10 Things in Politics: Who's blaming who over Capitol riot

Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. I’m Brent Griffiths. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day.

Send your tips and thoughts to [email protected] or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The FBI warned of violence before the Capitol riot, but the top officials responsible for the Capitol’s security didn’t see the report.
  • Tiger Woods is recovering after “significant” injuries sustained in a roll-over crash.
  • Sen. Mitt Romney says Trump would win the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination.

1. INFIGHTING OVER THE INSURRECTION: Former officials could not agree on their own actions during the Capitol riot. The disunity came to light at the first major congressional hearing on the attack, the largest breach in the building since the British burned it in 1814. This means that nearly three months later we still don’t know critical facts about what happened. 

  • What was new: This was the first time we’ve heard publicly from former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, former Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger, and former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving. All three resigned in the wake of the riot. Acting Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee also testified.

The three leaders responsible for the Capitol’s security (D.C. police is specifically prohibited from policing the grounds) said to some extent that they were caught off guard by the violent mob, which did not match their preparations.

  • Part of this lack of preparedness may be down to a key lapse: Neither Sund, Irving, nor Stenger saw an FBI intelligence report written on January 5 that pointed to online posts calling for violence the following day. Further adding insult to injury, Sund confirmed Capitol Police did receive the report — it just wasn’t sent to him.
  • Key quote: “None of the intelligence we received predicted what actually occurred,” Sund told lawmakers. “We properly planned for a mass demonstration with possible violence. What we got was a military-style, coordinated assault on my officers and a violent takeover of the Capitol building.”

Another telling moment: Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin used the hearing to push a debunked conspiracy theory that the riot included “fake” Trump supporters and was infiltrated by “provocateurs.” Needless to say, all the available evidence we have widely contradicts this. 

2. Republicans are trying to unite over opposition to Biden’s stimulus plan: Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah called Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan a “clunker” that is “filled with bad policies and sloppy math.” Romney was part of a small group of GOP lawmakers trying to craft a bipartisan deal with the president. But Democrats seem ready to ram their legislation through without them. The House will vote on Friday.

3. The Justice Department is reviving its investigation into George Floyd’s death: A new federal grand jury has been formed in Minnesota and new witnesses have been called as part of a narrowed investigation into former officer Derek Chauvin, The New York Times reports. Chauvin is already facing state charges next month, but the news could foretell federal action, particularly if Chauvin is not convicted of murder.

4. Tiger Woods is recovering from “significant” injuries: A late-night statement said Woods is awake and recovering after surgery for injuries to his right leg and ankle following a major car crash in Los Angeles. “Mr. Woods suffered significant orthopaedic injuries,” said Dr. Anish Mahajan, the chief medical officer and interim CEO at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, in a statement released by Woods’ team.

Read this post for everything we know about the accident.

5. Sen. Mitt Romney says Trump would win the 2024 GOP nomination: “I look at the polls, and the polls show that among the names being floated as potential contenders in 2024, if you put President Trump in there among Republicans, he wins in a landslide,” the Utah Republican told the Times. Romney said Trump would not receive his vote. Instead, the senator will “be getting behind somebody in the tiny wing of the Republican Party that I represent.”

6. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:

  • 10:00 a.m.: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his leadership team hold a news conference; Neera Tanden faces the first of two Senate committee confirmation votes.
  • 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing.
  • 2:00 p.m.: Xavier Becerra, Biden’s pick to lead the Health and Human Services Department, faces his Senate confirmation hearing.

7. Top officials in charge of Texas’ energy grid will resign: Five board members of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s grid operator, will resign later today in the face of immense criticism over the power crisis. Sally Tollberg, ERCOT’s board chair, is among those who will leave. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, himself a target of criticism, welcomed the news. All five departing members live outside of Texas, a fact which has generated further frustration.

8. Officers involved in Daniel Prude’s death won’t face charges: New York Attorney General Letitia James said she was “extremely disappointed” by the grand jury’s decision not to indict any of the officers who responded to Prude having a mental health crisis. Officers put a “spit hood” over his head due to fear he might have COVID-19, before pressing Prude’s head into the ground for two minutes until he stopped breathing. He was taken off life support a week later and died.

9. Fed chair tells lawmakers the recovery has “a long way to go”: Jerome Powell told senators that “the economic recovery remains uneven and far from complete, and the path ahead is highly uncertain.” He also tried to dodge a number of questions related to the stimulus bill, including whether the federal minimum wage should be raised to $15 an hour. Powell will face House lawmakers later today.

10. Can you smell what the … *president* is cooking?: Apparently, the Undertaker can. The wrestler said Dwayne Johnson, who personified the Attitude Era as “The Rock,” could be the “uniter” people want if he decides to run for president. Interestingly, a new NBC show about Johnson’s life is told from the perspective of a 2032 White House run.

One last thing.

Today’s trivia question: Tuesday marked the 185th anniversary of the beginning of the 13-day siege of the Alamo. Do you know what famous rock star donated so many Alamo-related artifacts that there are plans for a museum to house them? Perhaps, he was waiting for this moment all his life. Email your response and a suggested question to me at [email protected].

  • Yesterday’s answer: Kentucky, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Pennsylvania are the US’s four Commonwealths, though effectively it means very little.

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