CREW is suing the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of the Army, and Department of the Interior for records related to the January 6, 2021 violent insurrection attempt on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters. The insurrection was openly planned for weeks, and the threat of violence was clear enough that DC residents took their own safety precautions. Despite warning signs, the government was woefully unprepared.  There must be a serious investigation into what government agencies knew, when, and why the response was so insufficient and delayed.

CREW’s lawsuit is based on records requests to these agencies, all of which have failed to turn over documents, barring a partial production of records from DHS Federal Protective Service (FPS).

The records that CREW has obtained so far indicate that FPS downplayed warning signs of massive crowds and potential violence, making the search for more records from other agencies even more urgent. FPS documented restaurant and store closures in the downtown DC areas, noted multiple hotels selling out in advance of rallies, and identified different events planned for January 6th and the number of attendees committed on Facebook. However, FPS’s response to this intel was to prioritize the safety of protestors and to downplay the threat of Trump supporters. FPS also failed to identify the Capitol as a potential target.

Records from other agencies would lay out a more complete picture of the government’s failures in responsiveness and preparedness around the attack on the Capitol. The public deserves answers around the government’s inability—or lack of motivation—to reckon with the threat of a violent insurrection by Trump supporters.

Header photo by Tyler Merbler, available under a Creative Commons license.

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