Rolodexes in the world, quickly called and texted anyone they could help — insisting that people would be killed if help did not arrive soon, they told the paper.

Pleas for help were sent to the secretary of the Army, the acting attorney general, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, governors of nearby states as well as DC’s mayor, the paper said, citing interviews with nearly 40 lawmakers and their staff as well as law enforcement officials.

In numerous meetings before the well-advertised Trump rally that day, those in charge of security had repeatedly reassured lawmakers that adequate security was in place — claims they continued to make even as officers were being attacked and overrun, the report said.

“Nobody can get in,” House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, an ex-Secret Service assistant director, told Rep. Zoe Lofgren even as the perimeter was being breached, the lawmaker recalled.

Lofgren — the chair of the House Administration Committee that oversees Capitol security — was unable to reach Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, she said.

When Rep. Maxine Waters finally got hold of the police chief, he merely told her, “We’re doing the best we can.”

The line then went dead. Waters told The Washington Post she did not know if Sund hung up on her, she was left certain that there was no clear plan to deal with the assault on the Capitol.

After his initial reassurance proved disastrously wrong, Sergeant at Arms Irving started telling lawmakers that the National Guard was on its way — but it would be hours before they would arrive, the paper noted.

While a small quick-reaction force at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland had been assembled by the Defense Department, it did not immediately respond because of a lack of prior planning with Capitol police, Pentagon officials told the paper.

Lawmakers and their staff continued making calls for help as fast as they could text and dial, repeatedly warning of potential risk to life, the investigation said.

A senior McConnell adviser finally reached Will Levi, Attorney General Bill Barr’s former chief of staff, who then called FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich — who immediately rushed over tactical teams, the paper said.

“Get their asses over there. Go now,” he said to the first team’s commander. “We don’t have time to huddle.”

Read more at The New York Post

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