Police chief warns militia groups ‘want to blow up’ Capitol during State of the Union

Washington DC Bureau

WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — The acting U.S. Capitol Police chief took questions publicly for the first time Thursday since the deadly attack on the complex Jan. 6.

Yogananda Pittman told Congress 35 officers are under investigation for misconduct, and six have been suspended.

However, lawmakers still had a lot of unanswered questions.

“No credible threat indicated that tens of thousands would attack the U.S. Capitol,” Pittman said during a House subcommittee hearing.

Pittman told members her department was not prepared for the “mob mentality” that played out during the insurrection, but it does have intelligence on a new threat from some of the same militia groups.

“They want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union,” Pittman said.

The date for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address to Congress has not been set yet. The White House and Democrats in Congress said they would first pass the next round of COVID-19 relief. But Pittman confirmed that is why the security fencing around the Capitol complex is still up.

Lawmakers who lived through the attack nearly two months ago still demanded answers to other security failures.

“There was no coordination, and you could see the fear in their eyes,” said Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-WA.

During the insurrection, Herrera Beutler said she witnessed how the officers protecting them had no radio communication with leadership.

“They were on their own,” she said. “They saved our lives, and I’m frustrated that I’m not hearing, ‘This is how we’re fixing that.'”

At a different House subcommittee hearing Thursday, members also investigated how domestic terrorism happens in the first place.

“A problem that could get worse over time as January 6th demonstrated to so many groups,” said Rep. Jim Himes, D-CT.

Himes and Rep. French Hill, R-AR, are working to cut off the ways extremist groups fund their violent activity and recruitment efforts.

“We need to craft bipartisan solutions to ensure that violence and hatred that fuel the attacks do not happen again,” Hill said.  

Witnesses told them the government resources are available but need to be deployed against the right people.

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