Congressional Republicans seek to turn the impeachment narrative back on Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On Monday, the top GOP lawmakers on four prominent House committees – Rodney Davis of the Administration Committee, Jim Jordan of the Judiciary Committee, James Comer of the Oversight Committee, and Devin Nunes of the Intelligence Committee – sent Pelosi a letter relaying questions about security measures that were implemented, or perhaps not implemented, before the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and afterward.
House Democrats, joined by 10 Republicans, voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for allegedly instigating the riot, which occurred following a rally in Washington.
Five people died in connection to the incident. Senate Democrats, however, failed to muster enough votes to convict Trump on Saturday.
In their letter, the four Republicans want Pelosi to answer for precautions made in advance of the rally.
For example, according to Fox News, they want to know why a Jan. 4 request for National Guard troops by the then-chief of the Capitol Police was denied.
They noted that the chief, Steve Sund, recalled in a letter to Pelosi that he had asked House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving about the troops and was told of Irving’s concern about “the optics” of the Guard’s presence and that he didn’t believe the “intelligence supported it.”
The four lawmakers also accused Pelosi of lying at a Jan. 7 press conference in which she claimed she had not heard from Sund since the riot started. They said Sund reported that he participated in two conference calls about the situation in the Capitol on the afternoon of Jan. 6, and Pelosi joined both calls.
The Republican quartet also noted that Pelosi both fired Sund and Irving and hired retired Army Gen. Russel Honoré to conduct a review of House security procedures without consulting any Republicans.
The foursome pointed out further that they have been stymied by House officials who work under Pelosi in making requests for records, video footage, and audio recordings related to the riots – yet some of that material has surfaced among Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee.
On Saturday, one of Trump’s defense lawyers, David Schoen, referenced in his remarks to the Senate that House Democrats had unveiled
never-before-seen” footage of the riot inside the Capitol and that was not shared with the defense or the American public.
About the denial of that information, they wrote, “This is unacceptable. Madam Speaker, that direction could only have come from you.”
The House Republicans seem to have taken a cue from Sen. Lindsey Graham.
As the Senate debated whether to allow witnesses, the South Carolina Republican promised he would counter the emotion-laden testimony from Democrats who wanted to punish Trump with questions about security failures.
“If you open that can of worms, we’ll want the FBI to come in and tell us about how people pre-planned this attack and what happened with the security footprint at the Capitol. You open up Pandora’s Box if you call one witness,” Graham said.