An internal Capitol Police document reveals that officials were worried on Jan. 6 about the wrong group of people: counterprotesters who would oppose the Donald Trump supporters who ultimately stormed the U.S. Capitol and attacked law enforcement officers, Politico reported Friday.
“[C]ounter-protestors will be expected to attempt to gain access by entering shrubbery and other natural fixtures,” reads the 17-page report, “The Civil Disturbance Unit Operational Plan,” that outlined police strategy for the day of the electoral vote certification by Congress.
In fact, one of the five “mission objectives” listed was to “establish and maintain a fixed march route while excluding access to counter-protestors to minimize potential for violent interactions,” stated the report, which was viewed by Politico.
The plan was for police to accompany the marchers from the “Stop the Steal” rally, which was led by the then-president to build outrage over his election loss, and to take action to block counterprotesters from entering the march route and destinations west of the Capitol, according to Politico.
Instead, violent chaos erupted when Trump supporters stormed police barricades to breach the Capitol building.
Days before the insurrection, Trump ordered then-Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller to “fill” a request for a National Guard deployment on Jan. 6 by the District of Columbia’s mayor — but again, to guard against the wrong group of people.
“Do whatever is necessary to protect [pro-Trump] demonstrators … executing their constitutionally protected rights,” Miller quoted Trump as saying in testimony before Congress earlier this year.
Trump, in a Jan. 6 video message on Twitter, told rioters: “We love you. You’re very special.”
The police failure over their assessment of the threat from counterprotesters, who were not a notable presence that day, was just one of officials’ major misjudgments. The internal report also boldly declared: “At this time there are no specific known threats related to the Joint Session of Congress Electoral College Vote Certification,” according to Politico.
An unidentified whistleblower and former Capitol Police officer early this month slammed department leaders’ failure to accurately judge the Jan. 6 risk as “the single greatest intelligence failure in the history” of the department.
The whistleblower recounted watching top officials “mostly sitting there, blankly looking at the TV screens showing real-time footage.” (See the video above.)
A Capitol Police spokesperson told Politico on Friday: “As the department has said publicly time and time again, we knew some people were planning violence. No law enforcement or intelligence agency predicted the large-scale attack that ended up happening.”