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Capitol Riot: Pingree joins lawmakers in demanding answers from Dept. of Defense

In a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense the lawmakers outline “grave concerns” over the Department’s role in preparing for and responding to the Capitol riot.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Members of Congress continue to push for answers after rioters were able to breach the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday. Maine Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree on Thursday joined 40 lawmakers in demanding answers from the Department of Defense about its role in preparing for a response to the attack.

In a letter to Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, the members of Congress outline their “grave concerns” regarding the Department’s “failure to recognize the gravity of the insurrection at the Capitol and to provide proportional and timely response.”

“It is clear that there are significant issues with the structure and the command and control of the District of Columbia National Guard that must be addressed,” they wrote in the letter. “Unlike the 50 states of our country, the District of Columbia is reliant on the federal government to approve authorization and deployment of the Guard, adding a layer of bureaucracy that limits the responsiveness to national security threats in our capital. These additional steps for approval, and the lack of a direct reporting structure to the jurisdiction of responsibility, appear to have contributed to the massive security failure on January 6.”

They go on to request a full accounting of the planning, coordination, and response that resulted in the breach.

Pingree, who on Wednesday voted with 231 of her Democratic colleagues and 10 Republicans to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection, has been outspoken in the days following the attack. She has also called for accountability from members of Congress who voted to undermine the results of the election even after the attack.

“We must investigate whether their actions violated the oath of office they took a mere 72 hours prior,” Pingree said. “Without accountability, there cannot be unity.”

RELATED: 'Without accountability, there cannot be unity': Pingree, House Dems call for investigation of Republicans who voted to overtun election results

Pingree says in response to numerous well-documented failures by the Dept. of Defense to prepare for the threat at the Capitol, the lawmakers demand specific information on 13 counts, including the roles that Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Acting Secretary of Defense Miller, and Secretary of the Army McCarthy played in the approval or denial of each request for support.

“Your response to the breach on the Capitol assisted in restoring control of the building and the execution of our Constitutional duty to certify the results of the election. We look forward to continuing to work with you to strengthen the defense of our nation’s capital and to ensuring that such an event does not occur in the future,” the lawmakers concluded.

In addition to this request to the Dept. of Defense, Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., and 33 other Congress members have requested an investigation into what they describe as “suspicious behavior” and visitors’ access to the Capitol complex a day before the deadly riot.

"The visitors encountered by some of the Members of Congress on this letter appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day," the letter said. "Members of the group that attacked the Capitol seemed to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex. The presence of these groups within the Capitol Complex was indeed suspicious."