I was just as stunned as everyone else on the call." Major General William Walker, the District of Columbia's National Guard commander, told senators at a joint hearing on Wednesday that senior Pentagon officials were slow to approve a request for troops to be sent to the U.S. Capitol on Jan.
6, as it was being violently breached by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
WALKER: "At 1:49 p.m.
I received a frantic call from then-Chief of U.S. Capitol Police, Steven Sund, where he informed me that the security perimeter of the Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters.
Chief Sund, his voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a dire emergency at the Capitol... The approval for Chief Sund's request would eventually come from the acting Secretary of Defense and be relayed to me by Army senior leaders at 5:08 p.m., about three hours and 19 minutes later." Then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller had been installed by Trump days after Democrat Joe Biden was declared the winner of the November election.
Walker also said that on the day before the riot, he requested and received Pentagon permission to have D.C.
Guard members on standby for the 6th, but said he also received a written order from then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy that said Walker could not deploy the service members without the secretary's explicit approval.
WALKER: "I found that requirement to be unusual." Wednesday's joint hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Rules committees was part of a series of hearings about the security preparations for and response to the attack on the Capitol on Jan.
MELISSA SMISLOVA: "We issued a bulletin last night." Just before the hearing, Capitol Police officials warned of the potential for more violence, saying they had intelligence showing a possible plot by an identified militia group to try to breach the Capitol again on March 4, the date when some right-wing conspiracy theorists have claimed that Trump will somehow be sworn in for a second term in office.