At least five people have died following Wednesday's attack.
The fallout from the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol spans far and wide, as officials seek accountability for how the rampage, which led to at least five deaths, was allowed to happen.
Extremists, egged on by Donald Trump himself, who has repeatedly and falsely claimed the election was somehow stolen from him, stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday, breaking windows, scaling walls, and ransacking congressional offices. The insurrection followed a so-called "Save America" event near the National Mall at which Trump and his allies spoke, spurring supporters on.
Five people perished as a result of the mayhem. U.S. Capitol police officer Brian D. Sicknick died Thursday night from his injuries "sustained while on duty," officials said. Air Force veteran and protester Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot by a U.S. Capitol Police employee as she attempted to force her way past officers. Three others died from medical emergencies.
Authorities said more than 50 police officers were injured, and as of Friday, D.C Metropolitan Police had arrested 80 people.
A slew of law enforcement resignations followed the Capitol melee, including those of U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Mike Stenger, and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving.
Urgent questions have arisen as to why law enforcement was unable to hold off the mob, and several critical investigations have been launched across multiple agencies, with officials searching for answers to Wednesday's attack.
U.S. Attorney's Office
The U.S. attorney's office in D.C. has opened a federal murder investigation into Sicknick's death, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said on Friday. His office will conduct the investigation jointly with the FBI and D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, while the U.S. Capitol Police will cooperate in the probe.
"The Department of Justice will spare no resources in investigating and holding accountable those responsible," Rosen said in a statement.
Republican Sens. Rob Portman (OH) and Roy Blunt (MI) of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will work with Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Gary Peters (MI) of the Committee of Rules and Administration to conduct "joint oversight" of Wednesday's events.
The group plans to conduct hearings into the "security failures that made it possible for a criminal mob to storm the US Capitol this past Wednesday," Portman announced on Friday.
"Wednesday’s violent and criminal acts directed at our Capitol, a symbol of American Democracy, will forever be a stain on our nation's history. ... It is our duty as bipartisan leaders of the Senate committees with jurisdiction over homeland security, oversight and Capitol operations to examine the security failures that led to Wednesday’s attack," the four senators said in a joint statement. "Let us be clear: An attack on the Capitol Building is an attack on every American."
The lawmakers said they will "work together to make the necessary reforms to ensure this never happens again."
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday vowed a "painstaking investigation and thorough review" of the U.S. Capitol's security protocols, saying in a statement that Wednesday's attack on the Capitol "represented a massive failure of institutions, protocols, and planning that are supposed to protect the first branch of our federal government. ... and significant changes must follow."
House of Representatives
House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Tim Ryan (D-OH) on Thursday announced an investigation into the "coup attempt at the Capitol" to find out "what went wrong."
"The breach of the Capitol raises serious questions about what law enforcement did and what they should have done differently," the representatives said in a joint statement. "It is obvious that there was a severe systemic failure in securing the building's perimeter and in the response once the building was breached."
Other House members who have called for an investigation into the security breach at the Capitol include Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), chair of the House Administration Committee, and Maxine Waters (D-CA), chair of the House Financial Services Committee.
U.S. Capitol Police
The U.S. Capitol Police has also pledged a "thorough review" of the "violent attack."
"The USCP is conducting a thorough review of this incident, security planning and policies and procedures," Sund said in a statement on Thursday before his resignation.
Sund also addressed the death of Babbitt and the Capitol Police employee who shot her.
"As per the USCP’s policy, the USCP employee has been placed on administrative leave and their police powers have been suspended pending the outcome of a joint Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and USCP investigation," he said.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.