If former President Donald Trump's word is not enough, an official Capitol Police timeline and Pentagon memo also back up his assertion that he authorized the use of the National Guard in the days before the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
Trump and several of his aides have steadfastly maintained he offered to send at least 10,000 National Guard troops to Washington to aid in crowd control, but his overture was rejected by Congress and D.C. officials.
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That version of events has been disputed by the House Jan. 6 select committee — composed entirely of Democrats and Republicans who have criticized Trump. That group has alleged Trump that ultimately instigated what it terms an "insurrection," and committee members argue there is no evidence Trump made such an authorization for National Guard troops, or that anyone stood in the way of an order if one was made.
Trump disputes leading any violent protests and points to a speech just before the Capitol breach at which he urged supporters to protest "peacefully and patriotically."
An official timeline of the events leading up to Jan. 6 that was constructed by the Capitol Police and the Pentagon provides key evidence Trump and his administration took steps to provide National Guard troops and sought to have a peaceful event, contrary to the House committee's claims.
Here is a breakdown of the timeline:
• The Pentagon first offered National Guard troops to the Capitol Police on Jan. 2. A Department of Defense official contacted Capitol Police Deputy Chief Sean Gallagher to see if a request for troops was forthcoming, but the offer was quickly rejected after a discussion with then-Chief Steve Sund.
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• The sole entry on Jan. 2 in the Capitol Police timeline states: "Carol Corbin (DOD) texts USCP Deputy Chief Sean Gallagher, Protective Service Bureau, to determine whether USCP is considering a request for National Guard soldiers for Jan. 6, 2021 event."
• On Jan. 3, Capitol Police released an updated security assessment regarding the upcoming rally, which indicated a chance of armed protesters. "Due to the tense political environment following the 2020 election, the threat of disruptive actions or violence cannot be ruled out," it stated. "Supporters of the current president see Jan. 6, 2021 as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election. This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent."
• On Jan. 4, Sund started seeking permission for security assistance from Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving. His request was denied. He notified Gen. William Walker, commander of the D.C. National Guard,
about the need for support. But the timeline stated that Sund "does not have the authority to request at this time." Walker told Sund, if the chief could get approval from Capitol officials, he could deploy 125 troops.
• As Sund's requests were being rebuffed, the Pentagon was moving ahead with its own plans to get Trump to authorize National Guard troops if Congress requested them. According to a memo penned by the Pentagon inspector general, the Defense Department offered Congress assistance before Jan. 6.
• On Sunday, Jan. 3, then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and chief of staff for the Department of Defense Kash Patel met with Trump on national security matters. Toward the end of the meeting, Trump brought up the number of protesters expected on Jan. 6 and discussed making sure it was a safe event by providing a National Guard presence.
• A Vanity Fair reporter who followed Miller in the last weeks of Trump's administration detailed the remark in a report published later. The reporter indicated the exchange took place Jan. 5, while the inspector general placed it on Jan. 3. After discussing Iran, the Vanity Fair report stated that the conversation suddenly "switched gears" when Trump asked Miller how many troops the Pentagon was planning to deploy on Jan. 6.
When Miller told the president they would supply any National Guard support that was requested, Trump replied: "You're going to need 10,000 people." Under the law, a president can authorize the use of the National Guard; however, local officials must request the National Guard for domestic deployment.
• The inspector general's memo also provided insight into officials' fears about involving the National Guard due to concerns it could create the perception of a military coup or martial law being instituted as the election results were certified by Congress. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the inspector he "did not want to create the perception that the military was involved in the electoral process," according to the memo.
• On Jan. 5, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote a letter to Miller and other officials at the Justice and Defense departments asking that National Guard troops not be deployed unless the local Metropolitan Police Department signed off.
"To be clear, the District of Columbia is not requesting other federal law enforcement personnel and discourages any additional deployment without immediate notification to and consultation with MPD, if such plans are underway," Bowser wrote in her letter.
She noted that the Metropolitan Police Department was "well-trained and prepared to lead the way" to ensure the safety of anyone present at the scheduled Jan. 6 political rallies.
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Marisa Herman ✉
Marisa Herman, a Newsmax senior reporter, focuses on major and investigative stories. A University of Florida graduate, she has more than a decade of experience as a reporter for newspapers, magazines, and websites.
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