As we wade through the first anniversary of the infamous January 6th Capitol insurrection, more and more evidence and information regarding the events and actions that truly led to that fateful attack continue to come to light with each passing moment — especially as the January 6th House Select Committee continues to steamroll their investigation into the Capitol siege.
However, the House Committee and its members aren’t the only ones looking into what took place on that notorious day.
A recent report from Ryan Goodman and Justin Hendrix, with Just Security, has left us rather unsettled this evening as the pair analyzed the severely delayed response to the Capitol attack by the United States National Guard — with the writers ultimately arguing that troops were “restrained” by the Pentagon because officials feared that then-President Donald Trump would soon “invoke the Insurrection Act.”
I co-authored this sweeping analysis w/@justinhendrix
Pentagon restrained National Guard on #January6th concerned Trump would invoke Insurrection Act.
We include little-noticed witness interviews in recent inspector general report.
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) December 21, 2021
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“One of the most vexing questions about January 6 is why the National Guard took more than three hours to arrive at the Capitol after D.C. authorities and Capitol Police called for immediate assistance,” Goodman and Hendrix write in their chilling assessment. “The Pentagon’s restraint in allowing the Guard to get to the Capitol was not simply a reflection of officials’ misgivings about the deployment of military force during the summer 2020 protests; nor was it simply a concern about ‘optics’ of having military personnel at the Capitol. Instead, evidence is mounting that the most senior defense officials did not want to send troops to the Capitol because they harbored concerns that President Donald Trump might utilize the forces’ presence in an attempt to hold onto power.”
Then Acting Secretary of Defense, Christopher Miller, shared a similar sentiment when he revealed to the U.S. Defense Department Inspector General’s office his fear that “if we put U.S. military personnel on the Capitol, I would have created the greatest constitutional crisis probably since the Civil War.”
Goodman and Hendrix do note in their report that Miller “does not specify who held the fears that Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act.”
The pair goes on to report that both Gen. Mark Milley, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as now-former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “confided in one another that they had a persistent worry Trump would try to use the military in an attempt to hold onto power if he lost the election, the Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker reported.”
“The top officials’ fears were warranted: Donald Trump, his close aides and a segment of Republican political figures had openly discussed the possibility of invoking the Insurrection Act or using the military to prevent the transfer of power on the basis of false claims that the election was ‘stolen,'” the startling report goes on to read. “But the Pentagon’s actions with respect to the National Guard suggest a scenario in which, on the basis of such concerns, a potentially profound crisis of command may have played out on January 6.”
Ultimately, the report from Goodman and Hendrix highlights one particular, disturbing, yet highly-plausible possibility — The United States National Guard may very well have failed to protect members of Congress from a violent mob of insurrectionist Trump supporters, for no other reason than they deeply feared that the then-President of these United States could and/or would turn around and use those very same US troops to undermine and blow apart the US Constitution.
We can only assume that the January 6th House Select Committee is investigating this theory in their extensive investigation into that fateful day.
Featured image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore, under Creative Commons license 2.0