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Sen. Josh Hawley questions law enforcement in Capitol riot hearing

Josh Hawley
Posted at 7:38 PM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 20:38:51-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley took part in questioning law enforcement officials at Tuesday's Senate hearing on the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

When his turn came, Hawley sought to clarify when the request was made to bring in the National Guard as groups outside the Capitol building became more violent in the afternoon of Jan. 6.

Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said a phone call was made at 1:09 p.m. to former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving requesting assistance from the National Guard.

However, when Hawley attempted to confirm that timeline, Irving testified he had no recollection or record of a phone call at that time.

Hawley then addressed Irving's written testimony that a call between himself and Sund occurred at approximately 1:30 p.m. Irving then confirmed his earlier testimony.

"That is correct," Irving said. "After I left the floor, and on that call, he [Sund] had indicated to me that conditions were deteriorating and that he might be making a request at a later time."

When Hawley turned to Sund to respond to Irving's testimony, Sund recounted a different timeline of events.

"My recollection was at 1:09 p.m., while I was sitting in the command center watching things rapidly deteriorate, I made a phone call," Sund said. "A phone call was made in the presence of, I believe, both my assistant chiefs and possibly my general counsel, at which time I made the initial request that we need to activate the National Guard. The situation is bad on the west front. I followed up at 1:22 to check on the status of the request."

Following the hearing, Hawley said there were still many facts to ascertain in the timeline of events.

"You can hear just in my questions, lots of disputed facts, and on pretty basic matters," Hawley said.

The Missouri senator also took aim at the security review happening in the U.S. House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to lead the review of the Capitol security on Jan. 6 and moving forward. Hawley took exception to something the former military leader said and brought that up during his questioning Tuesday.

Hawley quoted Honoré who said Sund, Irving and former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger appeared complicit during the attack and potentially undertook complicit actions.

When asked by Hawley if they agreed with these statements, Stenger's response was unclear due to the virtual connection. However, Irving and Sund promptly disagreed with the accusation.

"I've heard those comments as well," Sund said. "And I think it's disrespectful to myself and to the members of the Capitol Police Department."

Following the hearing, Hawley brought up these accusations again, calling on Pelosi to remove Honoré.

"Lt. Gen. Honoré has absolutely no business leading anything related to this," Hawley said. "Those comments are unbelievable, totally inappropriate. And Speaker Pelosi should remove him from any sort of involvement."

Another hearing will be held next week. Pentagon officials are expected to testify.