Mark Meadows email promised national guard would ‘protect pro Trump people’ on January 6, House committee report says

The email from Mr Meadows is documented in a report recommending that he be found in contempt of congress

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Monday 13 December 2021 16:07
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Mark Meadows Sues As Jan. 6 Panel Proceeds With Contempt Case

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said in an email that the national guard would be at the Capitol to “protect pro Trump people” when Congress met to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory on 6 January.

The existence of the message, which also promised that “many more” troops would be “on standby” if need be, was revealed in a report issued Sunday night by the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection as part of the contempt proceedings against Mr Meadows, a former North Carolina congressman who could face up to a year in jail if convicted on criminal contempt of congress charges.

According to the committee report, Mr Meadows sent the email promising national guard support to “protect pro Trump people” the day before then-president Donald Trump was to speak at a “Save America” rally on the Ellipse.

In the days leading up to what would become the worst attack on the Capitol since Major General Robert Ross ordered British troops to set it ablaze in 1814, soldiers with the DC Army National Guard – known as the “Capital Guardians” – were tasked with some traffic control duties around downtown Washington DC, but were not assigned to be anywhere near the Capitol.

When the pro-Trump mob breached police barriers on 6 January, Capitol police leadership immediately began to call for national guard support, but the request was not granted until several hours later.

The hours-long delay in redeploying DC guard troops to the Capitol has become a flashpoint in the investigation into the day’s events, with Defence Department leadership blaming General William Walker, the DC guard’s former commanding general and current House of Representatives Sergeant-at-Arms, for the delay.

But Colonel Earl Matthews, an Army lawyer who was a top legal aide to Gen Walker that day, has revealed in a memorandum that two top Defence Department officials — Generals Charles Flynn and Walter Piatt — were responsible for the dithering and delays when then-Capitol Police chief Steven Sund sounded the alarm and requested military assistance.

According to Col Matthews, Gens Flynn and Piatt did not immediately act to redeploy the guard unit from traffic control to repelling the pro-Trump mob because of concerns about the “optics” of having uniformed soldiers defending the Capitol.

The veteran military lawyer wrote that USCP chief Sund’s plea for support — made at 2.30 pm that day — was met with indifference from Gen Platt, who replied: “I don’t like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background”.

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